What Do Honey Bunches of Oats and Heroin Have in Common?


They can rob us of the ability to be satisfied with much else.Sugar & Heroin - A Comparison. Our ability to experience both health and happiness depends on whether or not we choose to manage our expectations.


I’ve done many, many drugs, but I’ve never done heroin.

Knowing what I know about me, 1 I would have been hooked immediately.

And knowing what I know about heroin, it would have felt unspeakably beautiful.

I would have felt perfect. 2

Heroin would have made me aware of pleasant sensations beyond anything I had ever experienced.

It would have wildly inflated my expectations, and from that moment on, normal life would have felt dull and meaningless. 3

Like punishment.

And I would have become fixated on experiencing that unspeakable beauty again.

And again. And again.


Sugar has the same impact on my ability to be satisfied with normal food.

If I eat sugared cereal for breakfast, that big, cold, sweet bowl of crunchy deliciousness wildly inflates my expectations.

It makes a home-cooked lunch of protein and veggies feel dull and meaningless.

Like punishment.

So I become fixated on eating something sweet. Maybe with a little crunch. Just a little something to break the monotony.

A fix.

And another. And another.

Eating sugar means wasting my precious days in craving.

And each little treat, far from satisfying that craving, deepens it.

I’m less and less interested in cooking. 4

I find it less and less bearable to eat normal, healthy foods.

By the end of the day, anything that stands between me and my evening-time little something gets lit on fire and burned to the ground.


We all know there are lots of reasons to not do heroin. The most compelling reason for me is that I want to be able to feel pleasure in my body and peace in my head without getting high. I can do that much more easily if I stay sober.

Science is revealing more reasons every day to not eat sugar. The most compelling reason for me is that I want to enjoy eating healthy food, and to be satisfied with it. It’s much easier for me to do that if I’m eating simple, whole foods.

Clearly, this natural-born addict can only experience healthy, sustainable pleasure if  and when I choose to manage my expectations. 

Thankfully, once I stop eating sugar, 5 it doesn’t take long for my palate return to normal, and to be able to enjoy eating fresh, healthy foods.

Of course, being able to live and feel well on the heels of heroin exposure takes more time. And a lot more work.

The keys to successful recovery from any addictive cycle are peer support and accountability. It also helps to make an intentional commitment at the beginning of each day, to acknowledge and celebrate small victories, and to talk in such a way as to retrain the brain to feel capable and strong and hopeful. (If you need some help on exactly HOW to talk like that, stay ‘til the end of the free webinar I’m offering HERE.)

Believe you me, if I could figure out how to feel well and enjoy my life with inflated expectations, you’d be reading a very different blog post on sugar-dusted-junkie.com. Instead, I have accepted  that my health and happiness depend on me making mindful choices, choices that make pleasure available to me each and every day, without needing to consume anything in particular to get there.

Whatever strong choices you’re making today, high five. 


Being both healthy and happy ain’t easy, but it feels a hell of a lot better than the alternative.  Can I get an ‘Amen’?



  1. If it feels good, I want more.
  2. Albeit briefly.
  3. At best.
  4. ”But I want something speeeeeciaaaaaal….”
  5. And hyperpalatable foods generally


  1. Sheila says

    So the nicotine OR gummy bear dialog that’s been playing in my head for a week…same thing, right?

    oh and AMEN!

  2. Peggy Krenz says

    “Wildly inflated expectations” – that’s me in a literal nutshell! This was the kick in the butt my whiny-ass “I want something speciaaaall!” needed. Thanks!

  3. Julie says

    Yup, as I keep taking care of myself, I am seeing different names = same thing. i.e. sugar = heroin = yada = yada = yada. I can fill in the blanks with lots of other stuff that is popping up for me. I’m seeing it, hearing it, feeling it and working on managing my expectations. AMEN!

  4. says

    Excellent stuff, as usual, Kelly. And a great picture on your webinar page! Who took that? Your text made me think of this, which I may have shared with you, but not sure:

    Craving & Longing

    When I am in my addictive consciousness,
    I don’t merely want the object
    of my craving; I want
    ‐ I cling to ‐
    the craving itself.
    For, while I confuse the object of my craving
    with fulfillment,
    the craving itself
    is confused with longing.
    And my being knows
    that longing is essential,
    and sacred.

    That said — don’t fuck with opiates. I know you know. Just saying.

  5. Laurie says

    I just “stopped” eating sugar for the who knows how many “timeth”. It is day 28, oh how funny is that. I haven’t had a drink or drug besides sugar in 13 years. After 28 days I am still in the danger zone. No where near ready to be released from my detox rehab. I wrote down that once I ate the sugar I no longer wanted any other kind of food. I am sadly realizing I am at critical mass. I really will die if I pick up sugar again. I have been hospitalized for pancreatitis attacks 4 times. Doctors except for one in the ER always insist “FOOD WOULDNT DO THIS TO YOU.” Yes it does. In the amounts I eat after just one bite. So I know this and most reading this know “self knowledge avails us nothing.”
    Thank you for your voice., Coffey. I feel tired and pray that I can stay strong. I had a strong craving yesterday for my drug of choice, it is pretty, small and involves cake and icing which is why I buy them by the half dozen and eat them for lunch. I am staying far away from the monthly pop up where I work. Grant me the serenity. . .

  6. Melissa says

    oh man. i needed this so bad today. (you know, right after eating a damn donut) I let my birthday this weekend be too big of a celebration and now im craving my drug of choice. I hate that the craving is so strong and can make me feel like it does. No more today. No more tomorrow. I need to be done with that horrible drug.
    Thank you for putting into words what I thought nobody else felt.

  7. Sue Loomis says

    God that hit home. I am finding what I put in my mouth in the morning or during the work day causes terrible cravings at night! Shopped the other night and bought B and J’s – the most high calorie version too! Didn’t eat one spoonful no I downed the pint! 1240 calories later I’m sitting there wondering why. The only thing I didn’t do was to continue that wicked fall! I’m thinking about giving myself sobriety chips for every month I stay “clean”. What do you think?

  8. Kim Suga says

    It’s so great to see your success.. It’s great because that means more people are doing fitness and nutrition the right way. It means people are looking for a sustainable healthy lifestyle and not relying on quick fixes that are temporary at best, dangerous at worst.

    Keep it up Coffey!

  9. Shannon says

    This was great, thank you. I fight (and fail) every day with food choices. I know, I KNOW when I eat right and get some sort of work-out in every morning I feel amazing, yet somehow it’s still a struggle to make that choice. Not something I really understand here’s to trying to fix it.

  10. Michele Petryk says

    How did you know that I just finished the last teeny bit of raspberry pie? Ugh. Thanks for this. It’s so true. Time to recalibrate. For me, sugar is the equivalent of a cigarette. One hit won’t kill you but the habit surely will. Not as dramatic as heroin (thank god it’s never crossed my path) but I started and stopped smoking in my 20s and this feels the same. Love your writing Kelly Coffey. Keep it up!

    PS: Have you read about the Rat Park study on addiction? Not 100% proven but it makes soooooo much sense.

  11. Joan says

    I have been alcohol free for almost a year, but think sugar cravings have replaced my cravings for alcohol. On days when I am able to eat in a healthful and mindful way, I feel so much better. But I feel that the “beasty” craving is just below the surface waiting for me to give in. So I manage clean eating a few days at a time and keep going. Aiming for a week now!


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