On July 6, 2022

Craving, part 2

An easier word to swallow

By Sandra Dee Owens

Years ago, while contemplating the things I found impossible to resist, I looked up the word addiction.

According to Merriam-Webster addiction is “a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.”

What a grown-up word!

It seemed I would need a degree or two to understand this complex illness. So instead, I considered a word that was easier to swallow—”craving.”

According to Merriam-Webster craving is “an intense, urgent, or abnormal (unusual in an unwelcome or problematic way) desire or longing.”

I could grapple with this.

For each of the items on my irresistables list: Pop-Tarts, Snickers, and a 5-year love affair with dirty vodka martinis. “Craving” was an ever-present gremlin. I craved chocolate, sugar, fat, salt, and the delicious, full-body tingle of alcohol.


Blessedly, the Pop-Tart craving disappeared once I admitted I had a problem with it. I can now walk by the bright, sugary boxes and the craving is gone. I am proudly six years Pop-Tart sober.

While my vices may not meet the traditional standard of addiction, I desire to live free of anything that sinks its talons in me. I value freedom above all.

Simple is not the same as easy

Knowing my chocolate craving was nearly as old as I was, I sensed the Snickers bars (and other chocolates) might be the toughest craving to dislodge. So I turned my attention to the martinis and took stock of what I knew about them.

I knew that:

  • Martinis interrupted my sleep.
  • Martinis gave me a headache, a cobwebby mind, a dippy tummy, and a poisoned tongue feeling the next day.
  • Martinis were an expensive habit.

I felt embarrassed (early childhood religious training?) going into a liquor store.

Alcohol made my husband and me argue (we were scrappy enough without it).

I found it nearly impossible to stop at one drink—no matter how deep my resolve was to do so.

I was a grandmother and did not want to set a bad example for my children and grandchildren.

I was buying martini “fixings” weekly as though they were a grocery.

Is alcohol a grocery?

With my list of martini knowings, I was able to identify a path forward. I knew what I needed to do.

I needed to stop buying martini fixings as though they were a grocery—and bringing them home. I imagined my door sill as a line in the sand. A line I no longer wanted this unhealthy habit to cross. Alcohol needed to get out—and stay out, like an unwelcome guest. I was careful to avoid telling myself I would never drink alcohol again. Why? Because I knew that if I loaded unrealistic expectations on myself, I could easily get derailed by discouragement.

So instead, I shifted my relationship with alcohol from in here—to out there.

I stopped buying it like a grocery and switched it to a treat to enjoy at an occasional dinner out. This did not address the craving, but it did address the daily habit. And that was worth a lot. Even though I was not an alcoholic or even a big drinker by most standards, it still took one year for the martini craving to go away. For one whole year, whenever I drove past a liquor store, I felt it. This both shocked me and deepened my resolve to be free of this powerful gremlin.

Having discovered that some cravings are stronger than others, and each has a unique personality, I treat them accordingly.

Blessing in a curse

Luckily for me, alcohol makes me really sick. I suffer a significant hangover from even a small amount. Reluctantly, I view this as a huge gift.

Why? Because I have pisspoor willpower for my irresistibles.

The other big helper? I write and speak openly about this gremlin. Since I believe the devil grows in the dark and diminishes in the light, this gives it no place to hide.

Rather than a mindset of battle, defeat, and conquer, I am extracting the gremlin’s talons from my flesh—one good choice, back-slapping, atta girl moment at a time.

To learn more visit: sandradeeowens.com.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

How severe flooding impacts aquatic life

June 12, 2024
By Michael J. Caduto July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded worldwide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rising temperatures associated with climate change have dramatically increased atmospheric moisture, causing more frequent and severe storms. During the Great Vermont Flood of July 10-11, 2023, at peak flow more than 4 billion gallons…

Green Mountain Tales: A summer storm

June 12, 2024
I watch the lightning illuminate the night sky, a brief trick to daylight. I jump at a loud clap of thunder. The water runs off the windows in little rivers. I see the mud rush under the tires. The rain sounds like it will break through the roof at any minute. Just as soon as…

Power isn’t a dirty word

June 12, 2024
There’s a certain kind of power in recalcitrance. It’s not so much about being stubborn. Rather, it’s more about defiant, yet righteous, disobedience. A refusal to co-operate. To not bend nor stretch to others’ ideas and opinions or what they want from you. And when I say “power,” c’mon, it’s 2024! Surely you’re not equating…

Building a stronger Killington-Rutland community:Essential nonprofits tackle tough issues

June 12, 2024
Vermont’s vibrant spirit thrives on a network of over 7,000 nonprofits; some 1,500 of them in the Killington-Rutland region alone. Considering that number, it’s not surprising that some of these organizations prompt the question: “Why does that nonprofit exist?” Yet, the ones that tackle tough issues and enrich lives spark admiring comments, like “Imagine how…