Eileen is holding strong!

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Visiting Family. Or, a Recovering Sugar Addict Descends into Hell.

don't know about you, but growing up was no fun for me.  Apart from the
endless stories that are best left in the notebook of a shrink, or two,
one legacy of being raised by crazy people is my relationship to food. 
And therfore, my relationship as an adult to the refrigerator and
cupboards of family members I visit.

The Beast

I grew
up as a binge eater.  Athletic from the time I left my mother's womb, I
ran, biked, played baseball, football and tennis every available
daylight moment I was allowed to be outside.  The inside moments were
spent cramming food into my mouth out of an inexplicable drive that had
nothing to do with hunger.  I am sure I did not know the biological
feeling of hunger until… sometime in my twenties, perhaps?

my family, for some reason, triggers that drive to binge.  On my own, I
don't buy the stuff I'm not allowed to eat.  Let me re-phrase that.  I
don't keep it at home.  There is never a time (except when housemates
or friends are involved, see the first two in this series) I can open
the pantry and find boxes of delightful sugar coated cereals, bags of
freshly made cookies, stashes of chocolate chips for baking, graham
crackers, ice cream, and now, since my commitment to get off "the
crack", bagels and all kinds of bread.  Even when I was eating sugar
(up until about a month ago), the forbiddens were not kept in the house
simply because I know I would eat them.

Family, however, is a food stash.  Every imaginable forbidden is lying innocently on it's shelf
in the cupboard or fridge.  My father is the type who could eat a cake
and never gain a pound.  My mother could eat two and gain it, oh well. 
My sister, a fit and active woman, has not starved her children of the
sugary goodies.  No matter how much I beg, she refuses to throw it all
out before I arrive.

The family is a food stash.


normal pattern is to hold out for, oh, about a minute and then just GO
FOR IT.  It has never been anything I could stop.  Enter home.  Talk
for a second to whomever is in the way .  Raid the kitchen.  My neice
and nephew will tell you the stories.  They learned at an early age not
to get between me and the goodies on my first day of visit.  They will
break out in peals of laughter recounting the tales.

time, however, I am in the midst of The Commitment.  Ending the sugar
addiction.  Eating Clean.  Crossfit. Being a non-raider of the
forbiddens.  I knew as I landed that I had a whole new challenge
ahead.  The boxes of cereal; the bagels; the graham crackers; the ice
cream; the chocolate chips… this time, NO.  NONE OF IT.


with my bag of almonds, cashews, cranberris and 85% chocolate, I
sauntered into my sister's home with a new sense of identity.  I am a
non-sugar eater!  Rather than bound toward the kitchen, I unpacked,
said hello to the nephew and chatted for awhile.  Maybe I had a little
bit of an eye tick or maybe I drummed obessively, but NO, i did NOT run
for it, open every cupboard, fridge door and drawer exalting in the

What progress!

it was time.  I had to do it.  I went into the kitchen.  And there
before me, like the snake with a truckload of the most luscious, juicy,
round red and succulent apples, was the goodies.  On the counter was
the bag of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  Freshly baked!  Right
there!  Pornographic.

The snake

in the fridge, which I opened ONLY to put away my own healthy food, of
course, was the chocolate muffin.  And the jar of jelly, alluding
silently but surely to the peanut butter in the cupboard next door. 
And in that cupboard was the "sport bars" and bags of various flavors
of chocolate chips.  And in the cupboard next to that, my favorite, the
sugar coated cereal, best snarfed as a comfort food right before bed. 
And the graham crackers, and the balance bars and cliff bars, and the
list goes on and on.

I said to my sister, who was eyeing me oddly, uncomfortable yet not
quite cognizant that her discomfort stemmed from the LACK of boxes,
jars and spoons strewn across the counters, "I am in hell".

would like to say that my power of commitment was so strong, so deeply
grounded and secured that I put my healthy treats away, joined the
family for some kind of henious crime show, and eluded the inner snake.   That story would surely be the inspiration to all. Yes!  You can overcome your addictions
if you Really Want To.

The snake2

story is just a bit different.  I did join the family for the henious
crime show.  But I also paced the kitchen a bit, eyeing the bag of
cookies, hiding them, trying my hardest to pretend they were not there.
I told my nephew to please convince me they were a science project
filled with strictnine. But his allegience was to the glee he would
feel seeing me snarf rather than to my willpower.  He was the snake.

 The snake 3

my defense, and I do belive this almost holds the status of miracle, I
succumbed and had ONE cookie.  ONE.  No, you don't understand.  ONE. 
Given the magnitude of my past raids, really, that is almost as big as
Nadal winning the Aussie Open.  If you are not a tennis fan, it's like
Micheal Phelps winning SEVEN Olympic Golds instead of eight, and never
having admitted to the bong.

I write this, it is day two at The Food Stash. The cookies, muffins,
cereals, etc. are still there.  The day is not yet over so I can't say
today is Medal Number Eight, but that is the goal.  I'm almost there. 
I will let you know.

The snake 4


  1. Good job! One cookie won’t kill you but the will power is strong with this one! Keep it up!

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