Help, I’m Addicted

Today’s Deep-Fried Friday has a very personal tone. You see, I have an addiction and need help. Ever since my college years, I have fondly clutched one form of Coca-Cola or another in my hands and sipped with sweet satisfaction.

Okay, fine – I gulp it. Like an NFL linebacker after a big tackle with his Gatorade on the sidelines, I slam down as much sugary, caffeinated nectar of the gods as my body can possibly handle.

I have always liked Coca-Cola. Everything about it. From its lovely script logo to the “I’d like to teach the world to sing” commercial to those cute polar bears at Christmas. I have collected a few unusual bottles and cans – including two from other countries. I carry a bottle opener in my car for when I can find the best Coke – pure sugar cane Coca-Cola in a glass bottle “hecho in Mexico” (made in Mexico). I love its sweetness and bubbliness and even that sensation of the fizz trickling down my throat.

“I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”

But the worst of it started one summer when I was a breakfast waitress at a beachfront hotel in Corpus Christi. The whole experience ruined me. I was a terrible waitress, forgetting everything and spilling everywhere. I had to leave my house at 5:30 a.m. to get to the restaurant to set up, and the only way I could make it through the mornings was to start drinking soda when I got there. Before that summer, I drank Coke, but not until lunch or so. By the end of that August, I could hold all of my tips in a baby food jar and I was addicted to Coke.

Fast forward a few years later, I realized that I was sucking down 4-6 cans of Coke a day. The only person I knew doing worse in the soda scene drank a six-pack of Mountain Dew daily, and his hands literally shook from the caffeine intake.

Since then, I have cut down to 2-3 Cokes per day, but despite many efforts to quit, my only success was during my first pregnancy. I was very well behaved as I only had one Coke for the entire nine months. But as I lay in my hospital bed, happily eyeing the precious bundle I had carefully grown in my womb, I was asked if I wanted anything. My response, “A Coke would be nice.”

And it was back. The addiction.

Seriously, how can you resist them?

When it comes down to it, I am weak. I am like a cigarette smoker who knows deep down that the habit is polluting his lungs and causing his breath to smell like his grandmother’s ashtray. He swears that he wants to quit for the sake of his health. But when you ask whether he wants to put that cigarette down, the one that is in his hands at the moment, that he presses to his lips and inhales with pleasure, the answer is no. “I’ll quit after this one.” That’s me.

I need to quit my Coke addiction. (Clarification: Coca-Cola.) It is correlated with bone loss, Diabetes II, and fatigue (through sugar up and downs). I even saw a report that too much caffeine decreases blood flow in the brain. For the sake of my health, I need to put down the dang brown sugary liquid . . . that tastes like ambrosia, that I dream of swimming in a fountain of, that I want to lick off the lips of my hunky husband . . .

You see? I’m hopeless.

This classic commercial does not help.

So I am asking for help in any form you wish to give it. Think I need encouragement? Cheer me on! Think I need to hear more about the dangers of soda consumption? Pipe up and tell me what they are! Think you have a withdrawal program that will work for me? Tell me what your secret is! Think I need to be yelled at for my irresponsible behavior? Turn on your caps lock and let me have it!

Comment with your tips, lecture, or whatever.  Also, what’s your addiction? What habit do you know you should quit, but you just can’t seem to do it? What do you think stops you from making a better choice?

And in case you’re wondering, I was sipping a large Coke from McDonald’s the whole time I wrote this post. That place is not helping me with its $1.00 for any size drinks.

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32 thoughts on “Help, I’m Addicted

  1. Haha! I mean, I shouldn’t laugh at addiction. 🙂

    I LOVE the Coke from Mexico. The real sugar makes it so much tastier. They should make it that way here, so much crisper than corn syrup. And Coke from McDonalds is awesome.

    I’m not helping. Am I? PUT THAT COKE (COCA-COLA) DOWN THIS INSTANT, JULIE!! Is that better?

    My addiction is coffee. It may have less sugar than Coke, but the caffeine issue is still there.

  2. Coffee has a lot more caffeine than Coke, but not all of the sugar and empty calories. (Personally, I hate coffee.) And yes, the Mexican Coke is the best! Nice mom tone, by the way. The words “this instant” gave it some real power.

  3. My most recent addiction (I’ve overcome many), is Red Bull and Mounds. The combination is totally yummy and packs a one-two punch for boosting energy. Of course then I have to deal with the sugar low and the caffein hangover. I try to limit my intake and only do this once or twice a week. Still bad but not AWFUL! This is what us addicts do–justify our behavior.

    Admitting that you have a problem is the first step, Julie. Good job! You could try limiting your intake and decreasing slowly as you replace your Coke’s with something else (I recommend lemon water or herbal tea). Cut back to one soda a day and then maybe just on special occasions. However, if this is truly a hard core addiction and not just a bad habit, you’ll need to go cold turkey and tough out the withdrawal. The emotional component is the hardest because you already equate coke with so many of your daily activities–writing, eating, socializing. If you approach your recovery from a spiritual level, you might try to do battle by reading a scripture or inspirational quote every time you have the urge to imbibe. You could also combat the urge by taking a walk, stretching, meditating, sex, etc. Essentially replacing the high you get from the Coke with some other form of endorphin inducing activity.

    I don’t think they have meetings for coca-cola addicts. Maybe you could start a support group. I love those commercials BTW! Truly marketing at its best which is probably what landed you where you are and is the root cause of obesity in this country. You never see cute polar bears or hunky guys kicking back a green juice!

    1. “You already equate coke with so many of your daily activities–writing, eating, socializing.” That is so true! I like the idea of battling the urge by reading a scripture or inspirational quote. I think the cold turkey plan bothers me because at my core, I really don’t want to stop drinking Coke but I do want to stop drinking it daily. Still, I may need to go that route. Thanks, PJ!

  4. Red Bull is some cool stuff. If you enjoy a caffeine buzz, Red Bull will give you a better one than a 20 oz. latte.

    As for quitting Coke, I did it quite by accident. When I was in my early 20s, I had recurring UTIs. (Sorry if TMI.) My doctor kept saying, “Catie, if you’d quit drinking cokes, you’d quit having these painful infections.” So I quit drinking them. (By the way, the infections didn’t stop.)

    Over the years, I’ve lost the taste for any and all soft drinks. They taste like syrup to me. I can take a sip or two, but I can’t get any refreshment from it.

    Now, as for your addiction. If it’s the caffeine, go cold turkey. Drink bunches of water and flush it out. You’ll have headaches so be sure to have your headache pill of choice on hand.

    If it’s the flavor, have you thought about trying club soda and Torani syrup? Start by making yourself a fairly strong club soda and Torani flavor of choice. Gradually decrease the amount of “flavor” until you can stand with club soda with nothing in it. Or until you can switch to sugar-free Torani. LOL

    Good luck! 😀

    1. Everyone I know who has quit (including the guy with the Mt. Dew caffeine tremors) says that after a not drinking cola for a while, the taste is not nearly as appealing. I think it is the caffeine somewhat, but more the taste.

      I had to look up Torani. I saw that one of the flavor options is Bacon Syrup. Um, yeah, that might work. LOL. Good idea actually! I’m getting some great suggestions already. Thanks, Catie!

  5. I can’t drink regular Coke or I’ll be in trouble. It’s very addicting to me. You know what really stinks is that for 7 months, I gave up ALL pop on my diet. I was a total rockstar. But while I’ve managed to maintain my weight loss, I started drinking pop again over the summer and now I’m back up to way too much. It’s so frustrating because I know I quit once, and I just can’t find the willpower to do it again, lol.

    1. Yeah, I could kick myself for having a Coke right after I had my firstborn. What was I thinking? Stacy, I love that you call it “pop.” Good luck with the willpower!

      By the way, I read a recent article about how diet sodas aren’t good for weight loss either. So much for my Coke Zero plan.

  6. Well, Julie, my addiction is to caffeine-free Coke. I don’t like Pepsi or Mountain Dew or any of the other drinks, but I LOVE the taste of Coca Cola. And I did NOT know about the Coke from Mexico being any different. I just saw some in bottles the other day and it took willpower to not buy them – they were just too darn expensive. But give me a Coca Cola in a bottle (I’d only be able to drink one anyway since I can’t take the caffeine rush) and I’m thrilled. For ME, I only allow myself two a day and the reason I don’t quit is because Coke is my only addiction. I don’t drink liquor, I don’t do drugs, I don’t have any vices like that. Coca Cola is my only vice, and I don’t think it’s so awful to drink two a day. I do drink a LOT of sparkling water as well, so the Coke isn’t the only thing of choice. I try to balance it (in my mind at least) by drinking a ton of water. But it HAS to be carbonated. Go figure.
    Patti

    1. You have a good point, Patti. I don’t smoke, drink coffee or latte or expresso or whatever, do drugs, etc. I have kept Coca-Cola as my one addiction. My ideal would be to get down to enjoying one Coke per day. Enjoy your fizzy good stuff!

  7. You’ve received lot’s of great suggestions here – ARE YOU GOING TO FOLLOW UP? No excuses, now – and you’ll have to report back on what you’ve changed in your daily routine.

    Really, I know it’s tough. I quit a long term smoking addiction two years ago with nicotine patches and a support group. The facilitator was great and laid out the psychological, physiological and emotional components of addiction – any addiction. You need to set a quit date – drink all the soda you want till then – but create a commitment to stop on that day. Give yourself about three weeks to adjust to the idea of a certain date being the first day of treating your body better. It really helps and prepares you for some success when you actually stop that day.

  8. Kathleen, my reasons for posting this are (1) I know I’m not alone; (2) I really want advice; (3) posting it publicly forces me to have some accountability! Plus, it gives a little insight into how we struggle with our little addictions, I guess – whatever they are.

    Congrats on quitting smoking! That is much harder, I think. Thanks so much for the tips.

  9. LOL Julie, I can relate! Only for me it’s Mountain Dew – full sugar, no diet! I got a little bit of a wake up call this spring when my doctor pointed out that I’d crossed the line into “overweight” territory, and that he expected me to be back on the right side of it by the time my next checkup came around. Then he suggested just making small changes that would add up over time. So I now limit myself to just one Dew a day (usually for lunch), and drink water the rest of the time. I also quit drinking coffee, because I can’t drink it without loading it up with a ton of creamer and sugar. I have chronic headaches, so I take a caffeine pill in the AM. But even then it’s a lot less than I used to take in, and definitely fewer empty calories! I really think cutting down gradually is the way to go. Good luck!

  10. You’re living my dream, Jennette! My ideal would be lots and lots of water, with one Coke as a treat per day. I never considered taking a caffeine pill to get me through the withdrawal. Interesting idea! Thanks.

  11. I know it’s tough. I’d try switching to club soda. You can buy it with flavor, so at least you have the carbonated feel, which is half the battle! Good luck! You post cracked me up though! Nice funny writing.

  12. Maybe a system of rewards might help?
    ie. one day with no soda and you buy yourself an ice cream (or other treat of choice that is not a soda). A week off of the soda, and you buy yourself a nice meal. And so on. 🙂

    I’ve never had an addiction to soda, but I do quite like my tea.

      1. Oh my goodness! That’s what I get for replying after a long day when I’m exhausted. A SPA day, for heaven’s sakes. A “spay day” is a whole other thing. :p

  13. I used to be the same way with Diet Mt. Dew–probably 3-4 a day. (I’m actually allergic to Coke so that keeps me away from it.) But then pregnancy cured me of the Mt. Dew and I went cold turkey. Post-pregnancy I was determined not to go back to it, so I switched to unsweetened iced tea (with sweet n low). I figured tea has some small health benefits and at least it wouldn’t eat the enamel on my teeth (which drinks like coke and mt.dew, if you’re looking for bad things to help you get off of it.) I am still addicted to caffeine though. If I don’t have tea first thing in the morning, I get a knock-me-on-my-butt migraine.

    Good luck!

    1. Yes, soda is bad for your teeth! There’s really nothing it’s good for…it’s just yummy. Tea has some health benefits, for sure. I love Teavana. Have you been there?

  14. Sorry for coming into this late Julie. I’m a smoker and have been in classes to learn ways to quite. Results have been varied depending on the day. What helped me in the beginning was keeping track of each time I had one. I dropped about 8 right away. Maybe something like that can help you.

  15. I’m a smoker and have been attending classes in order to quit. Results vary depending on the day. 🙂 When I first started the program they had us write down every time we had a cigarette. That little trick cut out 8 right off the bat. Maybe something like that would help you.

  16. Julie, I don’t know you, but you sure cracked me up. Go back and look at your reply to the rewards post. Depending on how many kids you have, your husband might approve!

    To stay on topic…I drink about 2-4 diet colas a day. I don’t care if it’s Pepsi or Coke. I do drink carbonated water too.

    P.S. – I’m still lol!

    1. I can’t believe I wrote “spay day”! Let that be a lesson to me to proofread even my comments. It did make my hubby laugh, though.

      I’m surprised that you don’t have a preference between Pepsi and Coke. I think they taste very different. I haven’t had Diet Pepsi, though. My diet drink of late has been Coke Zero, although Dr Pepper Ten is also good. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. As a fellow addict, Julie, I enjoyed this article very much.

    My dentist has been trying to get me to cut out the Coke for years now. He tells me how truly terrible it is for my teeth.

    And I tell him “what’s the big deal? You don’t need teeth to enjoy Coke!”

    1. Your comment made me laugh out loud. I don’t recall my dentist chiding me, but I know sodas aren’t good for teeth. What is good for teeth, though? Tea and coffee can stain them, sugar rots them, and meat and broccoli get stuck in between them. I say those bones need to toughen up and take a little more abuse without complaining so much. 😉

  18. Those sugar addictions are tough. I used to be addicted to eating fruit – literally, I ate 5 mangoes in one sitting every day for lunch. Sounds silly, but I was an unhealthy fruitarian till I ended up in the hospital with rampant infections fed by my sugar habit.

    Here’s a YouTube video by a tremendous author explaining the dangers of sugar to long-term health: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

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