I know it seems almost cliche to bring up sugar during the holiday season, which we’ve managed to land ourself squarely in now. Hang in there with me though, I think it will be worth it.
I’ve not eaten sugar for 7 months now. Yep, 7. Not because I’m on some diet craze, or anything fancy like that. Solely because I’m a sugarholic. There, I said it.
Now I know what you’re thinking, or can guess it, because this is how my conversations usually go.
Me: “I’m a sugarholic.”
Them: “Oh, me too! I love candy and all things chocolate!”
Me: “No, really, a REAL sugarholic. I didn’t know there was such a thing till I found myself here. So I don’t eat sugar. Well, refined sugar. I do however enjoy my natural sugars and you better believe I’ve figured out to still enjoy my coffee.”
From there the conversation typically goes like:
“I’m sure for now you can’t but later you will be able to handle sugar again.”
I’d like to say yes to that but I know that I have to say no. Just say no.
Now let me start from the beginning. We all have addictions, coping mechanisms we use to get through life. Some are rather healthy, and some are not. I had a variety of coping mechanisms through my postpartum period. One was Netflix. I watched it on my phone nursing because I needed to be anywhere but there. I’d stick the boys in front of one T.V. and I would sit in front of another. In the beginning I mostly used that and chocolate to cope. They were key to my survival.
As time went on and it became harder to fight the demons I began doing other things to try and cope. Thats when I found myself in Postpartum OCD. I cleaned ALL the time. I hated it and loved it. I always have liked cleaning for an outlet and mess has always caused clutter in my mind but this was more like I would get angry if something was dirty or not tidied up. It almost felt like something I wasn’t in control of.
This phase continued but wasn’t enough. That’s when I turned to emotional eating. I’m a berry skittle lover, red fav starbursts supporter, chocolate enthusiasts, and there’s many more I’m a fan of that I could list.
Now here is where I draw the line of a candy lover or candy-holic. When you are hiding candy from your husband when you’re already eating a butt load of candy in front of him then it’s gone too far.
I’d drive to the store every single evening. Any given night at oh say 9:00pm you’d find me at Smiths on their candy aisle. I think the checkers started to notice my pattern. I’d try not to go to the same person all too often because for some reason that mattered??
Then upon arriving home I’d get settled in my bed watching probably Friends or Parks and Rec eating easily 2-3 thousand calories. Yeah.. it was that bad. What made it worse was I was eating another 400-800 calories on the way home from the store. I’d then hide the trash in the outdoor trashcan so my husband wouldn’t see it. That right there is why I call myself what I do. He didn’t even know I did this till a few months ago when we sat down and talked about my sugar recovery. On a side note it was a flat out miracle I wasn’t gaining weight.
I think at some point I knew what I was doing. Honestly, I wanted to drown my sorrows with wine but I knew how bad that would be so instead I used candy because that’s more socially acceptable I suppose.
It was a few months post hospitalization (you can read more about that through my What Brought Me Here series) when I was getting on new medication that I knew I needed to get off the sugar. I went cold turkey. After a month I thought well I’ve been good I can have a little bit of cake celebrating my sons birthday.
It was that cake that confirmed my self diagnosis. I sort of went mentally crazy from one small piece of cake. It S.C.A.R.E.D. me. I went back to feeling “crazy”. It was like my version of a high from sugar I guess. It scared me enough though that I haven’t had sugar since.
I’ll now admit I actually went through therapy to get over the shame I felt surrounding this. I knew I needed to share this part of my journey but its been just as hard as sharing some of the really dark skeletons in my closet. I think it must be that I feel this is extra taboo.
Want to know what really sucks about being a sugar addict? It is everywhere. You don’t think about it really till you have to look at all the hidden sugar in products as well. Then in good humor I joke with my husband I should have become an alcoholic. There’s nothing I can do to change it so making a joke seems most fitting.
Now vision us all sitting in a circle in a gym or meeting place. Whatever seems most fitting to you.
“Hi, I’m Brooke and I’m a sugarholic. I’ve been clean for 7 months and I’m proud of that. Thanks for accepting me. It was hard to learn to accept myself and break through the shame I’ve struggled with.”
and that is when you say
“Hi Brooke! Welcome.”