Sugar Addiction in sobriety is a thing ..

Day 29.

Sugar, Sugar
ah honey, honey,
You are my candy girl,
And you’ve got me wanting you
Jeff Barry/Andy Kim

I am not unique in my alcohol addiction. Nothing I am experiencing is unusual.

This is what I have learned in the last 29 days.

It may be a new feeling, symptom or sensation to me … but it all seems to be part of the journey every other human who has traveled this path experiences.

For example, I have suddenly been craving sugary things. Sweets are nice, but haven’t really been my thing – I can take them or leave them.

But the last couple of days I have wanted craved sugary, cakey, cookies type ‘food’… and I can’t get enough of sugar.

I went to Dr. Google to see what’s up with that!  And I found a terrific blog, which I’ve read before – and highly recommend: Hip Sobriety. The hip lady behind it is Holly Glenn Whitaker.

Holly wrote a  post specifically about her experience with this Sugar Monster problem shortly into sobriety. Seems I’m suffering a combination of an addiction transference – and a feel-good serotonin deficiency. I was no longer getting serotonin from alcohol  – and sugar provides that.

For insight into this sugar addiction, and how to shake it (it’s as bad as alcohol!), Holly spoke to Mary Vance, a Nutrition counsellor. The column is well worth reading in its entirety – I’m just pulling out a few things here that resonate with me.

Mary says the idea is to manage your nutrition to get through early sobriety as your body balances out — here’s a podcast with Mary as well.

Points of interest:

  • Once you stop drinking, sweets can quell your craving for alcohol.
  • There are biochemical deficiencies that may predispose a person to addiction and binge behavior, usually imbalances in feel-good brain chemicals (known as neurotransmitters), blood sugar fluctuations, nutrient deficiencies that contribute to anxiety/depression, or a combination of these factors. These physiological imbalances drive a person to seek outside substances to help themselves feel normal. Alcohol does the job….or ….
  • Certain foods have a similar effect. Sugar in particular can temporarily raise serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. So, when you remove the main substance upon which a person has become dependent to feel good or normal (alcohol), the brain screams to get that relief from other substances (carbs and sugar, caffeine and nicotine, pot, etc.).
  • Caffeine also increases serotonin concentration in the brainstem.

Mary lists 13 — you’ll have to read the whole article to get the full story, here are a few:

*Eat in regular intervals, every four hours, to stabilize blood sugar.
*Caffeine and nicotine aggravate hypoglycaemia and disrupt blood sugar balance.
*Use Glutamine supplements.
*B vitamin complex can help the body adjust to stress.
*Crave Arrest Supplement. (pros and cons)
*Really focus on good sleep habits.
*Breakfast is key!

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

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