Parent’s Corner

Hello, my name is Dorothy and I’m a sugar addict. Like many addicts I was first introduced to my drug of choice by a family member. I use sugar in celebration and medicate with it when I’m stressed out or sad. Actually, I take sugar for any reason and at any time. My sugar of choice is dark chocolate and cookies but when those substances aren’t available, I’ll switch to any other kind of sugar. I keep telling myself that I need to quit, that I will quit on Monday or next week, or for a wedding or a trip but each time, I find I am powerless to resist my addiction. I know that sugar abuse leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and helps certain cancers grow yet I still can’t walk away from it. Knowing that those diseases can devastate the quality of my life and may even lead to my demise doesn’t scare me enough to quit.

Every time I use sugar, a small amount of dopamine is released into my system giving me a small sugar high which makes me crave more. Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by sugar and everyday I struggle with my addiction. It is impossible to just say “NO”, or take just one bite. I feel so ashamed of myself that sometimes I’ll say “no” in public only to run home and use in secret. I have even stolen cookies from my family and lied about it. That behavior just leads to more guilt and shame. So I eat more sugar as a way of medicating those feelings away and thus the cycle of use and abuse catches me. There is no way off this insane treadmill.

The world treats and judges my addiction to sugar differently than that of others suffering addictions. Whether the substance is legal or not, addiction is a disease. When I used to think about drug addicts, I had images of of violent, desperate gang members in my head. I thought they were people without the love and support of caring parents, people living in zip codes where hopelessness prevails, and people I only saw on the news or in the movies. The notion that my loving, respectful, sweet son could be suffering from drug addiction was a slow and painful process of realization. He was very ashamed of admitting his vulnerability to us and kept it well hidden until it became too obvious to overlook. Once in rehab, I was equally shocked to see there were too many other young, intelligent, kind-hearted, affluent people of all ages lost in a cycle of addiction, detox, rehab and re-addiction.

When I dropped my 24 year old son off at rehab, I told him that if he could kick opiates then I could kick sugar. Sadly, I didn’t last 3 days. I was so ashamed of myself. Once he was released and I knew he would be coming over I would hide my stash of sugar from him because I didn’t want him to see that I had failed him and myself. I mistakenly thought that now that he was clean, he would or could abstain from drugs forever. I was wrong. Although he abstained from drug abuse for almost 90 days, on April 27th, 2019 my beautiful child overdosed from snorting heroin laced with a lethal amount of fentanyl.

Addiction was always a disease that I felt insulated from even though I myself am an addict. While it may be too late for my son, I am now determined to keep my promise and I have not touched sugar since his death. Can you kick your habit or help someone with a similar disease? Contact me for a conversation. dgsmall@me.com