3 Tips You Can Learn From A.A. For Getting ‘Off’ Sugar
Granted, a recovering one, but an obsession nonetheless. And I’ve done it all; good day? Celebration with ice cream! Bad day? Drown it in cookies!
Try me at the whole “everything in moderation” myth on a piece of cake? Good luck with that! I’d polish off the whole cake no time!
Does this sound like a victim-like mentality? Maybe. But it’s also been one of the biggest releases I’ve ever had in dealing with the grip of sugar addiction. In fact, since admitting I have a problem, I’ve been able to finally do things like:
- Lose 40 pounds
- Compete in several crossfit competitions
- Run a 5-mile Turkey Trot through downtown Cleveland on a beautiful Thanksgiving Day
- Fit into the clothes I had only wished I could have for years
- And finally take responsibility for my health
The dangers of sugar addiction are real, and severe. You can read how it affected me here.
Want more stories? My fellow-blogger Alison Golden struggled with it for years. It not only affected her, but her entire family. You can find her story of heart-wrenching struggle (and triumph) here.
But what’s the connection of sugar to alcohol addiction?
My friend, Bill is an alcoholic. Given the privledge it’s been to know him over the past decade, and his willingness to share his experiences, I learned a great deal about addiction.
I learned that sugar addiction has many similar trates to alcohol addiction, and that the addiction is based on so much more than just the physiologic craving; there’s also a tremendous behavioral component as well. We can use sweet foods cover up depression, forget about a bad event of the day, and on a deeper level, hide in it to mask the yearning of the person that we believe we can never become.
So, what do A.A. members do that you can learn from?
They Admit There’s A Problem: Would you think about telling an alcoholic: “you know, you should be able to have a drink or two, as long as it’s in moderation.”? I’d sincerely hope not. Why, then, is it so common to sabotage ourselves with the same rationale on something loaded with sugar? All the while, telling ourselves the same old lie: ‘everything is OK in moderation‘.
Sugar is one of the most addictive foods on the planet. If you’re addicted (like me), what’s so tough about admitting it? I can count on my hands, the number of times I’ve had it in the past two years, and it’s made all the difference in the world. Learn it for yourself, and see your first steps to recovery.
They Have Good Social Support: One of the key activities in A.A. is the element of sharing your story with other recovering alcaholics. why? Because it works. Do you have a great social network of people that are healthy (or becoming healthy) that you can go to for support? If not, why? Do your current friends eat sugar-packed desserts around you? If so, it’s a red flag in your weight-loss efforts.
Have you ever considered going other places to find in-shape friends? A gym? A biking group? Have you ever considered creating (or joining) a healthy food potluck? It might sound callous, but the friends you have today could be a huge detractors in you being healthy. Is knowing this enough for you to make some new (healthier) friends? Only you can answer that.
They Incorporated Behavioral Substitution: Do you ever wonder why alcaholics go to so many meetings? To fill in the ‘gap’ of the time they’d normally be drinking! How often are they recommended to go? As often as they were drinking. Period.
When we give something up, we leave a gap in our behavior. If we have nothing to fill that gap with, old habits will soon return. Do you find that every day after work, driving by the local fast food place makes you crave an ice cream cone? Have you tried going an alternate route, and stoppping for a walk instead? What about nightly television watching/junk-food eating? Have you thought of a nightly exercise class instead? Maybe a nightly walk?
The list of activities you can do vast, and only limited by your imagination. But the point remains, if you give up bad food choices, you need something to fill them with, or the bad habits will return.
I do hope that the choices you make today will be the most ideal ones for your health. They might not be the easiest to do, but with the effort, can have a dramatic impact on your health, your vitality, and your life.
What small habits are you working on today that will make your tomorrow a little bit healthier?
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