Friday, June 30, 2006


Confessions of a Chocolate Addict ~
How a Spirit Doll is Helping!

I am a chocolate addict. You may think this statement is funny, but actually I'm pretty serious about it. For years, I lied about chocolate, I hid it, I binged on it, I was obsessed about getting my chocolate fixes twice daily (at least). After the first bite or two, I didn’t even taste it.

As I consumed more and more of it, it began to consume me. Until finally, through journaling and writing poems in a group of writers bent on healing, I finally realized it was an addiction with a solution. Abstinence. I’ve fallen off the wagon twice in the past 10 years, but since 2002 I’ve been totally abstinent. No chocolate at all. I feel better without that awful compulsion crowding my life.

However! Here comes the part about the spirit doll… Last winter I went to “Quilt Camp” (a totally fabulous 3-day retreat with local quilters), and arrived to find a big bowl of candy on every table. Almost all of it was chocolate. Little Robin (LR) within me panicked… “What about ME? What treats do I get?” A quick look through the bowls revealed a few wrapped caramels in each bowl. Quickly LR went around to each of the tables and took the caramels to stash at our work station.


spirit doll by Robin Atkins, bead artist

That evening, suffering from fuzzy teeth from eating so many caramels, I began making a spirit doll with the prayer that she might help me and LR to eat more healthily. I wanted to make her a little purse to hold my written prayer. At first I made something that looked like a shopping bag… too big for the doll. I stacked two caramels in that little bag, and distributed the remainder of the stash back into the bowls at the other tables. Those two candies in the sack are still there!
spirit doll, detail, by Robin Atkins
After that I made the purse you see hanging from the doll’s arm. She has amethyst (a stone said to have healing and cleansing powers, especially beneficial to the mind) chips in her hair and fringe. The pearls represent purity. The ceramic face is her (and my) "happy tummy" - serene and contented.

spirit doll, detail, by Robin Atkins


spirit doll, detail, by Robin Atkins


spirit doll, detail, by Robin Atkins

At first nothing much changed. But just before Lent, a friend said she was going to give up sugar for Lent. Immediately I joined her. I’m still not eating sugar. This is a huge change in my eating habits… I AM eating more healthily. Yeah! Many, many baby steps - from chocolate to poems to quilters to spirit doll to healthier eating – and look who’s emerging!

Are you wondering about LR? I think she’s doing OK too. She and I are trying to look toward painting, time to play with art, as a treat (rather than sweets). At the risk of being overly optimistic, my Healthy Eating Spirit Doll seems to be doing her job, for which I am most greatful!

10 comments:

  1. She's terrific and what a great story. I found your blog several weeks ago and I've become an immediate fan of your work. (You'll see an order form show in your mail for a book in a few days!) Beading as always seemed an unreachable medium to work in for me but your work inspires me so much that I'm ready to jump in and give it a shot !

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  2. What a great account of your challenge and the solution you found. I know that experience of not tasting after the first bite, and we do need spiritual solutions to these emotional hungers. Your doll is lovely. I like the way her bag only holds two candies--it's all any of us could need.

    I enjoy your blog and I'm reading the button book you recommended. The photos are a real treat.

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  3. We really were separated at birth!! I've always had my little food addictions but have recently started giving them up and am eating healthier. I love the lavender spirit doll with her tummy face. She is just so perfect for the job she's here to do.

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  4. Thanx for sharing your story. I love your spirit doll.

    My weakness is / was coffee. I started when I was a young teenager & broke off the habit last Fall. I still want it all the time. I just don't drink it anymore.

    Tea is an ok substitute - but I even dream of coffeehouses!! I'm such a wimp.

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  5. I avoid chocolate, too. I think that's because I felt very sick after watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. LOL! Sometimes I DO crave it, but it's rare. But, when that time comes, I just have a small glass of chocolate milk, and that usually does the trick:)

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  6. Love the story and the lovely little lavander spirit doll.
    She's perfect. Thanks for all your inspirations.

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  7. Fabulous little lavander spirit doll -- love her -- love the story.

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  8. Gee you make it sound easy. I got off sugar for just 1 month, & felt better, dropped 9 pounds without even trying, then went out for dinner with mt son, & he teased me into just 1 bite of his Tiramisu, & that was it, I crashed! back on sugar like a junky! & chocolate is the worst! I crave it! Must stop! Must make a spirit doll!

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  9. Thanks everyone for your comments... I feel your support for this journey I'm taking.

    Sue - I hope you'll enjoy a new beaded pathway!

    Janet - We'll just say her tummy face is for both of us (since we're twins anyway)...

    Lelia - I had a weakenss for coffee too... worked in an office and drank about 10 cups a day, to the point where I was a nervous reck. Finally switched to decaf, which I like better than tea... It's way easier to limit my intake.

    Diana - Good that you've found a way to have some chocolate without setting up a chain of overindulgence.

    Jackie - You are most welcome! And thanks for starting a blog... I look forward to seeing where you go with it!

    Deb - Yes... go for it! If your son teases you again, tell him: "I'd like you to support me in my efforts to eat more healthily."

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  10. I completely relate to your story! Sugar was my comfort food since childhood. One bite, one pound - it's never enough.
    One of the books I've found that brings me back to reality if I've decided it's OK for me to have a bite (which I know will lead to a binge) is "Sugar Blues" by William Dufty. It's an education in the truth about sugar - a real eye-opener! The book's inspiration is surprising in itself.
    So - as I await your wonderful books - I now have two spirit dolls planned; a miracle doll, and an abstinence doll.
    Thank you for all your inspiration, without it I wouldn't have the courage to begin a doll at all!

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Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!