February 4, 2002
The Last Addiction

The craving never goes away completely.

As much as I may like to pretend otherwise, the longing is always there ... ticking quietly just beneath the surface, like a first trimester heartbeat. 

I manage to keep it at bay most of the time. I remind myself how much better I feel without it. I encourage myself to remember all the times I've paid the price for overindulgence. I tell myself what a good example I'm setting for my children/my friends/my readers. I chant my mantra:

It makes me sick.
It makes me fat.
It makes me broke.
If I get hooked again,
it will make me dead.
Plus the longer I manage to avoid it -- the more time and distance I put between today and the last big blow-out -- the stronger my resolve becomes.

Still, there are always triggers. It doesn't take much to get me thinking about it. Emotional highs will do it. So will emotional lows. Bad days at work. Good days at work. Mediocre days at work. Weather. Cramps. Traffic.

Then there are the special occasions: New Year's Eve. The Fourth of July. My birthday. Hallowe'en. Cinco de Mayo. Thursdays.

And -- the mother of all *event triggers* -- The Super Bowl.

In the days and weeks immediately preceding The Super Bowl, it's impossible for me NOT to think about it. The advertisements are everywhere: on TV, on the radio, in the Sunday newspaper supplements, on billboards ... even plastered on the sides of the #52 as it trundles down Broadway.  I swear I can smell it in the air as we're on our way home in the evenings. In recent years, it has become as much a part of the culture and the celebration of The Super Bowl as feeble half-time shows and lip-synched renditions of The Star Spangled Banner.

This year the craving has been especially keen and persistent. "If you think it will help," David says gently, "we'll stop and get you a little bit. You can have it just this once, and then we'll put you right back on the wagon afterwards."

For a minute I'm tempted. What could it hurt? But ultimately I know I must resist. If I seriously thought I could be happy with "just a little bit"  --  of ANYTHING I've ever been addicted to in my lifetime, from cheap chablis to nasal spray to "country" decorating magazines  --  then we could probably go back and rewrite about forty-four years' worth of personal history, right here and now. But I know enough about myself, and about the nature of addiction, to know that once I start down this path again there may not be any turning back this time. 

So I say "No thank you, Honey" ... and I grimly help myself to another piece of skinless broiled chicken.

KFC Honey BBQ Wings: the last unresolved addiction.

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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

p.s. actually, i didn't think that this year's
halftime show was *feeble* at all.
[the star spangled banner, on the other hand ... ]