Do you have an Inner Cookie Monster? Did you ever wondered what was at the root of your cravings for sugar? Sugar addiction is widespread in the Western world and leads to a number of health problems, a few of which are obesity, diabetes, heart disease. People in recovery from alcohol abuse or opiate addiction are ripe for sugar addiction. Sugar stimulates the same receptors in the brain as alcohol and opiates. Our Inner Sugar Monster is an addict as sure as we are when we are imbibing or using.
When I detoxed from prescribed long-term use of the opiate fentanyl, I felt quite soothed and quieted in my body when I ate something with sugar in it. In fact, candy and sugary foods were readily available on the campus where I went to treatment both in the cafeteria and the gift shop. People from the kitchen brought trays of cookies to our dorms for Saturday evening treats. Not realizing that I had just traded one addiction for another when I put down the drugs and took up sugar with gusto, I left treatment just spinning with sugar addiction.
Fortunately, I knew someone who could help me with a powerful enhanced EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique/Tapping routine. It took six rounds of tapping, but we were able to harness my wild Inner Cookie Monster. My cravings went from a fevered pitch to a dull awareness. I was able to keep my sugar intake in check, yet cravings resurfaced from time to time.
I used a few different simple yet potent breathing techniques to help keep myself calm when the sugar cravings set in. I learned the Bilateral EFT/Tapping routine so that I could use it on myself when the cravings hit. It helped to quell the cravings in the moment and to retrain my nervous system to be less reactive to the triggers to these cravings. The cravings were less intense, did not last as long, and the span of time between triggering episodes lengthened.
Yet my cravings kept showing up. I wondered what was at the root of my sugar addiction. Was there something unconsciously at work holding this insidious addiction in place? I got a glimpse of what was at play in the underbelly of my Inner Cookie Monster one day near Christmas holiday. I share with you here a piece of my journal at the time:
“Well now I’ve gone and done it. After nine months of keeping my hands off of sugar-laden cookies, cakes, and the endless donuts that greet me every Saturday morning at the local NA meeting I attend – I walked out of my office into our kitchen here at home and was warmly welcomed by the alluring smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. A friend was cooking his usual massive batch for the holiday. Well, I lost it in that moment when I walked into the kitchen. I allowed my senses to be overwhelmed by the smell of yumminess and all the past soothing it represented to me…and made a beeline to the wax paper where the freshly baked cookies lay. Then I promptly scarfed up a cookie and all my days of “breaking up with sugar”, well, clearly they were over.”
I had relapsed. I took a few deep, loving breaths and began anew on my quest to tame my Inner Cookie Monster. I realized in that moment how closely self-soothing behavior was linked to sugar intake for me.
I ventured further into the underpinnings of my sugar addiction. The Ancestral Clearing process is a perfect fit for getting to the root of a problem like an active Inner Cookie Monster. The process is experiential, yet I will do my best to explain how I used it in this case.
We hold our issues in the body. The Ancestral Clearing process uses this to point to where the issue is living in the body. In this instance, when I thought about my sugar cravings, I felt them in my solar plexus and chest area near my heart. We ask a series of pointed questions about where we feel the issue and what it feels like. We also bring in the power of our Higher Power to help us. A trained Ancestral Clearing practitioner, which I am, can then work the process to uncover the root of what is driving this behavior.
By working the Ancestral Clearing process, I discovered how deeply my sugar cravings were connected to wanting love and seeming to fulfill me when I felt love lacking in my life. I craved sugar the most when I felt abandoned in any way or disconnected from the Divine. It turns out that the culture I grew up in used sugar as a reward. I was given sugar when I came out of the doctor or dentist’s office. It came in a beautiful birthday cake, or glazed donuts every Sunday morning as part of our family gathering ritual. Sugar was linked so tightly in my brain as a reward for just about everything – when I felt sad, when I felt hungry, when I felt joyous, when I felt rejected, when I lost hope, when I had a sweet creative moment, or won an event. With programming like that, no wonder it took all the tools I could bring to bear to help heal its destructive ways.
Through the Ancestral Clearing process, I did a lot of forgiveness work around the frustrations I and my ancestors had about being given sugar instead of straight up human bonding love. I forgave for times of abandonment and times of being shunned. I forgave for many issues that were all wrapped up inside me as the result of unresolved traumas and troubles of the past.
As I worked the Ancestral Clearing process, my sugar addiction began to recede even further into less and less frequent appearances. When my Inner Cookie Monster did show up, it was much easier for me to use one of the many tools at my disposal – conscious breathing, staying present, Bilateral EFT/Tapping, further forgiveness work, and listening within to hear what these cravings were saying on a level deeper than “I want it now”.
Today I work with other recovering souls who have challenges with their Inner Cookie Monster. I teach them the Bilateral EFT/Tapping and take them through the Ancestral Clearing process. I was working with a gentleman the other day around his sugar addiction. He had 16 years sober from alcohol yet was plagued by sugar cravings and expressed that he was at his wits end. Towards the end of our work together, the process revealed that he and his ancestry had a lingering resentment with his mother. This was a key piece to address. It not only helped resolve relationships between mothers and sons in the lineage. It also helped to resolve resentments between wives and husbands and sisters and brothers in the lineage. So, the roots to his sugar addiction was deeper than the substance. It was about the problem that sugar was attempting to solve, in this case discord between mothers and sons, and between men and women. We did forgiveness work around these issues and his sugar cravings went almost to neutral.
We can build up resentments around those things that surround and hold our sugar addict in place. We may not even be conscious that we have those resentments. However, the body keeps score. When we access these unresolved phenomena stored in the body and allow them to release, we do deep healing work.
We come by sugar addictions honestly as we are growing up, not realizing the damage it is doing to us. We likely have cravings that originate way back in our family line. Yet we do not have to give our power away to our cravings. We can heal them. Yes, sugar is addictive and hijacks our biology. We can retrain the nervous system to lose its want for sugar by using simple yet profound non-pharmaceutical methods. We just need to make sure to get to the root of what the sugar means to us and heal that, whatever it may be.