Thursday, November 11, 2010

Withdrawal: My Story

A few months ago Corey, my husband, planned a day outing to a mountain lake.  At the time we were sporadically working on living more healthy but hadn't eliminated desserts and treats from our diets.  When I asked him what kind of goodies I should buy for the short trip he looked thoughtful for a moment and said, "We don't need anything, do we?"  I felt my throat closing up in panic at his question but managed to choke out a "probably not".   I slipped into the other room to take a moment and figure out why my world was spiraling because of junk food.

The hour long ride up to the lake was very distressing to me in many ways.  I was most distressed because of my reaction.  Couldn't I have fun without candy anymore?  I was distressed because I didn't have my sweets to provide an extension of fun.  I was distressed because I felt panicked without something sweet - I could no longer function without a fix.  It became seriously apparent at that moment that I had a problem.  An addiction.

More phenomenal was the experience that came after arriving at the lake.  I had fun.  I actually had a lot of fun.  Because I didn't have sugar to pull at my mind constantly I was able to freely use all my senses to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Corey and I discussed the experience and confirmed what we already suspected, that each of us has a problem.  We decided to make changes and began the planning process (which will be discussed in another post) and started our new lifestyle on the following Monday. 

Monday came.  All fine and only mild cravings after dinner.

Tuesday.  Headache.  Mild anxiety.  No energy.

Wednesday.  Headache still there.  Anxiety tightening my throat.  Heavy irritability.  Low energy.

Thursday.  Mild irritability.  Low energy.  Whiny and intense cravings. (Should I mentions a change in bowel habits for the worse?)

Friday.  Subdued but hopeful cravings.

The Weekend.  Not pleasant.

Monday.  Not so bad....

Tuesday.  A sense of accomplishment and pride for making it 1 week.  Feeling a lot better physically.

Weekends are still hard.  My brain is so used to weekend fun eating that just the word 'Friday' starts a dessert quest in my mind.  And then I remember that I don't do that anymore.  I don't need to. 

Many years ago my dad suffered from alcoholism.  I sought his advice when planning my recovery from sugar.  I asked him if the cravings ever just go away.  His reply is the very core of why I'm a recovering sugar addict.  He said "No.  My body still wants alchohol."  This is coming from a good man who attends the temple and strives to live a Christlike life.  At that moment I realized that I could no longer keep one foot in Babylon.  I had to make a choice:  to be ruled by sugar or to be my own master.  Accepting that sugar will always have a siren's call to me was a hard bit to swallow and initially seemed bitter and unfair.  But like my experience at the lake I have found that life is much more sweet without it anyway.

"In order to experience the symptoms of withdrawal, one must have first developed a physical dependence (often referred to as chemical dependency). This happens after consuming one or more of these substances for a certain period of time, which is both dose dependent and varies based upon the drug consumed."   Wikipedia

Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Social isolation

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle tension
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremor
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea


  1. Oh, my. I don't like this!! Too true

  2. It takes so much courage to figure these things out for ourselves... but even more to let everyone else know!

  3. Not to be the devils advocate but is it ever ok? Was there some moderation in this sugar thing? I am horrible as I read this I thought of how many times today I had changed my mind about what to bake for our Sunday snack. Maybe I'll break out the veggies and dip. We need help!