Addiction

I ordered a $39 bottle of supplements from Amazon on Monday. It had three ingredients in it-vitamin D, vitamin B12, and algae omegas. After it came in the mail my partner pointed out that we already have vitamin D and vitamin B12 and that we can get omegas from flax seed, of which we have a double quart jar under the kitchen sink.

But this bottle was so beautiful, glass, not plastic. Classy. On the info page there was a picture of a man with no shirt, casually stretching his quad muscle. He was looking over his shoulder with an almost bored look on his face, as if his vitamins were so good that exercise was really more of a formality these days. He’d be just as shredded without it, due to the optimal performance of the omegas and the synergistic bioavailability of the vitamin D in each capsule.

The reviews were glowing—more energy, greater focus, sex life is booming, immune system on fleek, skin is great, Alzheimer’s is fading to nothing, irritable bowels have calmed…

My name is Sue and I have a health and beauty aid addiction.

Some supplements I have purchased that were bad ideas (not including hair or skin products):

  1. a $70 bottle of dihydrohonokiol-B capsules (WTF even is that? for anxiety, which I don’t have)
  2. a tiny $100 bottle of Young Living JuvaCleanse essential oil for getting rid of cellulite (extra cringey) (addendum, this oil is now $139!)
  3. $30 Vegan Fat Burning herbs for energy and stamina (these were buy one get one free…my stamina had been suffering a lot when I ordered them)
  4. a bottle of important sounding alpha lipoic acid that was in the cheap cart at the grocery store. I didn’t even know what it was for. It was only $2.99, but who buys a random bottle of mystery medicine on the off chance it might treat an ailment they’ve got?
  5. a $6 bottle of black walnut (also from the cheap cart) that kills intestinal parasites, of which I doubt I have.
  6. a mixture of essential oils that stimulates my vagus nerve (it’s on the back of the neck you sicko) for well being and immune building and a host of other death defying benefits (I’m not gonna lie, this one is actually kind of cool)
  7. a $30 bag of magnolia bark for something or other, I don’t even know anymore, and
  8. a $39 bottle of vegan multivitamins that I already have most of in my VERY FULL medicine cabinet.

Tomorrow I will be dropping off a one month supply of vitamins at the UPS for a return from Amazon.

I joke about having a HABA addiction, but I googled it, and apparently it’s a real thing. I saw one article that gave a four week plan to break supplement addiction. I thought the nuts and bolts part of the plan was kind of funny:

Week 1: Reduce your excess vitamins or supplements by 25%.

Week 2: Reduce your excess vitamins or supplements by 50%.

Week 3: Reduce your excess vitamins or supplements by 75%.

Week 4: No more excess vitamins or supplements.

(For real! Here it is: https://www.doctoroz.com/article/4-week-plan-break-supplement-addiction)

If only all addictions were so easy to break!! I do know, though, that I need to watch this tendency in myself. I’ve had my fair share of addictions, behaviors that allowed me to take a break from reality.  I’ve always been really good at escaping the world. 

When I was younger, I’d save up whatever money I could find and walk up the road to Rite Aid, where I’d buy a one pound bag of plain M&Ms and some weird clear berry seltzer soda that I thought had a pretty bottle. Pretty bottles are a real trigger for me. I’d bring that bag of M&Ms home, get a book, pull up my hood, and lay in bed for hours reading and eating. I’d take three M&Ms out of the bag, put one in each cheek and one in the middle and let them melt then get three more. Every so often I’d take a sip of berry seltzer to wash it all down. I read and reread my books again and again—Farmer Boy, My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet, Cold Sassy Tree, Hardy Boys, Life in the Leatherwoods, all the James Herriot books, Reader’s Digest, The Happy Hollisters, Encyclopedia Brown, and the McGurk detective books—three M&Ms at a time, over and over. A steady stream of sugar and stories as I slipped out the side door. I can still smell the inside of that bag and the musty pages of those old books.

Later on sugar turned into cigarettes and coffee, then when cigarettes became déclassé, it became beer and wine, burning the candle at both ends. That fun time ended pretty early on in fits and spurts, some years better than others. It was unsustainable. I realized I was being a huge asshole and my growth was majorly stunted.

From there I tried kombucha. I started slow, a little Synergy bottle here and there. It was so expensive I decided to make my own. After a few short weeks I was brewing it by the gallon and drinking a quart or more per day. My partner gifted me a weekend at Breitenbush hot springs and as I packed up eight quart jars of home brewed kombucha and clinked my way down the driveway to the car, I wondered if I might have a problem.

I had scobys coming out of my ears, so many I started to dehydrate them with soy sauce to make jerky (scoby jerky has the exact same consistency of what I’d imagine human skin jerky would have. 1/10, not recommended). Then when I found a passel of white worms floating around in my gallon jar, I knew it was time to let it go. I buried my scobys and dumped the worms in the yard.

I recently quit drinking coffee because the caffeine really messes with my body, but then I started drinking a quart of watermelon chunk tea every day. Each time I move forward, I reduce the harm my addictions can cause. Watermelon chunk tea and too many supplements? Not too bad, but still. Who knows, maybe someday I will be totally free of my burdens, a slave to my own desires no more.

For now, I will just study this remarkable four week plan:

Week 1: Reduce your excess vitamins or supplements by 25%.

Week 2: Reduce your excess vitamins or supplements by 50%.

Week 3: Reduce your excess vitamins or supplements by 75%.

Week 4: No more excess vitamins or supplements.

This dude definitely takes multivitamins.

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