Absence Is A Relief

The past 2 days I have struggled with a certain food sitting in our pantry. My first mistake was allowing an afternoon to hit when there was absolutely nothing in the house I could or would eat, having reached the tipping point with tuna. And then, for some reason not having the initiative to get out of the house to go buy groceries. The third mistake was allowing myself to eat a protein bar. I read the label 4 times, duly noting the high protein content and also that it contained cane sugar, beet sugar, oats – all of which drive up my sugar cravings. Three times I put the bar back into its box. The fourth time I savored every bite. Then counting up my calories, I ate another one. Yesterday I did the same thing – 2 bars, staying within my calories but now totally off my no sugar/grains and processed foods. My cravings were back. This morning I am disgusted by my behavior (not with me) and the physical sensation that I felt afterward, but those damn bars sit there. For months I had ignored them. The absence of sugar desire, lust, cravings had been such a relief for so long.

Last night I sat quietly in our living area after reading and abruptly noted a total absence of pain in my chest (post-mastectomy pain). I was afraid to move, to change my breathing, fearful the magic would be gone, or that I was dreaming. The relief was so enormous that I fell asleep for 3 hours in the early evening – sleeping without discomfort for the first time in over 2 months, sleep that I had never obtained with pain medications.

This morning as I try to sort through what caused my brief sugar attack and the wondrous bout of pain relief, I realize how the absence of symptoms or negative emotions (cravings, pain, grief, loneliness, fear) can be as uplifting as the feelings of self-control, joy, love, peace. Not that I want to establish a sense of nothingness – not at all! I am just reflecting on how the easing of any type of prolonged distress can be so soothing.

I will not let myself get into a situation where those protein bars call to me and am confident that I can regain my no added sugar diet immediately. Getting that no-pain thingy though – quite the mystery.

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