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So this is day number… (pausing to count on fingers) seven, I think? One week without sugar. Huh. For the most part, going without hasn’t been too bad so far. Yesterday was the toughest day. My Birchbox came, and inside of it along with the bevy of hair and makeup samples was a full-sized Ghiradelli chocolate bar. Really, Birchbox? And how, I might ask, is this particular product going to make me more beautiful? Yeah. So Chris grabbed it while I was checking out the rest of my samples, ate some, gave some to Avery, then asked me if I wanted any. “Yes” I said, and then as I was reaching for it realized what I was doing and yelled “NO!” and backed away rapidly. Embarrassingly rapidly, as if he’d been handing me a tarantula instead of a chocolate bar. He didn’t laugh; he’s good like that. It wasn’t Chris’ fault. Offering me the chocolate that came from my own sample box was a logical, autopilot response. Right now I’m just choosing to abstain.

I notice I’ve been less hungry, overall. Not necessarily at meals, where portion control remains something of a struggle, but in between I’m not perpetually looking for something to munch on. When I am hungry I’m drinking Coke Zero with lime (actual limes I squeeze in, not the chemical version thereof), or mint tea, or sucking on sugar free vanilla mints. Basically, whatever works. It’s not like my clothes are suddenly loose, but I feel a little less like I’m spiraling out of control, at least in this one area. Still no headaches, which is good. I’m assuming I’m over the hump, there. It’s also possible my moods are slightly less erratic, but I’m reserving judgment.

Right now, I’m just taking things slowly and seeing how they go. Ultimately, I’d like to see sugar as a “sometimes food,” assuming I can manage that. We’ll see. I’m feeling fairly calm about it, save for the near-miss with the chocolate bar yesterday. If I’m not eating it, I’m not craving it… see, positive cycles can exist! I’m definitely using the Coke Zero and lime as some kind of substitute… limes are my new obsession. Chris even bought me a lime squeezer, but I prefer to squeeze them by hand so I get some bits of the fruit along with the juice. Starting to wish I had a lime tree, even. I certainly won’t be getting scurvy anytime soon!

I’m trying very hard to focus on controlling the things I can, namely me. I can’t control that Chris hasn’t found work, and I can’t control the knowledge that Christmas being right around the corner decreases the likelihood that will happen anytime soon. (No one hires before the holidays.) I can’t control the collection agency phone calls, or the sick feeling I get in my stomach every time I let one go to voicemail. I pray a lot. I try to encourage Chris. I keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that I am doing the very best I can with the situation that exists in front of me, today. I try to focus on what I do have, in spite of everything: Two gorgeous, healthy children. A husband I am still very much in love with after 12 years of marriage, and who loves me when I can’t quite love myself. A roof over my head. A family who loves us unconditionally. Friends who listen to me bitch and scream and cry, and are willing to listen all over again no matter how often I’ve done it. Bottom line, I have a lot to be grateful for. Recognizing that varies day to day, but on the days when I am capable I try to do this – to write it all down – so that on the dark days I’ll be able to find at least a glimmer of light.

Lastly, I am grateful I have this, that I can write. I hope someday that gift takes me where I want to go, but in the meantime it helps me lighten a little of the load. I hope in the process it brings something to someone else as well. When I feel so awful that the only thing I can see is my own pain, when my outlook is turned decidedly inward, the best way through it is to give something – anything – to someone else. Here’s to giving, and to gratitude. They both provide huge returns.