I’ve sat here looking at my computer screen for at least 20 minutes. My eyes keep tearing up. I’ve admitted this to myself. I’ve even halfway admitted it to D on occasion, but to bring it out loud. To be heard by anyone and everyone? Never before.
I am an addict.
I am addicted to sugar.
So, to some of you that may not sound so dramatic. I’m not a narcotic user, I’m not an alcoholic, I am not out using and hurting other people. Yet, you have no idea what my sugar addiction has done to hurt others, and today, and maybe over the next little bit, I’m going to share a little bit of what it has done to hurt people. Especially myself, but also Nathan, and in turn W and I can’t even begin to guess who else it may have affected. I’m just now beginning to see it. It will take a while I think before I realize it.
First, you must know that it is my personal belief, and I have seen this backed up scientifically, that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. So, when I say I am addicted, I don’t just mean I really like sugar. I mean that I have a physical, physiological, and emotional addiction to sugar. When I do not have sugar, I go through withdrawal symptoms the same as a drug or alcohol abuser does.
So, why do I come out and say this today? Well, it is something I have “kinda” believed for a long time. Each time in my life when I’ve gone on a “diet” I’ve decided to limit sugar, not take it out of my diet. I didn’t want to go through the angst of the withdrawals. This summer, when I made the decision to get healthy and take control of my diabetes, I knew then that I had to get rid of all refined carbohydrates. That meant NO SUGAR. Oh, I said I wouldn’t have any forbidden foods, and I haven’t, I’ve included a kiddie cone ice cream now and then, just one, maybe once every 2 or 3 months. A cookie once every few months, but certainly not in the same months as the ice cream. I’ve been VERY good about when I have had the sugars. Also, I’ve not had potatoes, white breads, rice, pasta, any refined carbohydrates, and have pretty much cut most grains out of my eating plan. I know me, I know me pretty well. When I have a slice of bread, (YUM) I want 2 or 3 slices. I love the butter on it, but I’m happy to have just the bread. When I have a cookie, I can not have just one. I don’t want anyone around me when I have a cookie, I want to eat that cookie in my bedroom, under the blankets, alone. And trust me, it’s not going to be one cookie, it’s the entire package. God help the person who interrupts me or especially the one who asks me for a cookie. When I went to the grocery store, or to the department store I could not pass the register without picking up a king size candy bar. Pardon me, I fib, I meant to say I couldn’t pass without picking up two king size candy bars. One for the ride out of the parking lot, one for the second the groceries were put away. And NO NATE, you can’t have a bite. Buy your own! Oh, I went off on a tangent, sorry. So, I’ve been really good about my eating plan…
Last week I had another really low blood sugar. It dropped down into the 40’s. I reached into the fridge and grabbed my apple juice juice box and downed that in two guzzles, and impatiently waited the required fifteen minutes before retesting my blood. I’ve never had a problem with a juice box bringing my sugar right up immediately into the low 90’s or so in 15 minutes, so when I continued shaking and feeling panicky I tested and was blown away by the fact that I was still only in the 50’s. (for the record 80-120 is normal blood sugar). One juice box is good, a second one has got to be good too…right? I grabbed my second apple juice and tried to drink it a bit slower and tried to distract myself while waiting fifteen minutes. When you are in a hypo (low blood sugar) fifteen minutes seems an eternity. I was shaking, my heart was pounding, my vision was blurred, I couldn’t focus or concentrate on anything, and I wanted to eat the entire contents of the refrigerator. Waiting… waiting… waiting.. the waiting was interminable. Finally it was test time, and I checked and I was still in the low 60’s. This has never happened to me before and I was getting a bit panicky. Fortunately Tom, my nurse had just stopped in and I told him what was going on and he suggested I take a spoonful of sugar. HAHA I’ve cleaned my kitchen. I have no sugar in my house. Then EUREKA, Christmas was just a few weeks ago, and I had a bag of chocolate chips left over from baking. I measured out a 1/2 cup and nibbled on those (when what I wanted to do was swallow them all down in one gulp). Gradually my blood sugar came up, and all was fine. But it was a very scary experience, and I’ve spoken to my Endo about this, and we are lowering my meds again (whoohooo).
Open bag of chocolate chips, sitting in the pantry. Night falls, and I go to bed. Can you hear it? I hear it. It’s calling my name. “Heidi, come, come get me, I’m your best friend, come get me”. I laid there in my toasty warm bed, and listened as the call got louder. Sugar kept calling my name. It didn’t matter that that afternoon that sugar was medicine to me, it was still sugar. It was in my blood and it was in my brain. In the quiet hours, alone in bed, my addiction raises its ugly head. You can have just a little, no one need know. It’s night time, the high will go down by morning. It’s only a little, you won’t gain any weight. Do you hear the way my brain is working? Do you hear how addiction works in me? That night I answered my addiction. I got out of bed, I poured chocolate chips into a bowl and climbed back under the covers, the light still out, and fed into my addiction, agreeing, it’s just a little bit, it’s just once, nobody will know. Yes, just this once… until next time.
This morning, at 2am, the call came again. I climbed out of bed. I walked to the kitchen. I opened the bag. I stared into the bag. I reached in and felt the silken chocolate chips in my hand. I felt them melt between my fingers. Then I poured the bag into the garbage, and put coffee grounds on top of them. Just this once.
And so you see, my friend, I am an addict. And sugar is my vice.
Just for today, I choose not to use.
1) angels disguised as men
2) the unconditional love of my dog and my cat
3) finding the goodness in other people