I’ve always tried to be the poster child of clean living. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 25 years. I try to minimize my sugar intake. I never add salt to anything. But a few years back I found myself face-to-face with one vice that I didn’t want to give up. That vice was drinking pop (or soda, depending on where you live.)
I was addicted to Cherry Coke and I didn’t have any problem with that. In fact, I felt entitled to drink my coke whenever I needed it. I didn’t drink coffee or tea or anything like that. So I felt completely justified in drinking my Cherry Coke.
I drank it at home. It was how I woke up in the morning.
But my FAVORITE time to drink it was when I was driving. Ahhhhh! There was nothing like a SUPER SIZE coke from McDonald’s for $1 when I was getting groceries or running errands. If I had to do something I didn’t enjoy, like driving from store to store, then my Cherry Coke made it all better.
But I suffered from heartburn. And I knew I was addicted to caffeine… which bothered me. And then I saw pictures of how much sugar was in each glass of pop – and I knew that someday I would have to address this little addiction of mine.
But not right then.
In fact, whenever I thought about giving up my pop, I would say to myself, “That’s my only vice.” As if that made it alright. Plus, I knew that sugar was better for me than artificial sweetener, right?!?
Giving it up
Anyway, one day I decided enough was enough. I was carrying some extra weight and I had read enough studies about how unhealthy pop was… so I decided it was time to try giving it up.
I’m an all or nothing kind of girl – so I gave it up cold turkey.
Let me tell you – it was NOT fun. I found myself thinking about my Cherry Coke. I craved it something fierce! And I couldn’t drive past a McDonald’s without THINKING about drinking a pop. Fortunately, I had enough willpower and I stuck with it. I made it through the headaches and the withdrawals and I became a non-pop drinker.One thing that helped me tremendously was that I started to drink green tea instead. I had a few glasses each morning to help me wake up. It was nice to be able to replace my pop with a healthier option. Whenever I would go anywhere in the car, I made sure to bring a glass of green tea or a bottle of water to help me fight my pop temptation.
Speaking of temptation, it was a full year before I stopped craving pop so badly. It wasn’t a physical reaction that I was having. It was all a mind game! But those mental addictions are the hardest to break, anyway.
The hardest times for me were when I was driving in the car and when I was at family gatherings where other people were drinking pop.
Vice conquered… or was it?
After a year of not having one single drop of pop, I went on a road trip with my sisters. We were headed on a two hour jaunt to see our only living grandmother. And my sisters were both drinking pop. I decided that since it had been so long since I’d had pop, I should be able to indulge myself and have just one pop while driving with them without getting addicted again. So, we stopped at McDonald’s and we all got a pop.
And guess what. It tasted disgusting! That flavor that I used to crave and had such a fond feeling about now reminded me of battery acid. I couldn’t even finish it.
I actually think that caving in and having that final taste of pop was good for me. It helped to erase the illusion that pop was something I would enjoy drinking again.
This experience happened to me about five years ago and I’m pleased to say that I have been pop free ever since.
If you are also fighting a pop addiction, here are three things I would advise:
- Replace pop with a healthier drink such as water or green tea
- Know your triggers – be prepared to fight temptation when it hits
- Never, never, never give up
If you find yourself caving to the craving, don’t give up. Tomorrow is a new day. Start in again resolved that you won’t give in the next time. If you keep up the fight, eventually it will stick and you will be so glad you did it!
Of course, once you kick your pop addiction, you’ll learn about something else that you need to change. It was a huge self-delusion that I only had one vice. Now, I’m considering giving up dairy because I think I have a food sensitivity to it. And I might try giving up bottled water because the BPA in the plastic isn’t good for me. I guess it’s always something.
How about you? Do you have a pop addiction? Do you have that one vice that you’ve been trying to conquer? Please leave a comment below!