I was quite hungover at work on Friday so, realising my cheese and ham sandwich probably didn’t possess the required hangover curing properties, left the office in search of something high in both grease and calories, ideally a juicy slice of pizza. And so it came to pass that I found myself in the bakery, where we now find me greedily peering at the display of jam doughnuts.
“I’m having some of those,” I think to myself wickedly, “two of ‘em.”
“I’ll have two of those please,” I say politely.
“Twos seventy pee,” says the no nonsense lady serving me, “but we’re doing five for a pound today.”
“Five?!? Bloody hell!” I cry.
The lady stares back at me nonplussed, but one of the other members of baker gives me a knowing smile: here is someone else accustomed with the irresistibility of a binge when faced with a box full of doughnuts, a kindred spirit. I lose count of the number of times I’ve woken up half clothed in the morning, a sugar induced headache and no memory of the night before, the only clue being a thick residue of icing and jam coating most of my face.
“Yeah, OK, I’ll take five” I relent, proffering a pound coin in my grubby paw.
Soon after, I found myself down a back street, frantically scoffing and thus, just like that, I have fallen back into my bad old ways. It had started innocuously enough back in the day; just a few doughnuts with some of the guys on the way back from school. I mean, everyone was doing it, it was probably more about image than the taste back then. But soon we started seeking out the harder stuff: toffee flavoured custard fillings, almond and caramel coatings, that sort of thing. And the local Master Baker was always on hand, always happy to supply us at the drop of a hat, and always offering us a free first try of his latest recipes. Naturally, we all thought he was a top bloke, but soon enough we were properly hooked and that’s when his attitude towards us started to change. God forbid if you couldn’t meet your payments: next thing you knew he had you pulling tricks on the village green.
Fortunately I got out before the real serious stuff, Krispy Kremes, started to find its way across the Atlantic. Apparently, that stuff’s lethal: one bite and you’re hooked. It hasn’t quite taken the stranglehold grip we were forewarned it would in this country, perhaps due to different styles of consumption, the way our cities are laid out, or different compositions of the so called ‘most at risk groups’, I don’t know. But in the States they’ve got whole stretches of cities which have been left in states of decay, highly addicted psychotic users, maternity units flooded with Krispy Kreme babies and brutal glazing wars. Or so I’m told. Some of my old friends have gone down that way. I never see them any more, they’re too far gone really, but nor would I want to, I’m sure I’d feel the temptation to dabble if I was in their company.
I’d been clean for almost a year until Friday. Like most people who realise they need to stop, it had reached the point where my consumption had reached an all time high and feeding my habit was becoming an all-encompassing part of my day. I was doing as many as eight a day, and that starts to take a toll both financially and health wise. I was writing my dissertation at the time, and from my bedroom window I could all but see the Percy Ingle bakery on Roman Road. It got to the point where they’d got to know me and my order there, and in the end that’s what probably saved me.
“Hey! It’s the Doughnut Guy!” the Caribbean staff would cry out in their sing song patter as they saw me.
I would visibly cringe at this moniker: a little professional discretion, please! It was so humiliating to have obtained a nickname about my habit which, up until then, I’d been able to deny to myself. It’s those cheeky staff who saved me though: like a former junkie picking up his methadone from the chemist, I would scuttle out clutching my package whilst all the other customers openly stared and muttered about me. I couldn’t take that degradation any longer, and finally managed to stop, cold turkey.
I'm hoping Friday's relapse is a one off.
4 weeks ago