Blog / Eating disorder recovery

Following the festive season and some serious “cheat” meals it is time for us to get back on track. I found myself sorely tempted by trifles, mince pies, warm crusty bread and Christmas puddings…. and then I sneakily licked the trifle spoon……

Oh dear, it was all over.

Just as an alcoholic cannot even have one drink I, as a sugar and carb addict, cannot even have one teeny weeny lick of sugar. As soon as the sweetness hit my senses all I could think of was how to get more! My pulse started racing, my eyes glazed over and the obsessive thinking set in. Yes, I know I sound dramatic but this is truly what it feels like for me.
I had not one but two bowls of trifle, chocolate mousse and whipped cream and could have had more if I was not surrounded by friends and family members. It was truly difficult to tear myself away from the sweet temptations but social etiquette dictated that enough was enough I spent the rest of the day obsessing about my next fix. The dialogue in my head went something like this:

Sugar Addict: Oooh, I am sure we need to stop for petrol on the way home. Yes and I also need to get some milk. Hmmm and then I will just get one chocolate for later. That will be my last one and I will start again tomorrow.

Recovering addict: That’s a terrible idea, the only reason you want to stop at the petrol station is to get more sugar. Yes, you may only get one chocolate today but it won’t stop by tomorrow.

Sugar Addict: Yes I know but I have already lapsed in my eating plan, I may as well make it worth it. I am feeling so fat anyway; the chocolate will make me feel a bit better.

Recovering addict: No it won’t, it will make you feel even worse.

Sugar Addict: Yes, but what’s the point? I really want that chocolate, or even a Coca Cola. Oh wait, they have Coca Cola here, let me see if I can help in the kitchen (i.e. see if I can lick the trifle bowl clean)
And so it went on and on and on, not just for the rest of the day but the rest of the week and then some. My sugar cravings are intense and difficult to deal with. I feel possessed by a monster, a monster I have also identified in my children and aptly name….The Sugar Monster!

I know I am an addict, I know I am a sugar and a carb addict. My behavior, physical reaction and thought patterns when it comes to the consumption of sugar and carbs are NOT normal. My husband can have one spoonful of pudding and not eat the rest!?!?!?! Me…NEVER! I will finish the bowl, then lick it and then wonder how I can get more.
The only way for me to live in peace with this chemical and behavioral addiction is complete abstinence from my substance of choice. There is no other way. I have tried, I truly have but the only option for me to live a life in recovery is COMPLETE abstinence.

So how exactly is a life in recovery from sugar and carbohydrate addiction possible?

Exactly the same way as a life from alcohol and drug addiction is possible….by working a program of recovery.
Just as a diabetic needs their daily shot of insulin, so I need my daily recovery practice in order to stay clean and serene. I know what went wrong during the festive season. I am well aware that I set myself up for that relapse way before it actually happened by not working my daily program….by not putting my recovery first.

You see, Christmas has always been an emotionally challenging period for me and I should have been extra vigilant. Instead I chose to ignore the signs pointing me towards my slip: irritability, resentment, sadness and anger pushed away and swept under the carpet. Not dealing with my emotions and finding an outlet for them is the surest way for me to continue on a downward spiral. When it gets out of control I revert back to my childhood pattern of dealing with these uncomfortable emotions, I eat sweet things for comfort. And then I eat more, and more, and more…..

Luckily I was able to “get back on the wagon” pretty quickly. I feel that I have a strong recovery foundation and as long as I work my daily program I will stay clean. The most important thing for me was to get sugar and carb ‘clean time’ under my (expanding) belt. I did this by planning my meals and snacks a day in advance. I knew exactly what and when I had to eat and followed that plan religiously.

I also started exercising (my favorite being yoga and walking in the mountains) and so started to get in touch with my body and emotions.

Meetings, checking in with other sugar addicts and my daily inventory helped me keep track of my thought patterns and behavior.

Daily prayer and meditation enable me to check in and honor myself and my recovery.

This lapse has taught me that I cannot be complacent; I need to put my recovery first and work it daily. As with anything in life: What you put in is what you get out.

All my love,
Karen


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