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Olives, Chocolate, and Sex

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Lately I am addicted to olives. This isn't the first time. I craved green olives during one of my pregnancies -- and I always thought the craving was coming from my body's need for more salt. But now that I'm craving olives again it's clear that this is not coming from my need to absorb more salt, but is coming from my need to eat olives.

Olives are definitely the healthiest thing I've been addicted to. And the first addiction that isn't something brown. Not brown like UPS trucks. Although the drivers do seem to always be kind of cute. I mean brown as in chocolate.

I consider myself addicted to chocolate, and I say that often -- but the truth is that what I call my addiction is just a very ingrained habit. Because I don't really have an addictive personality.

When I was in my early twenties I was a smoker. This was at the time I started working in television, and was sharing an office with another producer. In those days smoking was allowed everywhere -- in our office, in restaurants, even on airplanes, which was lucky for me since I was smoking about a pack a day.

One day I went to lunch and came back to our office with a carton of cigarettes. I took out a pack, opened it, and lit a cigarette. And although the other producer wasn't the complaining type, he happened to choose that particular day to complain about my smoking. In a nice way. After all, he was a nice guy. He said something like, "Why do you smoke anyway? Why don't you just quit?"

Because he was a nice guy, I wanted to be nice back. So I said breezily, "Okay, I will." I was still holding the lit cigarette in my hand, with the full carton on my desk. Until the words came out of my mouth I had no intention or dim thought or vague desire to quit smoking. But I gave away that carton of cigarettes and I never smoked another cigarette again.

30 years later, I wish I could give up chocolate like that. Kicking cigarettes was so easy that I could never fully appreciate how hard it is for other people. I've heard that one theory to help smokers kick the habit is for them to smoke cigarettes to the point of complete overload. So I figure if I worked in a bakery or Hershey factory and had my fill of chocolate, maybe I could learn to hate it.

The other day I was in See's Candies (yes I have to confess I occasionally stop in...)and as the lady handed me my free sample from an open box filled with chocolate, I asked her if working at See's Candies makes you stop liking chocolate. I was thinking maybe I'd consider a part-time job. But she said, no, it didn't work that way; she still loves the free samples, too. And having her employee discount.

I don't mean to sound unaware that addictions are very real and very serious and ruin lives. I really admire people who struggle against chemical and physical addictions that they have to fight every single hour, every single day for the rest of their lives. And I think it might be extra difficult when people are addicted -- not to things we consider bad -- like cigarettes and heroin. But when they're addicted to things we consider good -- like exercise and sex.

Which brings up David Duchovny's announcement about his sex addiction. I don't know how they handle this particular addiction in rehab, but the only thing I can think about is his family. Tea Leoni has always seemed down to earth and talented and smart. And ironically, so non-Hollywood. It's gut-wrenching enough to be the wife of any addict, anywhere. But to know that your marriage is a topic of conversation in homes and comedy clubs all over America must be a nightmare. Challenge does build character, and I'm sure she will somehow emerge even stronger. But my heart goes out to her for the challenges she faces -- so much harder than olives and chocolate.