Ah, here we are in the most glorious of months, morning air crisp and clean, afternoons bright and sunny. It must be October—or as I call it, Choctober, with 31 uninterrrupted days of Halloween candy sales. Forget crimson, gold and russet, my favorite Choctober colors are milk, dark and extra dark. All of which makes what I am about to say even more painful and hard to believe: For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the inability to zip my jeans, I have decided to make October 2015 a…wait for it…chocolate-free month. Did you hear me? I said chocolate free, not free chocolate. Oh, would that it were that! But, I really do mean chocolate free, as in my mouth, stomach and very soul will spend 31 days with nary a taste of the blissfully sweet, smooth, soothing sensation that chocolate is for me.

If you know me at all, I will pause here to give you a chance to finish snickering, chortling and out and out guffawing at the idea of my going without chocolate for a month. It’s true that I haven’t exactly been a screaming success in that department. I’ve been trying to give up chocolate for Lent for the past 47 years. So far, I’m 0 for 47. Each time by about day three, I throw Jesus under the Hershey bus and just say an extra Act of Contrition.

But this time, I’m already two days past my previous record, and I intend to stick it out. I know well where the road paved with good intentions leads, but I’m determined to find a fork in that familiar road and follow it to a better destination. The truth is that sometime after my mother died, I began dealing with my lingering grief by self-medicating with every form of refined sugar in the known universe, although chocolate remained my drug of choice. Funny thing, it didn’t bring her back, and it left me feeling as bad physically as I did emotionally. Yet, I couldn’t seem to rein in the daily choco-sprees…until the change of seasons this fall brought me face to face with the consequences—a closet full of pants that didn’t fit. And since I’d already blown my new clothing allowance on high end chocolate, I was left with little choice but to get serious about detoxing from the products of the cocao bean. (Apparently, vanity has a much stronger hold on me than religious tradition.)

I look forward to regaining control over my addiction and to greeting November with both looser pants and lower blood sugar. Victory will surely taste as sweet as the finest bon bon.  And, just FYI, while I still maintain that orange and green M&Ms contain beta carotene, I am willing to concede that carrots and spinach might be superior sources…at least until the end of this month!

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