Connection and belonging

I sit window facing in the dryness and warmth of the Roseville Whole Foods. My hot coffee and circular English toffees laid before me. I take joy in the atypical California weather. Palm trees swaying back and forth in the wind. Puddles abound. Folsom Lake has reached full capacity. The American River in Sacramento continues to rise. My coffee and English toffees make for a sweet lunch.

I’ve become a California weather wimp. My light pink raincoat is more a fashion statement than a protective layer from the rain. The strong winds and consistent rainfall remind me of long winter day’s in Ireland. A comforting memory.

I came face to face with another reality today.  My sugar addiction. I drastically reduced my sugar intake from mid-January to about May. It was fascinating to watch the weight melt off my body. I got too confident and started compromising. I had gone off the rails totally by August. Cheap hardcore candy and frozen yoghurt were the main culprits.

From mid-January to August I had lost approximately 40 lbs just by cutting out sugar in my regular diet, and by eating a regimented 3 healthy and measured meals a day. No snacking whatsoever.

I dropped from a size 16 and could squeeze back into my size 10 or 8 trousers and skirts that still hung in my closet.

As I sat in Whole Foods I reflected on one of my earliest memories as a child. It involved taking 50 pence from my dad’s coat pocket and buying a big white paper bag filled with candy. I’d eaten it all alone before anyone rose from bed that morning.

Using daily pocket money for candy on the walk to primary school allowed me to slowly suck on candy throughout the school day. Cocoa cola cubes or yellow bon bons were favorites. A 2 oz bag got me through the entire morning.

Today I’m reflecting on what triggered my childhood sugar addiction. We live in a society that is so vulnerable to addictions. And technological connection does not bring emotional connection or social recovery. As human beings we crave and need bonds, relationships, flesh and blood connections, and the courage to be present in our own life and in the lives of others, addicts or not. The following video highlights for me a thoughtful and compassionate approach to how we might perceive and treat people who may be traumatized, isolated, beaten down or addicted.

As I struggle to overcome my sugar addiction today, I ask myself ;

What am I really hungry for, on a deeper level  ?
Why do we treat addicts and addiction in the punishing, isolating way we do today?
Is there a better way for individual and social recovery ?

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