They can rob us of the ability to be satisfied with much else.
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
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.
So I become fixated on eating something sweet. Maybe with a little crunch. Just a little something to break the monotony.
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.
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’?