Roger Harty: Good Old Fashioned Abstinence/Resilience

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I LOVE chocolate – that is a fact, but the problem I have is the following; does chocolate love me?

I have no doubt that the answer to this question is No, with a big Capital N, but that still doesn’t stop me eating it.

In the world that we live in something tells me that you could substitute chocolate with ‘Highly Processed Foods’ (Burgers, Pizzas, Crisps – Junk Foods), as many of these so called foods have extremely high elements of sugar hidden within them.

So getting straight to the point, the real culprit here is sugar and I’m also pretty sure you wouldn’t have to search too far in ‘Google’ to discover that ‘Sugar is addictive’.

For years the Food industry tried to convince us that the culprit was ‘Fat’.

Going a little scientific for a minute you will see that research indicates that sugar has an impact on the reward system of the brain called the ‘mesolimbic dopamine system’.

Activation of this system can lead to intense feelings of reward that can result in cravings and addiction.

It has been said that withdrawal from sugar addiction can be as difficult as withdrawal from cocaine addiction.

I have no need to emphasise that recovery from any sort of addiction requires understanding, attention and huge willpower. However willpower alone is not the answer.

All efforts at addiction recovery have to begin with awareness.

A great next step is to try Good Old Fashioned Abstinence – Resilience

Is it a co-incidence that the first letter of each of the above words gives us the acronym GO FAR.

In modern living, Christmas time has lost its real significance and is seen by many as a time of unadulterated abundance.

I do not mean to be a killjoy but I have to ask how much of this is driven by multinational companies with unlimited powers of advertising?

Come January this same industry will be convincing us to Diet, Diet, Diet!

I heard someone saying recently that it was like as if we are being bombarded with information telling us that we need this, that or whatever to give us life satisfaction. But do we really?

Abstinence has always been recognised for its importance to Mankind. In the Christian faith we have Lent and even Fridays were recognised as times for restrain.

Similarly Ramadan is recognised as a time for abstinence in The Muslim faith.

Leaving religion aside, the bottom line is the question – Is abstinence good for us or not?

Constant Abundance and No Abstinence = Disaster

(Look at the ever increasing levels of Diabetes!!)

I honestly believe it (Abstinence) is now more important than it ever has been, but I also recognise that it is getting more and more difficult to practice because of the constant bombardment I have mentioned above.

P.S. I fully accept that abstinence is not the only answer especially in the case of severe addiction and that it also has to involve additional help like that of a counsellor.

• Next week I am going to write about — Why sugar is addictive

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