Confessions of a Carboholic

I am happy that my brother can think of alcohol with nothing but the utmost indifference.  It has been over a year and a half since I stopped smoking (again) and I still have the occasional craving for a draught of that oh-so-soothing nicotine.  Not that I don't feel better for having stopped (or not continued to start back up again); nor do I miss at all the enslavement to the drug.  But.  The pleasure, the desire, the self-deluding "Maybe just one" are still there.  I know that I am not quite--and probably never will be--entirely free.

It's a week since Ash Wednesday and ten days since my last carb fest.  And, indeed, I'm feeling great.  I was able to get into my "fat" jeans last night (i.e. the jeans that I bought a few years ago for wearing with long underwear, thus a size bigger than the ones I actually wore at that time; they were my regular jeans last winter and I haven't been able to get into them at all since last autumn); I am feeling energized in a way that is difficult to explain, given that I have been, to the best of my knowledge, keeping to 20-25g of carbs a day for a good ten days; I've had a few headaches, as per the warnings, but drinking my broth seemed to make them go away.  Even better, I actually believe that if I stick to this way of eating (i.e. diet), it is just a matter of time before I lose the accumulated carb-fat and am thin again.*

And yet, the sugarplums dance in my head.  I can see those Dolly Madison Zingers just beckoning to me, the slab of icing slipping off and into my mouth.  I can feel the roundness of the caramel popcorn settling on my tongue.  I can feel the weight of sugar and starch in the ice cream cooling my tummy and sending me to sleep.  I might believe that these images will fade in time, that the lure of the carb-drug will weaken the longer I am off of it, but it hasn't with nicotine even after a year and a half or, before that, after fourteen years.  One day, who knows when, there will come a time when I manage to convince myself that I can take "just a bite".  That eating a whole piece of cake won't hurt because I will go back to counting carbs tomorrow.  That eating a whole bag of caramel popcorn while winding down with my favorite video won't be so bad.  And then there will be another.  And another.  And before you know it, if I am not careful, I will be eating carbs again.  It will be interesting to see what I do on that day.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, just practical.  Do the cravings ever go completely away?  Or do they just go dormant the better you eat, the longer you don't smoke, the better your body feels without the drag of a drag--or a cookie?  Judging from the experiences of the desert fathers, the demons just get stronger the stronger you get.  So you fight.  And you pray.  But you never, ever turn your back on them, thinking that you have somehow gotten the better of them or that they have gone away.  Because as soon as you do, there they will be, whispering to you: "One won't hurt.  You deserve a treat.  It's been a long day."

But perhaps it is different with alcohol.  I don't know, that's not one of my demons.**

*How I feel about that is the matter for another post.
**Except, of course, insofar as it includes carbs--thus, I suspect, my relative fondness for beer as opposed to, say, spirits or wine.


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