I am an addict. Or as my friend says, I have addictions. It’s an important distinction.

I am addicted to chocolate. 65% was the gateway to the hard stuff: 88% cacao is my standard. I’ve heard hidden stashes are a clear sign of an out of control addiction. If so, I’m in trouble.

I am addicted to reading. To feed the craving, words on a page are all I need.

I am addicted to time with my kids. If I don’t get enough I feel weak in the knees, heavy in the heart, and struggle for reasons to slog my way through a day. I’m weaning myself away, but like all addictions, the hold has parasitic strength.

Each of these bring pleasure. My main addiction does not. I’m addicted to guilt.

This addiction is not going to be lost in the shuffle of life. It seems to find me whatever I am doing or not doing. Just when I think I am certain I have made the right choices, I feel guilt tell me its insidious messages that paralyze me.  Its two cousins regret and doubt creeps. Even as I write these words. If I were a better mother I would have been in the kitchen flipping homemade pancakes for my son and his company. Nevermind that he is 17 and has been perfectly capable of making his own breakfast for 7 years and messing up the kitchen even longer.

Guilt is manipulation. Walking away from a manipulator is one thing, but how do I walk away from the inner voice that whispers its convincing arguments?

How do you battle guilt? What battles has it won? And how do you suggest I win the war?

Should’ve. Could’ve. Would’ve.

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