Sugar Addiction In Recovery

After we get clean and sober, many of us discover that we are still addicted to sugar: in our coffee, in our snacks, in our desserts and elsewhere. Sugar addiction is common, in and out of recovery. Our bodies have a natural attraction to sweet things. We need sugars and other carbohydrates in our diets, and we are pre-programmed to like them because they are good for us (in the right quantities). They are easily burned by the body for energy. In fact, every cell in our bodies is fueled by glucose, a form of sugar.

9 thoughts on “Sugar Addiction In Recovery

  1. Bill Post author

    Hi Jamie Lee,

    Sugar addiction is a problem for the great majority of people in the Western World. Sweet sells, and anyone who has illusions about the concerns for our health of the food industry as a whole (there are exceptions) is waaaaay up that river of denial.

    Personally, I cast that aspersion at the diet industry as well. There are well-established diet guidelines that have been refined for generations and are free for the asking, and yet most people who are concerned about it at all continue to look for the easy fix instead of following them. It’s rather like my search for spirituality in recovery, where I fumbled around with all sorts of New Age gobbledygook for several years before actually taking a look and and finally adopting a philosophy that was 2600 years old. Look at the old “tried and true?” Not me!

    I’m afraid I feel the same about the paleo diet in its various incarnations. I used to be a big fan, having majored in anthropology and all that hunter-gatherer stuff, and there’s no getting around the fact that it’s better for you than fast food — or the average American diet generally. However, recent reading in nutrition research has convinced me that the best course is a well-balanced diet, heavy on fruits and veggies, light on meat (especially red meat), avoiding excessive fats and using the “good” oils, and generally moderating the glycemic load. The paleo diets are based on the idea that human digestive systems and our bodies in general haven’t evolved over the 500 generations since the dawn of agriculture, and I find that exceedingly difficult to believe since we did a great job prior to that period. Hence, I stick with the opinions of the majority of experts. That, however, is only my opinion. I have no desire to change your plans.

    Thanks for your comment, and

    Keep on keepin’ on!



  2. Jamie Lee

    I have definitely had a sugar problem in recovery. I would say for a while sugar was a replacement addiction for me. Even at almost 4 years clean it can still be a struggle. It is difficult, sugar in in practically everything, but since giving up processed foods and really watching what I am eating I am feeling much better and it’s a lot easier to pass up the sugar when it’s offered. I am moving toward a more paleo diet as well and have been feeling great about my progress but can’t imagine making that shift in early recovery. Great blog, glad to find you!


  3. whatmesober

    Sugar, fortunately, is an acquired taste that can be un-acquired — although with difficulty for some. Folks in early recovery use it to treat the hypoglycemic episodes that used to be brought on by alcohol consumption. Peanut butter and crackers is a far better choice, but just about anything’s better than drinking.


  4. Alex Polishchuk

    Oh yes, a friend of mine, when he gave up drinking (unfortunately, not for good), ate sugar nothing less than by tablespoonfuls. But, as for me (and I liked sugar very much when I was a child), when I drank hard (now I am teetotaller), I ceased to like sweets. I didn’t like them when I just stopped drinking, either. Only in a couple of years my sweet tooth partly returned to me. Maybe, pleasure given by sugar had been replaced by pleasure given by alcohol, I don’t know.


  5. Bill Post author

    Although I can’t agree with the idea of restrictive diets in early recovery, at a time when the body needs a full range of nutrition, I’m glad things are working out for you.

    Alcohol, BTW, is not a sugar and does not metabolize into sugar. Be careful where you get your information. Some of the things that sound good on someone’s website don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny very well.

    Let us know how things go, and

    Keep on keepin’ on!



  6. 1sobermama

    Recently sober, I also took on eating a paleo diet. I have never felt better. No sugar, no grains that act like sugar, and NO alcohol – the super-sugar. I get very few carbs, but what i do get is from fruit. I’ve only been doing this 3 weeks, but for me, it’s the way to go. And actually really easy. The eating part, not the sober part. Although, that’s getting better too. Just thought I’d share :)


  7. Heather Goin

    In early sobriety, I found myself eating mass quantities of candy bars, soda, and snacks. However, it did eventually taper off. I started putting fruit and veggies back in my diet, where alcohol had replaced them. Sometimes, I still find myself reaching for a 3 Musketeer, however, I am not eating 3-5 at a time. I find that learning how to eat was one of the hardest paths to recovery. I drank my meals more often than ate them. I found that I had to actually learn to eat again.

    I really enjoy reading this blog, I am soo thankful I found it.
    God Bless
    Heather (148 days of the new “me”)…


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