I have a drinking problem.
But it’s not booze. Fact is, I’ve only had one drink of alcohol in my life.
It happened in church (not my church) when I was on a mission trip (Indonesia) during communion (yep, it was real wine). So the only time I’ve consumed alcohol was by accident.
I learned two things that day:
- It’s ok to ask if it’s wine or juice.
- Some churches only let you get in the communion line 5 or 6 times.
I made a personal decision not to drink alcohol when I was thirteen. It wasn’t a spiritual revelation, a youth group vow, or even a moral decision. I made the decision because of Coke (meaning Coca-Cola, not the white powdery stuff).
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a minor, ok maybe not minor, addiction to Coke.
People have asked me if it’s the caffeine, the carbonation, or the sugar.
The answer is yes.
I love every part of Coke: the taste, the burn, and the sound of the bubbles when one is opened. The first drink creates a sense of Nirvana where stress is temporarily suspended and an inner sense of personal freedom partners with a personal departure from all negative feelings. Plus, it’s great with Mexican food.
I’ve met a few folks over the years with the same addiction. There are some who claim they have the same issue with Pepsi but they’re called marketers and they work for PepsiCo.
Someone once said, “Enjoy it in moderation. Just don’t drink too much of it.” What I’ve discovered is that it’s all or nothing for me.
There’s a Blake Shelton song where he sings, “If I have one, I’ll have thirteen. Naw, there ain’t no in-between. ‘Cause the more I drink, the more I drink.” That about sums it up.
So, my 13 year old self reasoned that if I went this nuts over Coke, I would be instantly hooked if I developed a taste for liquor. I could see myself becoming a raging alcoholic, damaging my life, family, and ministry.
I didn’t want that for my life.
And I’ve stayed away from it for all of these years, except for that one mishap (which is a great story now).
But, and this is a gigantic but, it’s time for me to slow down on my Coke consumption. If I don’t stop my consumption, real damage can happen to my body. So, to ensure the end of my favorite form of stress relief, my wife has partnered with the medical community, some other really mean people, and a few corporate spies to ensure that I stop drinking Coca-Cola. They’re not afraid to rat me out or chew me out when they catch me drinking Coke. After I finish hating them, I usually appreciate what they’ve done. Usually.
I understand that too much Coke may lead to diabetes, higher blood pressure, heightened uric acid levels (which causes gout and kidney stones) and it can also make me fat.
As much as I hate to say this, I’ve decided to try to give up Coke for good. I’ve been off it for a few days as of this writing.
Someone said, “You probably won’t want one after the first day.”
May I just say, “They told an outrageously horrible falsehood and deserve to be severely punished and banished forever to a barren wasteland where there is no beauty or vegetation.”
Sorry, I’m a little out of whack because of the caffeine and sugar withdrawals.
*Photo courtesy of Giorgio Trovato and Unsplash.
I wish you luck in giving up coke. I was the same way many years ago but my addiction was Mt. Dew. Oh, how I loved it. But my weight got out of control and I thought I’d die having to get used to the Diet Mt. Dew. Then about the time I decided it wasn’t all that bad, my doctor told me it was even worse for me than regular Mt. Dew! WHAT?? So I gave it up many years ago. Actually, I gave up all soft drinks. Believe it or not, I don’t like any of them now. Not even my beloved Mt. Dew! I tried a few sips of regular coke the other day and couldn’t believe it actually gagged me from the sweetness. I wondered how I EVER used to drink it glass after glass. Maybe our taste buds just change as we age or maybe there is something that happens to us when we do give it up.
Gail, thanks so much for sharing. I used to drink Mt. Dew periodically when I was younger, especially Code Red. I don’t know if it’s true but I heard it had a higher amount of caffeine than Coke. It’s great to hear your success story. I have five days in now, so we’ll see how it goes for me. Thanks again!
I loved Code Red too and also heard it had a higher amount of caffeine in it too.