WARNING – What I am about to reveal in this blog may make you weep, it shows how an addiction has taken a sinister turn, and seems to have life long consequences – you have been warned.

As a child we didn’t really have sweets around the house, there was always fruit, and mom would usually bake a cake on a Saturday – not to be touched until Sunday, but never sweets. An exception would be Christmas, but then in the Shaw household, Christmas was always an exception to 350 days of fairly strict discipline when it came to ‘nice things’. Perhaps the only exception to this was chocolate. It probably helped that when I was very young, mom worked in Cadburys. This was the proper Cadburys, owned by the Cadburys, built brick by brick by the Cadburys in the village they pretty much founded – Bournville. Fridays would become a treat – broken chocolates. At the time they were freely given to the staff to take home as they couldn’t be sold to customers. They would arrive in the house in their little paper bag of goodness, and an excited five year old Iain would know he was in for a sugar and chemical hit. Well, actually I didn’t, it would take another 10 years of slow corruption to understand what a chemical hit was, but I think you know what I mean. In later years they would have to be purchased in the staff shop, and eventually I believe they would make their way into the hands of the general public, and so no longer a special gift from Mr Cadbury to his staff and their families.

Like a dealer giving away freebies, to hook their clients, Mr Cadbury had done the same with me. I loved chocolate. I love chocolate. I would never buy packets of sweets, I would always prefer chocolate. Mars Bars, Yorkies, Kit Kats, Marathons, selection boxes at Christmas, Dairy Milk, Fruit and Nut, Crunchie, Milky Ways, Freddo, Curly Wurly, Aero (mint not orange) were all consumed in the formative years of my addiction. As a teen I progressed to new treats such as Boost – in fact Boost was probably my first real ‘issue’ with chocolate. As a late teen/early twenty something I consumed a lot of these delights, two at a time – just getting warmed up, have a third for a snack, maybe a fourth after dinner. Something in its chemical composition hit the spot for me, to quote Renton ‘ I haven’t felt this good since Archie Gimmel scored against Holland in 1978’ (a reference to one of my favourite films – Trainspotting, where Renton has the delightful Kelly MacDonald using him as a sex trampoline.). In my 30s and 40s I consumed way too much chocolate. On my way to work I would purchase a can of Red Bull and a Yorkie, every…single…day… and consume them before I stepped in the door at work – my start of day hit. Cleaning the car at the end of a week would almost shame me – like a post-coital depression, with the amount of empty wrappers I had to throw away. I had no inclination to stop though, the high was too high, the low not low enough, it was habit, it was me.
Rewind through this blog, look at the first posts – what was the thing that made me falter on the first day of my weight loss journey, chocolate. I knew I had to eat well, but I was offered chocolate and I couldn’t say no. However it was not any ordinary chocolate, it was the crack cocaine of chocolate, it was a Cadburys Flake. Even writing those two words ‘Cadburys Flake’ evokes a neurological response. I can hear the sound of the wrapper being undone, feel the texture of the thin yellow plastic. I can sense the uneven surface of the chocolate, smell its intoxicating scent and worst of all I can taste it and remember the crumble as it dissolves into my mouth. Those things are truly evil. If I had 100 of those put in front of me I would eat them, I would eat every single one. My body would be satisfied way before my brain, and I would be controlled by my unconscious being to eat them all.
But a strange thing happened, not sure when, not sure why, but I stopped eating my body weight in chocolate. No longer would I find myself going into a shop and buying a cheeky bar, perhaps the urge went when I gave up Red Bull, maybe the pandemic cured my addiction as I wasn’t driving past a shop every day. Don’t get me wrong, if the chocolate was in the house, I would be tempted, and Christmas tins of Quality Street and Celebrations would get devoured. But it seems that Christmas 2020 was the last year, and since then I haven’t eaten chocolate and to be honest I don’t miss it. Its not like my giving up alcohol though. Every day I want to drink alcohol, still. I miss alcohol, every day I am tempted to open a bottle, buy beer, buy gin (I never ever drank gin), buy whiskey, buy vodka, but I don’t. I feel I have that demon well under control. But chocolate, don’t need that anymore.

That was until this week…

There was a chocolate bar left in the kitchen, part of a multi-pack the kids have. I didn’t want it, didn’t actively seek it out, but it was there. I made myself a coffee, took the chocolate bar and ate it – two moderate bites and it was gone. I have regretted it ever since, not emotionally, not some heinous guilt, but physically regretted it. For 24 hours after eating the chocolate I have felt ill. I have eaten everything the same as everyone else in the family and they are OK, so I don’t think it was something (apart from the chocolate bar) I have eaten. So, science-mode activated – I had another chocolate bar, and I started to feel ill again. What’s going on, my body is rejecting chocolate, even if I wanted to return to my previous ways I can’t – I feel like shit (literally), the choc is poisoning me.

So I have had to make a decision, and one that may make people weep (see I told you), but I am having to give up chocolate, I am going to have to say goodbye to the brown milky goodness from my life. If this is how it makes me feel, then I don’t want it. This is now going to be consigned to my ever growing list of previous addictive pleasures I can no longer have. Ahhh Bollocks.