My name is Michelle and I am a chocoholic. A while back, I purchased a bag of Tootsie Roll Midgees at Walmart and ate 17 of them on the drive home. OK, I cannot tell a lie. The grand total was actually a whopping 23. I know because I counted the wrappers.
“Your eyes are wild, Mom,” my son Sam noted, as he viewed a selfie I posted on Facebook. I took the photo while in the midst of a chocoholic bender. Chocolate oozed from the corners of my lips.
“You look like a deranged woman who would break into people’s houses and steal their chocolate,” he said.
He’s right. I would. And quite possibly have; though due to chocoholic blackouts, I really can’t recall.
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What is a chocoholic blackout? Well, that’s when you wake up with brownie crumbs in your hair and can’t remember how they got there. Or you vaguely recall eating one or two Cella chocolate-covered cherries the night before — so who devoured the whole box?
True to my nature, I deflect all blame.
As the story goes, my late mother used to put a squirt of Hershey’s syrup in my baby bottle. I chortled and burped and licked my cocoa-coated lips much like I do today. Had I not had that first shot of chocolate, would I have become the addict I am now? Or would I have forgone chocolate chips for potato chips and become a Pringles addict instead?
By high school, I was hanging out at a Granite City ice cream stand owned by my best friend’s family. For the price of keeping her company while she worked, Lydia would give me all the ice cream I could eat. One of my best teenage memories is guzzling hot fudge from a shake cup after adding crushed Oreos to the mix.
Things got worse in my 20s. As a young newspaper reporter, I consumed a package of Ding Dongs for breakfast every morning followed by a Snickers bar as a mid-day snack.
Eventually I admitted I had a problem. With my husband’s encouragement, I gave up chocolate cold turkey like other addicts swear off alcohol or cigarettes.
For nearly three years, chocolate did not pass my lips. Then I got pregnant and figured I was entitled to a hot fudge sundae for lunch every day. My son is 19. The relapse continues.
“So you blame your mother for your original chocolate addiction and me for the way you are now?” Sam asked, rolling his eyes. “That’s just wrong, Mom. You know that, right?”
OK. He may have a point.
Still, research shows that chocolate consumption releases mood-lifting endorphins in the brain. Dark chocolate also contains cardiovascular benefits, as well as certain antioxidants. So regardless of how I got the addiction, it isn’t all bad — except for a recent late-night bender when my sleep was filled with cocoa-fueled dreams.
“Oh my gosh! I just had the worst nightmare,” I told my husband, who was now wide awake due to my screams. “It was horrible, Mark. The stuff ‘Dateline’ episodes are made of.”
“Well you know what you need?” he asked, no sympathy in his voice.
“More Tootsie Rolls?”
We both laughed. What else can you do?