No, I haven’t taken drugs. But I have been abusing sugar.

At 12 Steps meetings, you get different coloured keyrings depending on how long you’ve been “Clean and Serene”. At the moment I have only the first keyring, which is white and represents that I’ve been clean “Just For Today”.

I really like the keyring system because it serves as a visual reminder of how long you’ve been clean… and how much you’d be throwing away if you used again.

The next keyring for me would be (I think) the orange one, which represents being Clean and Serene for 30 days. I’ve just looked at my calendar to see when that would be for me. It’s tomorrow (12/09/2019).

At least, that would be 30 days from the last time I took my drug of choice, DXM.

But, as I explained here, I also have a secondary addiction – to sugar. I use sugar as a substitute for DXM. I tell myself it’s more socially acceptable. It also seems to most people like it’s less harmful than drugs, though knowing something about the science behind nutrition and the harmful effects of sugar, that may not actually be the case.

I’ll be honest with you, I feel utterly pathetic admitting I have a problem with sugar. As an ex-heroin addict used to say to me, “It’s not very rock’n’roll, is it?”

I’m probably more ashamed of my sugar addiction than I am of my DXM one.

What kind of idiot can’t control their sugar intake? Me.

So, what counts as a relapse? I’ve been asking myself that question quite a lot recently. I’m keen to get my orange 30-day keyring, so I wanted to say that only DXM usage counted as a relapse.

But, I think it’s absolutely vital for me to be honest with myself. Truth is a core Spiritual principle and a big part of 12 Steps.

I can tell when I’m abusing sugar as an addict, as a substitute for DXM.

And each time I do that, I really ought to be counting it as a relapse. The feelings I have inside with sugar binges – they’re exactly like other forms of addiction.

Various addictions may look very different on the surface, but at their core, I believe they all look very similar.

If I’m honest, I’ve relapsed two days in a row.

On Monday night I bought a tub of ice cream. I told myself I’d only eat half of it that night. You see, I’m trying to cut down. Not that long ago I’d regularly smash 2 or sometimes even 3 tubs of ice cream in one evening.

But I couldn’t stop myself. I ended up eating the entire tub even though I’d told myself I’d only have half. That’s the disease of addiction, the lack of self control.

And then last night, on the way home from a wonderful 12 Steps meeting, I bought a McDonald’s milkshake. It’s basically semi-melted ice cream which is absolutely rammed with sugar. I even caved and bought a large one because it was only 20p more. That’s the addict in me, no self-control.

On the mornings following each of these relapses, I felt awful. Partly it’s the physical after-effects of consuming gigantic quantities of sugar. Partly it’s the shame of knowing I’d let myself down. Again.

Where Now?

It’s a mistake for me to think it’s OK to abuse sugar as long as I’m staying away from DXM.

I can tell from the way I feel inside that both cravings are, at source, the same. It’s all the disease of addiction.

It feels like addiction is a nest of vipers inside my chest, squirming away. They can tell that as long as I keep doing the 12 Steps, their days are numbered. And they are absolutely desperate to find any way possible to keep me using… DXM, sugar… anything.

So, yesterday I relapsed…

… that makes today Day 1 again, the first day of me being “Clean and Serene”.

Sorry 30-day orange keyring, you’re gonna have to wait a bit longer for me to reach you.

Last night I had a series of painful, depressing dreams.

There’s a lot of shit from my past I need to face. My dreams were reminding me of that.

There’s a lot of pain from the past which I need to process. I need to heal from it, eventually.

Drugs (or sugar) aren’t the answer to the long-standing pain which I’ve been stuffing down inside myself. It’s Recovery through the 12 Steps that’s the answer I’ve been looking for.

As I mentioned in my post “Significant Dates”, maybe today (11/09/2019) is turning out to be pretty significant after all. At least, it is to me.

I’ll be praying to God / My Higher Power for strength and guidance.

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