I have got to get the crack out of my house. It is just sitting around tempting me, making me all jittery in wanting it. I can almost feel the sensation of ingesting it into my system and letting the wave of pleasure wash over me. I WANT to ignore it. I NEED to ignore it, but it is everywhere—in my pantry, in my fridge, on the countertops. I even found a small bag of it under my child’s bed. That’s it!.
Oh sorry, I guess I should clarify what I mean by crack. By crack I mean sugar. Why? Because sugar IS my crack. I am completely addicted to it, and as much as I want to be strong and resist its pull, I can’t because I just have no power over it. I want to detox. I mean it. But, even an hour without just a smidge of the white stuff makes me hanker for it in my BONES. You heard me, I said in my BONES.
Part of the problem is that some of my very favorite forms of crack are in plentiful supply at this time of the year. The crack dealers are all out in the open in full-force-promotion mode. Some are disguised as grocery store managers and CVS clerks. Others are Dollar Store stock boys and gas station attendants. That’s right. Pushers hiding in plain sight. Don’t believe me? Look at those luscious displays of goodies surrounded by smiling jack-o-lanterns and friendly ghosts. The dealers just make it all look so appealing, and I fall for their underhanded tricks every time.
Just last week, I consumed—by myself now—four bags of Tootsie Pops that I bought for “Halloween.” I thought I was doing okay because I avoided the chocolate crack. You know, the Heresy Bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Rollo’s, and Crunch bars. Even though I am totally capable of justifying eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup because it has peanuts in it, and peanuts come from the ground, and peanuts are a whole food. Therefore, having anything with peanut butter must be like eating a vegan lifestyle. Yeah, I know, that is the sick way my mind works. I could easily make the same justification for eating an Almond Joy bar if I liked that sort of thing.
With Tootsie Pops, I can’t find any reasonable argument for consuming 4 bags of them in one week. I am pretty sure other than sugar—bleached refined white crack-like sugar—there is nothing in them that comes from the ground. But, will the logical side of my brain tell the impulsive side of me to run away? No. I am too far gone. I am like that owl in the 1980s Tootsie Pop commercials.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Uh one. Uh two. Uh three.
Well, I have totally skunked that old owl because by the end of my binge, I was down to no licks and just one chomp to get it going. That’s right, they were more like Tootsie Roll Midgets to me by the end of the week. (I have to confess my teeth started to hurt.)
Am I proud of this? No. In fact, I am not proud of any of my Tootsie crack behavior. I found myself hiding them from my kids, putting them in my purse or stashing them in my underwear drawer. The other day, I looked up and panicked because the kids would be home in 5 minutes, so I had to scramble to hide “the goods”. Whew! I was barely able to cover my crack with some dirty socks before the kids came barging into my room. Why all this? Because I did not want to share my stockpile. I KNOW this is pathetic, but…What if I ran out of Tootsie Pops before I could get to the store? Would I go through withdrawals? I talked myself into thinking it was just plain bad for my health to share candy with my children. (Now that I see this confession in writing, I think I may have to see a therapist.) My husband came home one day and found a trail of colorful wrappers that led right to my desk where I work on my writing. I must have been a sight—white lollipop stick poking out of my mouth, slurping syrupy drool from the side of my mouth, a mound of wrappers and white sticks by my side looking like the kindling for a small fire, and small pieces of hard candy sticking to my t-shirt (the ones on which I crunched too enthusiastically and debris landed on my shirt).
My husband knows better than to say anything when I am in the throes of a full-blown sugar addiction. Really, it is not safe for him because my moods can be as erratic as my insulin levels. The wrong look during a sugar low may leave me sobbing for hours. A judgmental word said during a sugar high could send me to the kitchen looking for a steak knife and muttering something about castration.
Oh don’t pretend you do not know what I am talking about. I know there are others like me out there, sitting alone in their houses or apartments, hiding their stash of Bit O’ Honey or jelly beans. This crack takes many sly forms hoping to hook each of us by individual tastes.
Take my friend Lisa, for example. Her crack is chocolate. It doesn’t matter what form it comes it—donut, ice scream, candy, or syrup form—she is just gaga over chocolate. And, it doesn’t have to be good chocolate like Godiva or Ghirardelli chocolate. Nasty no-name chocolate from the dollar store is just fine with her. Lisa is so addicted to chocolate that she bought a safe for her daughters to keep their goodies in. She does not know the combination, and to her girls’ credit, no amount of bribery will compel them to open it or hand over the code. That is saying something since one is 12 and dying for an iPhone.) I am pretty sure Lisa has promised her a phone, and a designer case, and a Coach purse to keep it in, but to no avail. Her daughters know what a mess Lisa can be with just a hint of chocolate.
I have another friend, whom we’ll just call “Jane,” who is addicted to the pumpkin spice phenomenon that is all the rage in the stores. I know I tend to exaggerate, but this is the honest truth. At the beginning of October, after a full workout at the gym, Jane went to Kroger’s where they festively displayed every pumpkin flavored product in one section. After nearly hyperventilating right there in the bakery section, Jane began to stockpile pumpkin products: creamer, cream cheese, bread, muffins, soup, whip cream, ravioli, chili, seeds, frosting, pie, and just plain pumpkin (I am sure I am leaving off something). I can picture her tossing items into her shopping cart like a crazed lunatic—eyes dilated, hair a bit mussed, determined look with a wide-toothed grin. Every time I see her, Jane offers me some kind of pumpkin item. To be honest, it has turned me off of pumpkin spiced anything. But, hey, I am not one to judge. Some people take their crack in their coffee, others eat it with caramel, and others like me crunch on it all day.
Last night I decided that the madness had to end. So, I got on my knees and prayed for strength to combat this evil addiction. Of course, I made that resolve after chewing my very last Tootsie Pop—my favorite I saved for last—the orange one. And, today is DETOX day. So far, I have not had even a smidgen of sugar. Of course, it is only 8 AM, but I need to pat myself on the back for small accomplishments. Baby steps. I do have a terrific headache, and think it has something to do with withdrawal symptoms. But, I plan to persevere. Push through the pain and discomfort. I want to be free of this horrible addiction. I really don’t want to lock myself in the closet again this Halloween.