Chocolate and peanut butter: an unholy alliance that crushes any self will. I have coveted and clutched tightly Reese’s Cups, big and small, from my first shady memories of them being discovered in my Halloween pillow case. The Reese’s were the jewels in the haul. I have always been an organizer and kept my room clean as a child. My Halloween candy inventory was, well, an inventory. I imagine other less calculating minds plucking random candies from their stash without thought of the balance and ratio of the types of candy they had. How would eating one cherry Jolly Rancher affect the remaining ratio of hard, shiny candies to chocolate or chewy ones? I couldn’t allow myself to make a decision without first knowing what all I had to choose from and how my choice would affect me later. So, my plan of action was always to arrange it into piles, small mountains of similar candies: all the pumpkin candy corns together, all the flavored Tootsie Rolls, all the Fun Dip. In reality, I wanted to size up how many Reese’s I had- and Reese’s Pieces didn’t count. That was a bastardization of the original. Of course, I preferred the original large-sized cups, but it was rare to find those in my Halloween booty. The rare and random regular-sized Reece’s was coveted and saved as a prize for later. I would allow myself, that first night, to have one high-quality piece of candy and other mid-level candies of value. I was careful to dole out my candy to myself to prolong the satisfaction.
Later in life, my love for Reese’s resurfaced, with the original obsessive qualities intact and greatly intensified. I was married, and as was my pattern through my life, the minute the sex stopped the overeating started. It was arm-in-arm with another addiction I had grappled with: sugar. I had discovered Reese’s eggs, trees, and pumpkins, which were all the same with just a slight variation of shape that were used to symbolize the time of year at which they were released. My habit grew quickly to at least 4 a day. I hid them in my car and would get them on my lunch break and eat them alone in my office. I felt shame and powerlessness. I detached from myself in those moments of desperate eating. The sane yet shaming side to my personality would observe and make comments: “Wow, I can’t believe you’re eating another one. You said you would stop today.” I became disembodied as I watched myself consume a 4-pack sleeve of original Reese’s cups.
Once I went to the doctor for a check up, and complained of hypoglycemia. The NP told me to eat a Reese’s cup mid-morning and mid-afternoon to keep my blood sugar levels stable. Her theory was that the perfect combination of protein and sugar would balance me. I was aghast at that incredulous idea. WTF, is what I literally thought. The addict brain said, “Yes! Doctor-prescribed Reese’s Cups! I knew they were good for you!” Now I could justify having at least 2 Cups a day. In reality, I just questioned from what online medical school this NP graduated from. She was overweight; at the time, I wasn’t. My judgment of the situation was that she was jealous of my body size. She mentioned more than once “people like you” who could eat a lot with their “fast metabolism.” That observation was completely subjective, and erroneous. If she could have seen me a half-a-year later and 30 pounds heavier due to my obsessive Reese’s eating, I wonder what her daily recommended serving allowance of Reese’s would have been.