Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

suncare-1440x900“I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year.
All of the faces and all of the places,
wonderin’ where they all disappeared.
I didn’t ponder the question too long;
I was hungry and went out for a bite.
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum,
and we wound up drinkin’ all night.”

Ok, all but the last bit, but the song just doesn’t sound right without it.  This past weekend was spent sick in bed with plenty of time to read, dawdle, and think back to this time last year.  One year ago, a week of sobriety had been survived and I hadn’t died quite yet.  My therapist made sure I was always close to a hospital while waiting to get into the 14 day outpatient program.  One year ago was three days into the program, soaking up all of the learning, comparing myself to everyone else in the program, thankful that it filled up so many hours of the day.  But the sharing of stories hadn’t started quite yet and I was still burdened by the dark secret that I had done things that no one would ever believe, that the depths of my desperation were unimaginable.

When those stories started to be shared, for once I found a kinship with others who shared that silent suffering.  Sharing my story, with all of its horrible secrets, and looking up to see a circle of women nodding, smiling, and giggling in understanding was the first taste of freedom.  Letting those secrets out into the world, slowly realizing that I am not uniquely alone in this disease, and that the shared burden could possibly be lifted, allowed me a peek at the possibilities of recovery ahead.  All of those faces from all of those places … how are they faring today?

“It’s those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

All of those years running towards and running away are certainly not missed.  The pressure to maintain appearances and cunning ways to keep the disease alive no longer consume me.

The stories shared openly here in the sober blogosphere remind me that if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.  Your stories are a big part of my continued sobriety today.

Last alcohol run

The last time I bought alcohol was one year ago today.  I knew it would be the last time.  I knew that everything was going to change.  How I would possibly survive at all was completely beyond me.  It was frightening and exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.  Soon there will be a celebration with friends.  On roller coasters with my hands in the air. Because this year has been just like that.

Oh, These Food Cravings!

My goodness, people, what is it with these food cravings?

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The coffee craving for the first 4 months or so was just ludicrous.  Starbucks has a loyalty program? Who know?!  Finding a late night fix was such a challenge.  Mornings were always an easy time to find coffee. Afternoons were also doable. But evenings and night times were such a challenge!  With all of the night time meetings of one sort or another, getting a cup of joe on the way there or back brought me to all sorts of gas stations where I crossed my fingers for a bit of old, pathetic coffee. Like many people, soda wasn’t going to do the job because the carbonation brought back too many links to the drinking, and those links were still raw and painful. So coffee it was, wherever it could be found.

Then it moved on to the desire for crunch.  Veggies could fill the need for short bits of time, but potato chips were so much more satisfying!  Keeping in mind that this is just a craving to be satisfied and not a binge, a grab bag of Ruffles can last for 3 days.  Ruffles and I have made our peace with each other.

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It was this next disgusting phase that embarrasses me the most.  Go ahead and laugh out loud: frozen chocolate chip cookie dough.  Just the dough.  Oh for the love of butter, sugar and chocolate, this was amazing!  Homemade dough, portioned into cookie sized balls, frozen.  The idea is to have them on hand to just pop into the oven for a quick plate of cookies.  But I never even turned on the oven.  To make matters worse, I kept them in the freezer in the garage as if they were truly intended for some day when the cookies would indeed be baked,  and had to sneak them into the house. This was a complete throwback to my behaviors when sneaking alcohol into the house.  The familiarity of that behavior and guilt and excitement all wrapped together was unnerving to say the least.  With some reasonable self-control my weight didn’t balloon, but the pleasing pattern of weight loss did come to a halt.  I figured that the frozen chocolate chip cookie dough phase would pass, and eventually it did, but boy oh boy could I have done with a shortened time spent in that delicious craziness.  

Looking for a replacement, I tried a few candies that would be easy to keep with me during our scorching summers.  Starburst was a good candidate.  Sugary, flavorful, tiny.  There was one huge problem though – when biting into some of the intensely fruity flavors, my first thought could easily go to “this would be great with dark rum.”  So, Starburst have been  nixed from the list.

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Currently, I’m on a completely socially acceptable ice-cream kick.  During the day I stave off the cravings with just a handful of frozen blueberries.  At night I give into the lovely ice-cream. To keep the weight under check, I’m becoming an expert on which lower fat brands still have the rich mouth feel of the good stuff. One optimistic day I gave mango sorbet a try.  Good stuff if you’re not on an ice-cream kick and just want something cold and tasty.  Instead I give in to Talenti gelato in a ramekin to keep portion sizes under control.  An added bonus is that the ice-cream brings back wonderful memories from my childhood.  It wasn’t until I had moved away for college that I realized that not everyone eats ice-cream every single night with their father.  So the ice-cream is both a throw back to my childhood and satisfies a craving.

Reading about food cravings in the sober recovery blogosphere, its clear that the food cravings are par for the course.  Right now in fact, FitFatFood is challenging herself to a 21 day chocolate detox and inviting others to join her.  Way to go!

What have been your cravings?  How do you keep them reigned in?  And for those with more time on this recovery journey, do the cravings resolve themselves or are they something to be resolved through good old work?