Hello, my name is Zura, and I’m a gum addict. Surely there’s no support groups for us former gum addicts out there. No one would ever think that something like gum could be addictive or that it can cause any serious problems. Think again.
The first time I chewed gum in my life, I was three years old. My mother used to oppose to my habit of gum chewing, fearing that at such a young age I could manage to choke myself, if swallowed. But my grandfather owned a shop with an aisle full of candies, and a rack of mint bubblegum. Obtaining the gum was no real ordeal.
In the beginning I used to chew only for a few minutes. By as time progressed, I started to like the sensation of being able to chew on something without necessarily having to eat. By the time I was fifteen years old I was chewing gum for sixteen hours a day, and more on the weekends when I would stay up late.
I served countless hours of detention at school because of this habit, I had teachers exasperated with my constant gum chewing begging my parents to not buy me gum. But unlike any other addiction, finding someone with a spare stick of gum is a simple task.
Like people who use food to help them release stress, my constant gum chewing was the same. But not only that, it was also a source of ‘entertainment’ when bored (attempting to make the biggest bubble possible is an alternative to killing time) and also a weapon of annoyance (who doesn’t find constant gum-cracking annoying?). But little did I know that soon my gum-chewing days would come to an end.
At the age of 20, I was informed by my dentist that I had to get a root canal and if that wasn’t bad news enough he also told me that I must give up my obsessive gum chewing. How was it possible? I had been chewing gum for seventeen years! There’s no way that I could give it up. He suggested substituting the gum with mints. After the third mint, I realised that it wasn’t the same feeling. The energetic chewing sensation wasn’t the same and soon I found myself chewing various things in order to gain the same feeling but at the same time not give in to gum. Chewing the sticks of Chupa Chups was an alternative but it lacked the flavour, chewing on pens meant the possibility of ink escaping into your mouth, and chewing on jelly beans was almost the same if only they would last longer.
As the weeks went by, the less hours I spent chewing, the urge of chewing lessened. After nine months of no gum, I realised that I didn’t miss it all that much after all. Like any other addiction, once you’ve been separated from it for a period of time, you begin to see that you never really needed it at all. Now, five years later, whenever I attempt to chew gum, I can only do so for a few minutes before I get irritated by the tedious chewing required. Like a love that has died, my infatuation with gum has deceased. Somewhere in the distance you’ll hear a Big Red representative crying.