I am a sugar addict. It’s not just sugar, I can binge on anything, but sugar is the big one. Over the past few weeks I’ve been slowly accepting that I need to find a way to live without sugar. It is impacting my depression and the effectiveness of my meds to control depression. I’ve been binging. My pants are getting a little tighter. I’m avoiding people because I binge in secret. I’m cycling back into a bad depression that I can’t afford to be in. I’ve already taken the maximum short-term leave from work. I was out for 12 weeks this spring to work on this issue. The meds were really starting to work.
My life coach thinks I’m drinking way too much diet soda. She had no idea how much I was drinking. There is now significant evidence that aspartame can cause depression all on its own. I typically drink a 20 ounce bottle in the morning when I get to work, then at least two large glasses at lunch. Sometimes I drink another bottle in the afternoon. Sometimes I start out my day with a 42 ounce Diet Coke from McDonalds because they have the best Diet Coke around. I know aspartame is poison. I once gave up Diet Coke because my mom asked me too. But then I slowly added it back into my diet. When I gave up sugar this spring I held on to the Diet Coke as a crutch. I said I would give it up once I was more capable of maintaining the no-sugar part. Now I believe I need to give them both up.
As an addict this is really scary. I need it. I crave it. I think about when I’m going to get some. I love sugar and I obsess about it to the exclusion of everything else. I’ve sacrificed my health for it. So, to get well I need to give up sugar (and diet soda). But from past experience I know that it takes me two weeks to get through sugar withdrawal. I know I will feel like I have the flu. I’ll be tired, cranky, headachy, and sleepy. I will have excess mucus, I will break out and I will be even more depressed than usual. I will also be vulnerable emotionally. I’ve been eating my feeling since I was a kid and have not developed normal emotional tools as a result. Is it any wonder I keep putting it off?
Then there are decisions about cold-turkey versus gradual. Both have good and bad elements. Historically I’ve done better cold-turkey, but the symptoms are more drastic. I can’t afford any sick days right now, I’m already in the red. I looked for info on easing symptoms of sugar withdrawal via Google, but mostly find general comments on sugar withdrawal, and lists of its symptoms, but no good input about easing it. Maybe there is no real way. Just need to get through it. Some sites even say to use “natural sugar” or syrup. Those people are clueless and dangerous.
So, for today, I will not eat sweets. I’m not going to worry about white bread or simple starches today. I will not eat sweets or anything that has sugar in the first five ingredients. I’ve already had Diet Coke today. I’ll probably drink it tomorrow too. I also know from past experience that the first couple days are easier than the third and fourth days. At that point the crazy thinking kicks in. I try to justify, rationalize or trick myself into eating sugar.
Instead I will write, I will call people from OA, I will drink more water than I usually do, but I will not eat sugar today. It starts now. I will never be ready to quit, there will never be enough sugar to satisfy me, and so I just have do it. Arrrr!