Don’t Trade One Addiction for Another (Sugar Sober Series)


October 17, 2014 by Beth Hess

I used to be a coupon clipper.

No, not clipper. Sorter and hoarder. I bought two Sunday papers to get an extra set. The Raleigh paper that was only sold at Barnes and Noble; not the Fayetteville one sold everywhere. The local coupon section was smaller.

I even subscribed to a service that would match weekly specials to the coupons, so I could get items for nearly nothing. Sometimes free.

That list posted online at midnight each Saturday. I sometimes stayed up late, or got up early, to see it. To discover what deals I would be getting this week.


I used to be a Pampered Chef consultant. It helped supplement our income — and build our kitchen — when we were newly married.

I studied every description of every product. Nearly memorized every recipe. Managed to insert something about the company or its products into conversations having nothing to do with cooking.

More than 10 years later, I think I can still recite the warranty terms on most items. (Stoneware is 3 years, FYI.)


I used to exercise religiously. When I worked from home and the gym offered childcare services, it was the perfect way to start my mornings. I followed the couch to 5K jogging program. Rarely missed a Wednesday kick-boxing class.

I kept a journal of my activity and regularly checked it throughout the day, even though I already knew the numbers. I measured and weighed myself often. Including the decimal points.


Yes. I have an obsessive personality.

I can be quickly hooked on a new habit. And fall deeply in no time at all.

I am an addict, after all.

I have given food control over me by consuming more of it than I should. But I also have given food control by restricting it. Studying it. Measuring it. Calorie-counting it. Journaling it. Weighing it. Juicing it…

I have taken the energy and brain power once dedicated to sugar and handed it over to exercise. To kitchen products. To coupons.

So I am careful, this time around, while I am pursing full freedom from the power of food over me, not to just fill my needs with something else.

Not even something “healthy.” Not even this blog. Not even you, my dear and precious friends.

No, I do not want to trade one addiction for another.

I’d rather press into the kind of trading the Scriptures promise.

“I will turn their mourning into gladness;
    I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
    and my people will be filled with my bounty,”

declares the Lord.  (Jeremiah 31:13-14)


sugarsoberoctoberIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.

15 thoughts on “Don’t Trade One Addiction for Another (Sugar Sober Series)

  1. […] naturally, I loved my husband with food as well. Loving him this way nearly killed him. Day 17: Don’t Trade One Addiction for Another: So I am careful, this time around, while I am pursing full freedom from the power of food over me, […]


  2. The Momma says:

    This is such an excellent point and one I have long observed in myself. Like the commenter above, I’ve done the whole give up chocolate/caffeine/alcohol for Lent thing and then wound up just filling the void with something else. I was confessing this to my spiritual director (the beloved priest who married my husband and I) and he suggested that since Lent is a time to “clean house” spiritually speaking in order to prepare our hearts for Easter, that it might be a good idea to think about not just giving up something, but taking on some kind of spiritual discipline as well to sort of fill in the space left from what I’ve given up. He even suggested rather than giving something up, to instead focus on adding a particular spiritual discipline to my life or work on a particular virtue (as opposed to giving up a vice). It gave me lots of food for thought and I wound up doing exactly what he said. I found it to be one of the more spiritually fulfilling Lenten seasons I have ever had. Since then, I have tried to at the very least, commit to some spiritual discipline like daily reading of Scripture, praying the rosary daily, committing to a weekly Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, etc. It’s not easy, but then, the things in life that are worth pursuing are often very hard indeed.


    • Beth Hess says:

      I LOVE that concept of filling with something positive. We do tend to seek a filler, and what could be better than Jesus!?! After all, He’s the only thing that can clean and both empty and fill for my good at the same time. Thank you for adding your experiences to this discussion.


  3. Leah says:

    Wise. So so wise. And aware. I was curious where you were going with the coupon-matchups thing, because I use coupons that way too. Except I stressed over it. I’m not sure if it’s the same thing. Funny how you were on the 5th before me on the 5 comment thread on fb! I would have read this eventually anyways! 🙂 keep it up! You’re doing great!


  4. ambercadenas says:

    How true this is, the ease with which we (not only addicts, but all of us) can trade one filler for another. I remember giving “sweets” up for Lent several years ago. For most of that season, it was so hard not to swap some other snack for the sweets – not in hunger, but in mere replacement. I felt empty, and I wanted to fill it with something as close in kind as I possible. But as you’ve been writing here, the real transformation – of heart, of body, of mind, of habit – takes time; takes one little choice on top of another; and the payoff is truly the sweetest, if we’re willing to wait for it to do its work in us.


  5. Romi says:

    I tend to be hooked on a new hobby or habit soon, too.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts.

    (I’ve come from ’31 Days’.)


  6. Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck in whatever goals you set forth for yourself!


  7. Sharon says:

    There’s an old saying that “nature abhors a vacuum.” I thought of that as I was reading your post. I think human nature is that way, too. We don’t want an *empty* heart, so it’s easy to fill it up with one thing after another. It’s such a temptation to replace one addiction, as you put it, with another. God knows this. I believe it’s why He always counsels us to guard our hearts. He wants to be first place, and wants to fill us up with Himself. After all, our cup should only “runneth over” with HIM!!



    • Beth Hess says:

      Amen, Sharon! I do truly desire to be filled with God’s presence, but it’s so easy to get caught up with the other stuff. You are right, that it is a continuous guarding of our hearts.


  8. Cheryl Smith says:

    This is such a good point, Beth. I can so relate to so much of what you are experiencing on this journey. I have often thought of how much better off I would be if I would be as obsessive over spiritual things and allow those things to fill my needs, instead of trying to substitute things of this earth that so quickly “grow dim and lose their value”, as the song says. No wonder the Bible instructs us to set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth. I am so proud of you for sticking with this pursuit to become and stay sugar-free and addiction-free and so thankful for you sharing your journey here. God bless you with a great day!


    • Beth Hess says:

      The enemy likes to distract us, too, Cheryl even with “spiritual things” … how often I have been caught chasing the stuff around Jesus more than the presence of Jesus himself. Thank you for your comment here. It means so much.


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