Hello Sugar Freedom Seeker!
I’m Florence, a Certified Health Coach with expertise in Sugar Addiction Recovery. I have been walking the path of recovery from my own addiction(s) for over 20 years.
While I have a history of dieting, restricting and binge eating ultra-processed foods, today I eat 100% whole foods, and I do so easily, effortlessly and gratefully. In addition, have sustained a 40+ lb weight loss for over 20 years. And I have reversed a long list of health conditions including migraines, stage 4 rosacea, clinical depression, chronic bladder infections, binge eating disorder, and more.
I wish I could say my freedom came quickly and easily. It did not. It came in fits and starts, breakdowns and breakthroughs.
I tried everything under the sun to break up with sugar. This included therapy, hypnotherapy, self-help books, and 12-step meetings. I tried supplements, meditation retreats, and coaching programs. I even worked with a shaman. This is not to mention yo-yo dieting with a wide variety of diets. I had long stretches of abstinence but was still mostly relying on will power and hyper-vigilance to stay on track. Sooner or later, cravings got the better of me and I relapsed. It was so frustrating!!
Then one day, I met a man. His name is Jack. He taught me a powerful technique that comes out of the drug and alcohol recovery field. It was unlike anything I had tried before. It blew my mind. And changed my life.
Using his mindset technique, I could stop caving into cravings, and stop collapsing into the urge to compulsively eat. I was able to observe my self-harming food behaviors and simply ignore them.
The technique was simple to learn, and worked like magic.
For about 6 months, I kept thinking the shoe was going to drop and staying abstinent would feel hard again. But the shoe did not drop and abstinence continued to feel easy.
Shortly after that, I decided to share this amazing way to break up with sugar with others. At first I did it for free, then later opened a health coaching company to coach full-time. I did this for 5 years until...
Until one day, I relapsed.
I was in a training program for emotional eating at that time. The instructor was teaching us how to intuitively eat. She taught us that there are no good foods, nor bad foods and that if we stop making sugar a taboo food, we could choose to sometimes eat sugar and not go off the deep end. The theory is, if we did enough emotional healing work, then food would no longer be an issue. If we could happily eat all foods (including sugar) in moderation this was a sign we were recovered.
I simply cannot explain why I thought that this might apply to me, a hard-core sugar addict. But that notion, coupled with a deeply stressful life event, let me to pick up my drug of choice again after years of freedom.
On a cold winter night, I ate a cookie. Actually, an entire package of cookies. This led to six months of slipping and sliding and struggle.
Fortunately, and gratefully, this inspired me to go back to basics and intensify my program of recovery. I brought in more resources and support. I deepened my commitment to abstinence, self-care and soul-work. It worked. My freedom and peace of mind returned. It was more precious to me than ever before.
In hindsight, Jack’s technique (what I now call my Sugar Dragon Technique) did not fail me, I failed it. Why?
Because I was under the delusion that getting peacefully and perfectly abstinent was the end goal, like abstinence was the end of the road. As though abstinence was all I needed to sail off into the sunset happy, joyous and free (as they say in 12 Step programs). This, unfortunately, could not be further from the truth.
Being able to observe and ignore addictive/ compulsive urges is only Step 1. Abstinence is a tool of recovery, not the goal of recovery.
If abstinence does not lead into intensive healing and recovery work, one is likely to find another addiction or relapse. I managed to do both.
The need for immediate gratification in the face of stress/ distress/ discomfort does not go away with abstinence.
Today, I teach my clients how to break up with sugar (using the Sugar Dragon Technique) and then I guide them onwards and upwards into the deeper recovery work. This means, we must address the physical (starting with abstinence), the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our addiction problem.
Addiction recovery is a journey of self-discovery premised on radical self-honesty. What we discover is that we are magnificent souls with a destiny and that fear, doubt, self-hatred, trauma, self-neglect, and limiting beliefs stand in the way. Recovery work is about clearing this clutter. If we don’t clear the blocks to our wellbeing, pain and suffering will persist, even if we are sugar-free.
At least that is how it was for me.
After I relapsed on sugar in 2020, returned to basics and found my freedom again (peaceful, effortless abstinence), I was able to see clearly that I had a cross addiction (another self-harming compulsive behaviour) blocking my wellbeing. This addiction was workaholism. It was killing me in a whole different way. It was keeping me distanced and distracted from my fears, trauma and limiting beliefs. I entered into recovery treatment for this addiction and my personal recovery has gone to a whole new depth.
I see my addiction problem as being singular with multiple arms - like an octopus - always reaching out to access different forms of immediate gratification. When one drug or distraction is unavailable my addict part is seeking others. Its mission is to keep me from feeling distress and discomfort, and to ensure I am continuously comforted. Little does it know that avoiding feeling distress and discomfort is the problem. It is exactly the problem.
For this reason, I think of getting sugar-free (abstinence) as emergency room triage, not recovery itself. Abstinence stops the bleeding. It stabilizes our body so we can engage in recovery work in body, mind and spirit.
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
What I’ve learned through my 20 years of healing my own addictions, and by researching and working in the addiction recovery space, is that addiction is complex. It has layers and multiple expressions. Its roots stem back to childhood where we often find abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Fortunately, the way forward is not complicated. In fact, simple insights, support, accountability, and a step-by-step process can walk us out of the darkness of addiction into the hope of recovery.
I see addiction recovery work as a process of detoxifying, shedding, releasing and purging. The letting go of toxic food, drinks, thoughts, behaviors, and circumstances.
It also includes letting go of denial. Denial that we can heal ourselves, by ourselves. If it takes a village to raise a child, my goodness it takes a village to conquer an addiction. A coach can be invaluable in navigating a way forward that side steps the usual mistakes.
To use another analogy…
Recovery, for me, is a deep renovation project that profoundly changes the landscape of our lives. From a barren backyard full of broken stuff to a secret garden teeming with flowers, birds, trees and sunshine. From internal despair to an inner sanctuary.
And it all starts with abstinence. Abstinence is our super power. And yet this is where most of us get stuck.
Relapse is rampant in the food addiction space. People can stay trapped for decades in yo-yo dieting and going from one extreme (restriction) to the other (bingeing) and back again.
I am living proof it is possible to stop the insanity and find peace and freedom. It is possible to let go of compulsive eating and find new ways to self-soothe, manage stress, and move forward into higher states of health, happiness, and wholeness.
At the end of the day, recovery is the door that you must walk through. On one side of this door is the darkness of addiction. On the other side is the sunlight of recovery.
I will help you cross the threshold. That is what I do.
Better Health Coaching Inc.
Florence Christophers, B.A., M.Phil, CHC
403-540-0648 (Canadian # and Whats App)
The services of Better Health Coaching Inc. are NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before, during and after making lifestyle changes. They can affect your prescriptions and symptoms. We do not advocate any particular way of eating beyond eliminating / minimizing ultra-processed foods.