Relapse Prevention & Sugar Addiction

I’ve had a long history with friends and loved ones in AA, plus I nearly finished my degree to become an Addictions Counselor several years ago, so I know a thing or two about addiction and relapse. When it comes to sugar and refined flour (sugar in a different form) I recognize an addiction when I see one. I am addicted to sugar.

One night, this normally healthy eater found herself in a sugar stupor after having eaten 15 … one at a time 15 … mini Milky Ways. 15. I admit it had been a difficult few days, but typically, if I found myself in an emotional eating frame of mind, I would head for the carrots, celery, romaine or apples. This was a full-on relapse into the old unhealthy sugar jar!

I don’t keep candy in my house. This was in the house because Unity Church of Overland Park was doing an outreach program in which members put together Easter baskets for people who wouldn’t otherwise receive them and I was putting together a couple of baskets. Of course I thought I’d just have a couple of those little mini’s … yeah, right! How quickly we forget that we are just one mini Milky Way away from a date with a sugar coma!

I did what any self-respecting addict in recovery would do: I accepted responsibility and acknowledged my mistake, and then I created a Relapse Prevention Plan. I highly recommend it. Work toward identifying your triggers so that BEFORE you jump on those Milky Ways or Snickers or potato chips or ice cream you recognize what’s happening and go directly to your plan to prevent it. It’s an especially helpful tool when you’ve gone a long time without having a problem and all of a sudden find yourself heading into the danger zone.

To offer you ideas for how to proceed, here is mine:

  1. Check my Nourishment Menu*
  2. Remember that it is an addiction and that I’m not capable of having just one regardless of how hard I try to convince myself that I can.
  3. Call my relapse buddy.
  4. Have faith that the craving will go away.
  5. Journal about the situation.
  6. Do something physical: Dance, walk, exercise … whatever.
  7. Have a cup of Bancha Tea.
  8. Brush my teeth.
  9. Limit salty foods since they lead to the body wanting to balance itself with sugar
  10. Eat carrots … even if I don’t want to … do it anyway.

*Nourishment Menu—this is a menu of things you enjoy doing that nourish you in other ways. For me it includes:

  1. Bubble Bath
  2. Take Mikey the Wonder Dog (TWD) for a walk
  3. Brush Mikey TWD
  4. Pick a positive quote or affirmation and create a graphic using it
  5. Look through my photos for pictures that would work well in my blog/books
  6. Knit (I’ve been making my granddaughter a scarf for Christmas for two years. I like knitting, but forget about it.)
  7. Dance/Walk/Exercise (nourishing because I get satisfaction from it)

My recovery pledge: I will

  • Become aware of the behavior that signals potential problems.
  • Ask a friend or two to be my relapse buddies.
  • Go through my relapse prevention plan before I head to my substance of choice.

I would love to hear about the Relapse Prevention Plans that you develop. Please send them to me via comments here or go to my website to send them privately.

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