My Sugar Addiction: A Bittersweet Story
Written by
Kathryne Arnold
October 2011
Written by
Kathryne Arnold
October 2011

I admit it! I am powerless over my addiction, and need to turn my obsession with all-things-sweet over to my higher power. Does anyone know if there is a 12-Step program for those with a dangerously out-of-control sweet tooth?? My love story with sugar started when I was a child. Back when I was a youngster, nobody seemed to realize just how bad sugar is and the havoc it wreaks on our bodies, other than it caused some considerable cavities. That’s the only time I ever heard anything negative uttered about indulging in sweet delectables. I’d go to the dentist and he’d say, “Seems like you’ve been eating an awful lot of candy, and not brushing your teeth afterwards … am I right?” My face would be flushed with guilt and I’d slink home, my parents looking invariably disappointed that I needed yet another filling, like it was somehow my fault!


I have countless fond memories created around stuffing my little pie hole with sugary delights … like walking to the local gas station several times weekly in the summer with my older brother. There they had a deep metal freezer with six small lids on top. I’d open each one and peer down inside to see what exciting new or perhaps beloved standard rest inside, waiting for my loving hand to reach in and grab it. I always got three— 5 cents each for a grand total of 15 cents! Guess I’m dating myself with this one. Always purchased a vanilla popsicle with the chocolate coating, an ice cream sandwich and of course, the ever fabulous creamsicle. We’d eat them all in a row while trudging home, preventing them from melting in the blaring sun, doing our best to thwart the loss of a single lick, a cardinal sin!


Oh, and not let’s forget Halloween, running from house to house in one of my homemade costumes (the scary ghost costume-a white sheet thrown over me with three holes punched out for the eyes and mouth was my absolute favorite!) I’m sure I looked frightening, but hey, that was before you had stores holding hundreds of machine-made costumes of every sort imaginable. But the point is, all of us kids managed to score large grocery-sized bags of an innumerable amount of goodies. My siblings and I would spend hours afterward bartering and bargaining with each other, hoping to acquire the kind of whatever candy we most treasured. And back in the olden days you got full-size candy bars, not the measly ones shoved in fifty at a time into plastic bags which you just grab off the store shelf without much thought. Of course, we were also customarily stuck with those horrid popcorn balls and caramel apples that some oldsters thought were healthier for us. Yuck!


I could go on forever with my remembrances of the holidays and seasons full of fantastic times spent together with family and friends imbibing in sweet treats. What about Easter … holy cow, now that was exhilarating. The Easter baskets stuffed with goodies, hidden in nooks and crannies around the house for us to discover (forget the eggs, except for coloring and hiding them, that part was acceptable). And Thanksgiving— the pies and stuffed dates, candied sweet potatoes … and never mind Christmas! This holiday alone catapulted us to another level of indulgence! I’m surprised our parents were able to scrape us four kids off the ceiling, bouncing around the house as we did.


But I think you get the picture. There are so many wonderful times from my past that I can pull up in my mind … of fun and excitement and shared events where sugar was a plenty. So, no wonder I am fixated as an adult with eating some tasty sugary treat. It’s tied to a carefree childhood and adolescence when times were simpler, enjoyable, no worries or major stressors, before the world went insane. Roll all those warmhearted memories together … the sights, the smells, the sounds, and they will never be forgotten. So I guess I ended up with too many cavities and whatever you want to term it, an addiction or obsession (okay, maybe those words are too strong  more of a bad habit) that is hard to kick!


So now I am older and know better, and so does the public at large. The sugar industry has been outed …we all are aware that they have been sticking the sweet stuff into almost every morsel that passes our lips. In catsup, give us a break! In soup, come on now! So presently (on my good days), I carefully read all food labels, admit to friends when I am having a hard time fending off sugar, leave the candy and cakes on the grocery shelves where they belong. I might spend a moment, however, to caress them lovingly, drink in their beauty with my eyes, breathe in the sumptuous smells wafting from the local bakery … but I walk right on by, more content in the knowledge that perhaps I’ll live another healthier day without sugar coursing through my veins, adding to my girth, or muddling my mind with false energy rushes. So in tough times when I’m craving something sinfully sweet, I remember to draw on my myriad of memories (as I keep my mouth tightly shut) to keep me satisfied, call one of my sugar sponsors (ie. lots of good friends) who remind me to live “one day at a time” and to focus on how eternally grateful I am for having one hell of a sweet childhood!


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