It’s been almost six weeks now that my doctor said it would be best if I gave up all refined sugar and caffeine too.

Can you guess what giving up those two things changed for me?

I was shocked!

My boundaries. They are stronger.

Here’s my awareness:

I used sugar and caffeine (bonus if they were combined) as a way to sweeten my own life and make everyone else’s actions – or lack thereof – bearable.

A spoonful of sugar helped me take everyone else’s medicine.

I can handle your problems and your insanity and your lack of showing up – as long as you bring me a hot chocolate.

When the hot chocolate disappeared as an option, so did my over-caretaking.

Toodaloo to tolerance.

Without my substitute-for-love sidekicks named Sugar and Caffeine, I had no room for the bullshit. And I was done taking everybody else’s shitty-tasting medicine.

Let me stop here to ask you: what are your coping mechanisms? What’s your hot chocolate?

Especially the ones condoned by and considered harmless by society.

Shopping a lot? Over-exercising? Soothing with sex? Too much tv? Mind-numbing computer games? Working too much or hiding in your work (THIS is a big one!)? Overeating? Basically ANYTHING that you do too much, that you obsess over, or that consistently cuts you off from your feelings…those are your coping mechanisms.

And even if society says they’re ok – if you’re doing them too much – it’s not serving you. It’s actually robbing you of self-awareness and happiness too.

Now, here’s the really cool part of what I’m learning from giving up M&Ms and soda for breakfast. As my boundaries grow, I am helping myself AND I’m helping everyone else too.

You see, we can’t make a decision that we know in our heart is right for us and have that not be right for everyone else too. When we grow, we make way for everyone else around us to do the same.

Growth.

Some people are willing. Some aren’t. Some are scared. And some don’t know how or what to do.

I am being responsible for myself by saying I will no longer be responsible for others at the cost of me and my health.

I see that being responsible for everyone else prevented me from having to be responsible for myself.

Yeah, reread that last sentence again. If I was busy tending to everyone else’s lack of know-how or insanity, then I needed the sugar to get me through. My over-caretaking was a justification for a habit (sugar consumption) that didn’t serve me or my body.

I’ve always been a truth-teller, but it’s heightened now. It’s raw and real and scarily honest. No minced words. No more sugar-coating the truth. (ha. see what I did there?)

Here’s what happening:

Some people are falling by the wayside.  I don’t miss them. My adrenals are relieved.

Some people are showing the fuck up. Getting real with themselves and making changes.

And new people are gravitating toward me. People who already know how to show up.

As I walk into this new phase of life without my old coping mechanisms, I allow myself to feel and release the sadness and grief that well up. I honor the anger that helps anchor my boundaries in place. And I’m relishing in the joy of where I’m heading.

After all, the journey is far easier without carrying the weight of a handful of other people.

I just have to pack almonds instead of cookies in my backpack now when I set out for the trip.