Sweeteners and Caffeine

I’ve made a big adjustment – one day at a time, perhaps this is permanent or perhaps it isn’t, but certainly for today: I have finally cut out all sweeteners and caffeine sources.  I haven’t shared much about my struggle with those, mainly because sharing about it would have brought something out in the open that I’d rather not see in plain daylight.  But the time has come, finally… I’m defeated.

This really is a biggie for me.  I haven’t consistently had issues, especially with sweeteners I could always use them very sanely (only at breakfast, a little bit… and on weekends…) but the recurring problems I have been having with diet sodas and gum, especially gum lately, I have come to believe are connected to my use of sweeteners.  It’s the same substance.  The taste.  How can I expect to get off one carrier of the substance (gum) when I keep taking it in through other ways?  I’ve been off gum for weeks on end – struggling each day – just to then pick it back up, with a vengeance, suffering all the intestinal discomforts (putting it very mildly) that come with that… then finally gathering up the strength to give up gum, hoping the last episode was so bad it would forever take the attraction away.  What was I thinking?  The same as I used to think after every food binge.  That it would be so bad, finally, that I would never want to do it again.  And then I did it again.

I did see this pattern very clearly, with the gum, but I hadn’t made the connection to sweeteners as a whole.  I didn’t want to make that connection!  I’ve been using sweeteners very lightly, I thought, but the few things I did have I guarded with a vengeance.  But, as my sponsor more than once said to me, if a food takes up the kind of importance that I can’t let it go, that I fight for it… then that’s worrying.  It’s out of its proper place.

So, I have jumped.  Done the unthinkable.  Had a non-sweet breakfast yesterday morning.  And it wasn’t the end of the world!  I had it again this morning and still the world hasn’t stopped.  And that I did another unthinkable thing at the same time, giving up coffee, makes it a double miracle that I survived yesterday at all!  A new idea has emerged, a complete heresy: life without sweeteners or coffee may, after all, be possible.  Wow.  I can be abstinent without those crutches?  Say what??  I don’t need those crutches to prop me up while I hold on to abstinence – I can have a really simple relationship with food where no particular food or drink takes up a prominent place beyond its importance?

I don’t know if that’s true.  But since I survived yesterday and am still here to tell the tale (without coffee or sweeteners thus far today), I may yet hope.


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