My Drinking Problem

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:

  1. It’s ok to ask if it’s wine or juice.
  2. 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.

Life Moves Pretty Fast…

(Disclaimer: Some have claimed that this post is basically recycled lines from a 1980’s movie starring Matthew Broderick. Those claims are outrageous and absolutely true.)

Radio Host: It’s a beautiful day in John’s body with a temperature expected to hover around 98.6. Morning workout and healthy breakfast enter his room and find him in bed long after it’s time to exercise eating packaged donuts and drinking a Coke. 

Morning Workout: Healthy breakfast!

Healthy Breakfast: What’s the matter?

Morning Workout: Oh, it’s John.

Healthy Breakfast: What’s wrong?

Morning Workout: What’s wrong? For Pete’s sake, look at him and what he’s eating.

Healthy Breakfast: (leans in close) John?

Morning Workout: He doesn’t have a fever, but he says his stomach hurts and he’s seeing spots.

Healthy Breakfast: What’s the matter, Buddy?

John: (looks down at his food) Oatmeal? Blueberries?

Morning Workout: Look at his tummy, it’s large and flabby. 

Healthy Breakfast: (Pats John’s stomach and makes a frowny face) Oooh.

John: Ok, I’ll get up and exercise. (Starts to get up)

Morning Workout and Healthy Breakfast: No! (Pushes him back into bed)

John: I have to eat something healthy. (Tries to get up again)

Morning Workout and Healthy Breakfast: (Pushes John back into bed) No!

John: I have to work out. I want to eat a good breakfast so I can have a healthy body and a fruitful life.

Morning Workout: You are not going to exercise in this condition. 

Proper Hydration: (Enters John’s room. Crosses her arms and taps right foot) Oh fine, what’s this? What’s his problem?

Healthy Breakfast: He doesn’t feel well.

Proper Hydration: Yeah, right. Look at what he’s eating and drinking in bed. I wouldn’t use that to fertilize the lawn.

John: Hydration? Is that you? Hydration? I can’t see that far. Proper Hydration? I… (falls back into bed)

Proper Hydration: No big breakfast or workout, Junior? Granola? Morning walk?

Healthy Breakfast: Go on now, Proper Hydration. (turns to comfort John) What he needs is a McGriddle and a Coke.

Proper Hydration: He gets to eat like that in bed? I can’t believe this. If I was bleeding out of my eyes, you guys would make me provide hydration for those who exercise and eat well. This is so unfair!

John: Hydration, please don’t be upset with me. You have your health. Be thankful…

Proper Hydration: That’s it. I want out of this health and fitness relationship. 

John: (Pulls blanket up to his neck). I’ll just sleep late. Maybe I’ll have a few slices of pizza around noon. 

Morning Workout: (Sits on the edge of bed, tucking John in) Now, I’m teaching about fiber to that new couple from Vermont today so my office will know just where I am if you need me, ok?

Healthy Breakfast: I’ll check on you too, Pal.

John: It’s nice to know that I have such loving, caring habits that look the other way at times. You’re both very special. 

(Morning Workout and Healthy Breakfast smile at each other)

Morning Workout: Now you get better Pumpkin.

John: Ok, Pumpkin…

Morning Workout and Healthy Breakfast: We love you sweetie.

John: I love you too. And it’s all about me me me me me. 

Morning Workout and Healthy Breakfast hold hands as they exit.

John: (Leans up in bed with donut crumbs falling down his chest, looks at the camera and smiles) They bought it.

John: (Stands up, opens a Slim Jim and cracks open a second Coke) Incredible. One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second. How could I possibly be expected to exercise and eat healthy on a day like this.

Acting like I’m not feeling well in order to treat myself poorly and eat what I want is a little childish and stupid, but then again, so is exercise. 

Life moves pretty fast, but it won’t if you follow my example. If you don’t stop and really look at what you’re doing to yourself once in a while, you could miss it.

*Image by Toronto artists Sarah Keenlyside and Joe Clement

I Blew It!


A week ago, I shared my plan with the world to wean myself off of Coca-Cola. Some of you agreed to help keep me accountable. Others of you encouraged me online or in person. Here’s my Coke consumption status update:

I BLEW IT!!!!!

My plan looked something like this:

Wednesday: 32 oz

Thursday: 28 oz

Friday: 24 oz

Saturday: 20 oz

Sunday: 16 oz

Monday: 12 oz

Tuesday: 10 oz

Wednesday: 8 oz

Thursday: 0 oz.

My actual consumption looked more like this:

Wednesday: 32 oz

Thursday: 28 oz

Friday: 978 oz

Saturday: 24 oz

Sunday: 20 oz

Monday: 20 oz

Tuesday: 20 oz

Wednesday: 16 oz

Ok, so I went a bit overboard on Friday. (I actually just lost count. I didn’t actually drink 978 oz. This disclaimer is for the extremely literal readers)

I actually meant to cut down on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, except I spent those days in a hospital waiting room because of the surgery of a family member. Unfortunately, the hospital administration had made a deal with Satan to only sell Pepsi products. If I’m weaning myself off of Coke, a Pepsi is just not going to do. A Dr. Pepper might suffice if I’m in extreme pain, but Pepsi, ugh. So, I drove down the street to a convenience store that only sold 20 oz. Coke products.

But, now, as you can see, I’m back on track. I have managed to cut my Coca-Cola consumption in half.


Here’s my revised plan for the remainder of the week:

Wednesday: 16 oz

Thursday: 12 oz

Friday: 10 oz

Saturday: 8 oz

Sunday: 0 oz

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone.  Please keep the communication flowing.  It’s helping me so much.