Working Through Addictions

Chocolate Addiction

I come from a long line of addicts. Alcohol flowed strong down one branch of my family tree so I’ve known enough not to walk that path. Instead, my two main addictions are news and food.

Yes, I am addicted to the news. I blame my 5th-grade teacher and the Scud Stud as this all got started when I was in charge of international news for our in-class news report the week Americans really got involved with the Gulf War. (Yes, I am that old.) This is hard to imagine these days, but then the breaking news song on NBC was so gut-wrenching because it so rarely played. That week it played every night as the war was all that was on tv. My mom was glued to it, so slowly I became so, too.

When September 11th happened, I couldn’t stop digging for more news. Same with Hurricane Katrina. Then came the Trump presidency when there was breaking news every three hours. Unfortunately, I’ve been tapping that straight into my veins for over 50 months at this point. That hit I got from checking NPR, Twitter, or news on Facebook gave me a twelve-second jolt of fulfillment via the new knowledge. (No, I won’t say happiness. I know enough to realize these news stories are news because someone is hurt or hurting. That’s a whole psychoanalytical post for another day.) Say what you want about the new administration, but at the very least, it should be less breath-taking. Fingers crossed this is a time to heal this addiction.

Part two of my addiction is food. I live and breathe food. I used to love grocery shopping before COVID and would lose minutes in the store. I need to have something baked in my house (usually by me) at all times. I meal plan to feel organized and hide in the kitchen when I need to unwind from a long day. I associate time with friends and families with good meals and bonus desserts. If I tell myself I shouldn’t eat that chocolate, I can literally think of nothing else until I do. And, not to state the obvious, but I own a food business.

Here’s the problem (well, besides the obvious ones) – we need news and food to live. Do we need as much as I ingest? No, of course not. But I still get my work done and I’m relatively healthy physically. Neither of these addictions is really hurting me yet. Also, going cold turkey on either wouldn’t be good for my health (or feasible.) So how do I address these addictions? And also when I’m dealing with bigger issues like running a business through a pandemic or re-wiring my head in regards to race who really cares about fixing nit-picky issues??

Step one is admitting you have a problem, so here I am. I can’t quit you, CNN and brownies!

Step two is (I guess) finding healthy substitutions.

Remember how our parents used to watch the local news at night and maybe read a paper and that was enough news for their day? My goal is to get to a couple of newsletters straight to my inbox and enjoy five-minute breaks on reputable news sites throughout the day in an effort to be like that.

Which is great, but that leaves me with more free time. When I have free time, I think about food. AH!

Food would be easy to fix if my heart wanted to change. I know what a healthy snack is, i.e. nothing like a chocolate chip cookie. Wah wah. Instead of making all the hard-boiled eggs and apple slices I can, I’m going to chip away at this problem in a different fashion. I’m not ready to give up on my treats, but I can handle more vegetables on my plate. That’s where I’m going to start-add more healthy ingredients before (or as) I get rid of the unhealthy.

I share all this not just to ramble, but to put it out there that we’re all dealing with our own thing. It might be a big thing or a small thing, but we’ve got all got (at least) one. The more we can be open and supportive of each other, the better. If you don’t have a loved one to turn to when walking through your thing, know that I’m here for you. In the words of my favorite Peloton (yes, this is also becoming an addiction, but so far a healthy one) instructor, Jess Sims, “together we go far.” Yes, we still need to do work on the big cultural issues, but that doesn’t mean our own health needs to suffer.

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