I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. During my trick or treat years, in the early 60’s, the city celebrated Halloween eve and Halloween night. Oh yeah! A dream come true for this little food addict…at least back then.
And now…Halloween is just about upon us again. Can you believe it? Where has the time gone?
Halloween as a Kid
When I was a kid I lived for Halloween. To me it meant candy heaven. Back in the day we trick or treated on the eve and the day of Halloween which meant two overloaded pillow cases filled with candy. I was already addicted as a wee child but had no idea. My candy was gone within hours and then I was begging for my sibling’s who soon forgot they had candy, which of course was an invite for me to steal theirs. And the sad part is they didn’t notice. They were not addicted.
I recall filling two pillow cases worth of candies one for each night and going into a total sugar coma with no monitoring. My sister Debbie and I were roommates and bedmates so after the big event each night we’d sit on the floor and trade goods. I wanted chocolate or anything sugary and she wanted the gums, pretzels, apples and dark licorice. My stash was gobbled up in days where Debbie’s lasted to the point it became stale unless I snuck into hers when mine was gone…desperate for a little “fix”.
It was a long time ago but memories still linger.
Halloween as a Mother
When my son Benjamin went out trick or treating I was the mom (the only mom!) who took a troop of kids out and kindly held their too heavy bags sneaking a bite at every stop without anyone catching me.
I stole then too. Yes, I stole from an innocent little child —my child—after he was fast asleep. I recall sitting on the floor with him sorting his stash with a good and bad pile. Bad meant it looked harmful or wasn’t appropriate for him to eat. Okay…I hold my head low … I put the “bad” pile neatly in a bag only to retrieve later for me. Hey…addicts do stuff like that.
Halloween Now…in Recovery
I look forward to this coming Halloween weekend with a totally different outlook. I’m clean of sugar, flour, and wheat for nearly two decades…so relieved I will not get into the candies the costumed kidlets collect when they come knocking on our door. Not interested. Once I stopped eating the candy/flour drug ALL the cravings went away and my weight returned to normal.
Okay, I didn’t just quit eating the stuff. No. I went from binge eating to a course of ups and downs …on and off…trial and error just like any other addict. I treat all addictions in my practice and I have to tell you we are all pretty much the same. When I’m listening to a cocaine addict I think just replace it with sugar and we are one and the same. Now it’s hard for the drug addict to believe me when I say that. There thought is, “Oh come on…you mean to tell me your can’t handle a twinkie!”….while they are fighting the white line. Yep…all the same. One can not judge the suffering of the other.
All addicts need to abstain. Stop. But how do you do that? It’s a process for sure. First, get to a twelve-step meeting and hang around with like minds. Next, find a Divine Source to your understanding and cling tight. Now, seek a psychotherapist or psychologist but make sure they are addiction specialized. And then get ready for the roller coaster of emotions starting with the honey moon stage.
Honeymoon stage is when you are so giddy happy. Weight is coming off if needed or its correcting or stabilizing or increasing depending on your case. And it is a high of another source. But after the high wears off you are dealing with emotions at the gut level…maybe even depressed or anxious or both. Once you power through that…and this can take months or even years depending on you and your core character….then comes the acceptance, the connecting with that higher energy and the world is right. Now this is not to say you won’t have down days or little snippets of temptations because you most certainly will. But…it won’t take you down…just check the HALTS.
- Are you Hungry — Make sure to eat every four to five hours. Refueling is necessary to keep from low blood sugar…or crazy food jonesing.
- Are you Angry— What are you feeling?
- Are you mad at something or someone but don’t know how to address it so you stuff your mood down with food.
- Are you Lonely— Perhaps you are feeling all alone. Did you know you can be in a room full of people and be alone or be alone and feel fabulously filled with good energy?
- Are you Tired— How much sleep have you had. We need at least 6.5 hours of sleep… 7 to 8 is better of course.
- Are you Stressed— Are you so wound up your teeth are clenched, body tense beyond recognition?
So…food addiction is real…and Halloween is too. What are your plans? Are you afraid of the ghost in the night? Are you afraid of the candies you have in your home. I don’t serve candy anymore. Some years I give change while others a bag of nuts or raisins. The kids usually look bummed…which most likely explains why our treaters are dwindling. They probably think like I did when I was a kid, “I’m skipping that lady’s house…she doesn’t have any good stuff!”….
Do you have Halloween memories?
Let me know what you’re thinking?
Hugs to you. I care!
My book, Release Your Obsession with Food is now available…check it out!