I have a love/hate relationship with sugar. It is to me what crack is to Ashy Larry. I don’t think I’ve gone very long during my adult life without it. Cakes, cookies, cobblers, pancakes, anything I can get a fix, I’m on it. I recognized it as addiction about two years ago when I unsuccessfully tried to kick the habit then. I’ve read plenty of articles and books telling me that sugar is a substitute for something else. Being a good human, I decided to try to discover what that something else was.
So… here I am in 2010 with an out-of-control addiction. I woke up this morning and instead of thinking about making breakfast, the first thing I wondered was what time Cup O Joe opened so I could go back and get another piece of cheesecake. I didn’t really want cheesecake, but the sugar infatuation woke up right with me this morning. I can’t be reliving the same self-destructive behaviors from 2007. I just can’t. I rolled some things over in my mind and generally, I can say that I’m happy with life. I no longer work at a job that was mentally taxing. I have a companion who accepts me for who I am despite some unsavory character traits. My children think I’m the best mother they ever had (but I wonder if that counts since they only have one mother anyway). People who know me seem to like my company. I tell good stories even if they are a little more spicy than how things really went down. I dealt with past sugar addictions, right? Or had I?
Ironically, the latest edition of The Oprah Magazine came in the mail and on the cover was “The Battle is Over -Oprah: How she ended her war with food”. Let me set the record straight. I don’t diet. I eat everything I like in moderation, except sugar products. So while I’m not trying to strategically best The Cheesecake Factory’s yummy dreaminess, I am wondering why one aspect of my cabinet has a hold on me. I read the article, which was about Geneen Roth’s new book Women, Food and God, and saw some similarities in other things I read about this same subject. Then there was a quote that struck me:
“I tell my retreat students that they need to remember two things: to eat what they want when they’re hungry and to feel what they feel when they’re not. Inquiry – the feel-what-you-feel part – allows you to relate to your feelings instead of retreat from them”
Of course I felt something and of course I wanted that piece of cheesecake even more than when I woke up. Truth has a way of striking a chord. I feel things, but sometimes I don’t want to feel the whole feeling so at a point I like to numb it with something. My choice: desserts. Sadly, right now, typing that, letting you know how I feel, makes me crave it again. I don’t know why I don’t like touching all my feelings. I think it’s because feeling things makes me need to release them and honestly, I haven’t met anyone who a) I feel comfortable providing the emotional support I need when these times come and/or b) not go around putting my business in the street. But, Roth goes on to tell me that in order to finally stop inhaling the cupcakes and cookies, I have to be precise about how I feel and not to “direct the process by having preferences or agendas”. Sigh… easier said than done (as I feel like Ashy Larry jonesing for the cheesecake….)
Okay, so I have to be precise about how I feel? Right now. At this very moment, I have a lump in my throat. Usually when I do, it means I need to say something to someone. But I haven’t said so many things to so many people that I have no idea where to even begin. I could start with the Hero. I could start with my father, my friends. Or I could start with myself . I also feel a gray cloud over my head. What else am I feeling? Dry. I need to drink some water or something. I also feel light, like I’m going to float up in the air. Is it good or bad? Roth tells me not to judge, just feel what my body is doing and let go. Fine. My shoulders are aching a little and my scalp keeps itching in the same place. Is that it? That’s it. Don’t interpret, D. Don’t interpret….
I’m checking my hunger now and surprisingly, I actually don’t want to eat. The cheesecake run is over. For now. I suppose those feelings I just felt, and that have since morphed into less drastic emotions, just needed to be recognized. And maybe in recognizing, I released them. Whatever it is, I take this as a first step on my Sugarholics Anonymous journey.