Dear Sweet Chocolate,
You and me, we’ve had a lot of fun over the years. So. Much. Right?
I know. It all started when I was very young. I’d no wrinkles and barely any sense, busy playing with dolls and trucks and riding my orange tricycle as I was.
When you think about it, it wasn’t either of our faults – I mean; it was almost an arranged marriage. We were introduced, for crying out loud.
Right there in my own home. My dad worked for a company that sold you and your cousins – all the sweet sugary treats imaginable. And he’d bring some of you home, sitting right there on the desk in my parents’ bedroom.
Tempting me with your parfum de sucre. Making eyes at me from beneath your packaging. Giving me blood sugar spikes with each and every bite, making me want more-more-more…
As I grew up a little more, Dad didn’t work for a purveyor of your wares any more, but the whole family was hooked.
Deeply. Wholly. Irrevocably. Yours.
Before I was out of my teenage years, one of my teeth had been exchanged for another kind – a Sweet Tooth. Mmmmm. Right there in my mouth, sprinkling my tongue with a whisper of the so-called goodness of the ingredient at the core of your being: sugar.
Oh yeah. My particular brand of your poison remained the same, however.
Chocolate, it’s always been you.
Sure, Ice-Cream got a look in from time to time. Occasionally I’d flirt with Cake. But Chocolate, you’ve always been my guy. I’d have you in biscuit form, or blocks or any which way I could get you.
You, Chocolate, wormed your way into my tastebuds and heart and you weren’t getting away that easily. Not that you wanted to, I’m pretty sure. I doubt that you ever even tried.
Then I grew up and left home and suddenly, I could do anything I wanted. And besides staying up late, one of the things I wanted was you. All the time. Every day. I was even encouraged by others who were as devoted to you as I was…
At first, I’d tell myself it was ok if I had just a little bit every day. But there were times when I’d scarf down an awful lot more. Pretty soon, I had to avoid keeping you in the house because you wouldn’t last.
Chocolate – it was around about then that I noticed you’d kinda taken over my life.
Or my willpower at any rate. And I think it was around then that I first felt uncomfortable with the level of power you held over me. Not that it stopped me wanting you – but I… I… well, I noticed that we weren’t equals. I was pretty much your slave.
I didn’t like it but it was true. The only difference was that I knew it now.
There were so many times when I tried to leave you.
We even had a few separations, but they never worked out. There were too many cravings. Or withdrawals? At any rate, as much as I tried I just couldn’t quit you.
Because you had a dirty little secret, didn’t you?
It wasn’t enough for the heart of your being – sugar – to be spread far and wide in every sweet treat around. You had to insinuate your way into supposedly non-sweet foods. Even some so-called health foods, too.
Then there’s this – even eating too much of certain things that are supposed to be good for me (like fruit) can mean I’m getting way too much sugar.
So even when I thought I wasn’t eating you, I really was. Like, all the time. Sometimes three times a day. Every single meal that wasn’t called dessert, still had you. I just didn’t know it.
Which meant I was powerless to stop my attraction to you. You were always in my blood, damnit.
But then I got sick. Really sick. And in the process of working out how to get well, I did a lot of reading. A HUGE amount of self-educating and suddenly my eyes were open. The rose coloured glasses off.
I saw you for what you really are.
Fortunately, there were support groups to join. Wise advice to listen to. I began to formulate a plan of how to leave you. For good this time.
It wasn’t going to be easy, but I was now uncomfortably aware that you weren’t any good for me and by not leaving, I was doing myself more harm than good. So I had to go for my own sake.
In some ways it’s true to say that it wasn’t you, it was me.
But truthfully, I think the same can be said for you.
You really aren’t any good for me, or pretty much anyone else. Not in the sorts of doses we’ve adapted to having you in, anyway.
So I did the work. Slowly at first. Bit by bit. But I was dedicated, because I had a motive. I wanted to get well. Also, I think it helped that I’d done all the reading and prepared myself mentally in advance.
I sure didn’t quit you cold turkey, but quit you I did.
And then, amazing things started to happen.
In the five months since we’ve been apart, I’ve lost 10kg and 5cm off my waist (to date). So I look better, but I also feel better, too.
Then there’s this: I’d no idea that all of those cravings were a part of your deal.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’d go back and forth with myself. Do I or don’t I? You’re right there in the supermarket. I want you. But I know I shouldn’t have you YET again…right?
Argh, it was always so hard and inevitably I’d lose the battle. If not that hour or day, then it was the next. I’d slink into a shop and guiltily put you in my shopping cart, pretending that no one noticed how often I’d bought you that week already.
But… time apart has done wonders for me. Those cravings? They’re gone. GONE. That awful slippery-dip of desire vanished right alongside your daily presence. Gone, gone, gone.
Have to say, I didn’t miss you at all. Surprising but true.
Then, around Easter someone gave me a present: a Lindt bunny with its gold wrapping and tiny little bow around it’s neck. Oh, Chocolate! You brazen hussy!
Even my naturopath (who generally isn’t a fan of yours either) had said – well, Easter is different. She gave me permission to indulge in you and so I thought… okay. Just this once. Yeah, perhaps we can at least be friends. Or acquaintances.
I was in for a shock, though. For when I peeled back the wrapping and bit in to what USED to be a mouth-watering treat. I found that… well, now you taste oddly bitter and leave a funny burnt flavour on my tongue.
Sugar. Chocolate. I’ve come to my senses and now I get it. You guys. You’re just TOO MUCH. What’s more, you’re a drug.
You’re the sort of drug that hides your wickedness behind a cloud of saccharine love. You spin a web of beautiful crystalline lies, making promises you can’t ever keep.
More than that: you flat out misdirect everyone who’s attracted to your wiles.
But here’s the truth: spending too much time with you can cause illness. Weight gain. Poor self-esteem (on account of the former and the latter).
And the whole addiction/co-dependency thing you’ve got going on with me and every other sucker out there? Kind of yucky when you take a proper look at it.
So anyway, I just wanted you to know that I know. You don’t have any power over me anymore. My thraldom has passed and I won’t ever let it happen again.
Sorry Chocolate, Sugar. You and me? We’re done. This time its for real.