When I gave up drinking, I took up sugar and exercise. I traded one addiction for two, though to say I didn’t have a sweet tooth before would be a lie. I just didn’t abuse sugar as hard before. At one of my first recovery meetings, I stood outside smoking and talking to a woman who said she used to carry a bag of Starburst in early recovery. “But you gotta be careful with that,” she said and I nodded, already knowing I was in trouble.

I was one of those oddballs who didn’t lose a single pound when I stopped drinking. And I drank mostly beer, and not light beer either but high alcohol, high calorie IPAs and porters. But when I look at my eating habits since I stopped drinking, I’m not surprised I didn’t lose weight.  I traded booze for Mike and Ikes, jelly beans, cookies, ice cream. I once dipped cookies in caramel and I share that with you because if someone finds me comatose this would be helpful to know. Maybe I need a medical alert bracelet that says ‘sugar freak’ or ‘fatty fatso’ though honestly I’m not fat. That’s where the exercise comes in.

When I run, I feel good. Well, to be more precise, I feel better after I run. When I run, sometimes I feel like I’m going to die and I imagine wolves chasing me so I don’t stop. Then a funny thing happens and I feel really fucking good. That endorphin rush or whatever it is stays with me hours afterwards. It improves my mood and I feel it throughout my body like a low-grade hum. Eating three large handfuls of jelly beans has nothing on a 30 minute walk/run. I don’t even know what I get from sugar except shame.

I quit smoking several months back and sugar is next on the chopping block. It’s going to be a heluva lot harder. The other day I googled sugar addiction which led me to low blood sugar which led me to hypoglyemic diet which led me to south beach diet. It’s kind of nice to know I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This weekend I’ll go to the library for some cookbooks and see how they look.

The only way to get rid of alcohol cravings is to give up alcohol. The same goes for sugar, which is no shock since alcohol is sugar. Did I drink so much because I’m a sugar junkie or do I eat so much sugar because I’m an alcoholic? Who knows, but once again I find myself unable to imagine a life without sugar. It sounds impossible and decidedly unfun.

But then I think about dunking a fucking cookie in fucking caramel and doing so privately and shamefully and it reminds me so much of my final days of drinking that I find myself thinking maybe I can do it afterall.

10 thoughts on “Sugar

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  1. I definitely fight sugar addiction too. Especially when nobody is looking. The only way I’ve learned to keep clean is just to not go down that aisle in the store as well as replace it with something healthier like homemade trail mix or veggies that I enjoy.

    I’m a pretty strong believer that everybody out there fights at least one form of addiction. I’ve even seen friends destroy their body through exercise (I mean hard core exercise).


  2. I, like you, did not lose a pound after I quit drinking. I didn’t gain any either which is saying something since I used to sit and eat handfuls of m&m’s by the POUND. Then I started BAKING which I found helps me deal with stress. Not a good idea…nope…not at all.

    So now I’m trying to exercise and eat a “clean” diet. But I have to be honest…sometimes it just pisses me off.

    Then I get over it.

    Have a great weekend.


    1. Haha on the baking! Whenever I ask my kids if they want to bake brownies or cookies, I pretend I’m doing it for them.

      I like the idea of getting over it. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing here…leaving some vice might be key to finding balance I can live with.

      You have a great weekend too.


  3. This was awesome! Ha ha ha, still laughing. Anybody told you that you are a great writer? I didn’t/haven’t lost any weight since I poured out the last beer and became a ‘recovering alcoholic’. The only thing I found that happened is that I became more aware of how out of shape and frumpy I felt because I was sober, clear headed and totally aware ALL the time. How annoying. To top things off, my man is a personal trainer. Literally spends up to 9 hours in a gym 6 days a week – like, really? Is this my Karma or just the huge fat writing on my wall of life. We went to the gym together for the first time on Wednesday and I loved it much to my surprise. I won’t go on gushing, but it turns out I AM lucky! Let me know how it goes, thanks for writing too! Hope I added you correctly, no clue what I am doing on these things.


    1. It took me awhile to appreciate exercise for the way it made me feel afterwards, but now I can count on it and it’s easier to motivate myself to actually go. You are very lucky, indeed, though don’t know how I would feel working out with my husband 😉

      So glad you commented, visiting your blog now and LOVING what I see.


  4. Yep – Mars bars – went from 12 pints a day to 3 Mars bars… then Kit Kats… now it is muffins – I buy a coffee and have to say “oh and a blueberry muffin” hopeless!


  5. Love this! I too traded in as I was getting sober. Running was my drug of choice and I can totally relate to being chased by wolves! I always thought it was my PTSD kicking in to help me out. ho ho ho…

    I ended up with a hip replacement 8 months ago from all my running. yep. I am an addictive personality and running, well, I did not just run, I RAN FAR AND FAST!

    I know some folks in AA who are now saying that giving up sugar while you are getting sober helps the process. I am not a sugar person so I can’t relate. I would be curious to know what a Doc thinks about the sugar/alcoholism link….

    Adrenalin is my drug of choice now. Lord help my family….

    Peace, Jen

    I LOVE the photo…


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