Friday, September 3, 2010

Do I need a 12-step program?

If I were in a 12 step program, this is probably what my first meeting would sound like:

“Ladies and gentlemen, can we please quiet down, we’re ready to start our meeting. Tonight, our newest member will introduce herself. Please give a warm welcome to…..Nancy!”

“Ahem. Hello, my name is Nancy and I’m addicted to diet coke.”

Yes, that’s how my first meeting would go. Then, as I moved on to personal therapy, my first session might go something like this:

“Can you tell me what, in your opinion, caused you to be addicted to diet coke”?

“Um, well yes, I think so. A very long time ago I used to have a house mate and she used to buy diet coke at Costco all the time. There was always diet coke in the house. I think I started drinking it because it was there”.

“Ok, go on.”

“Then, when I realized that there weren’t any calories in it, I thought this was a good thing and so I drank as much of it as I wanted.”

“Hmmm, I see. How much were you drinking back then?”

“Well, um, I would say about one or two cans a day.”

“Really? And how about now? How many would you say you drink now?”

“Uh, um, uh, well now, let’s see…..If I have diet coke in the house, I would say that I could easily drink a 2 liter bottle all to myself. Although, I much prefer it from a fountain and it’s easier to get that way as you don’t even have to get out of the car.”

“All to yourself? Wow. Um, have you thought about a detox program, or, have you heard of aspartame?”

“What would a detox program entail?”

“It would entail NOT DRINKING ANY MORE DIET COKE and perhaps putting some PLAIN WATER into your body for a change. It might mean some pretty intense head aches and possibly some irritability, but I think you could handle it.”

“Um, Mr. Therapist, I don’t think I can do it. I mean, plain water??? Are you serious? Isn’t there water actually IN diet coke? Why would I need water?”

And so, this is my dilemma. This seems like such an easy problem to fix, and yet, I really don’t want to.

***Sigh. What’s a girl to do? I need to do something because this diet coke thing is getting out of hand. The truth is, in addition to the diet coke, I drink about two cups of coffee in the mornings and sometimes at night. Clearly there is a caffeine addiction here. Don't tell anyone, but I'm also addicted to FOOD. You know, there are some pretty impressive studies out there that link diet sodas (aspartame) and excess weight to cancer. Sometimes, I wonder, if this is what happened to me.

People always tell me to let go of the past and move forward. That sounds great, but, how do you move forward? When you have used food (and drink...the non alcoholic kind) to comfort and soothe you in times of emotional stress and anxiety, it's very hard to quit "cold turkey". I know I need to put on my big girl panties and just do it. I'm debating about doing the whole Weight Watcher thing again (for the umpteenth time). I don't know. I'm just in a predicament right now and I'm not sure how to get out of it. Sigh***


Mum2eight said...

for me it was just a matter of living with the pain. I think there is no avoiding it. I was totally addicted to Coke zero. It came from having it around too.

I still drink it, but I have cut right back. I use to go through a 2 litre bottle as well easily. The most I have now is 1 600 ml bottle.

I also always go without during lent. Maybe that would be a good time for you to do the cold turkey Nancy. Maybe you could set a time line that had you drinking more water and less coke between now and lent and then cutting it out during lent. You know that the Sundays during lent are a celebration of the Resurrection? Have a glass of coke to celebrate. That is what I do and the coke tastes fantastic when you have been without for that long.

scmom (Barbara) said...

Don't buy it. At the store. In the drive-thru. Just don't buy it. I quit Diet Coke a couple years ago and I never regretted it. I really started thinking about the fact that maybe it causes cancer (and other health issues), and I just really don't want cancer. Neither do you, Nancy. ;-) Just think of it as poison, and it won't be hard to give it up.

Occasionally I have a root beer and that tastes really good -- no comparison to Diet Coke. Water tastes good too (I use a Brita filter) once you get the taste of Diet Coke out of your head.

scmom (Barbara) said...

btw -- when I was diagnosed with IC, I learned that diet soda (any) is wicked bad for your bladder. If it's that bad for your bladder think of all the places it touches on the way there.

Frizzy and Bird said...

Nancy, I'm fighting the battle of giving up coke again myself. I gave it up for almost 2 months earlier this spring but July hit and off the wagon I went.

I have 2 cokes left in the fridge. When they're gone they're gone. A cheat I've used to come off w/o the headaches is subbing green ice tea and tons of water. Add lemon or some other kind of flavor you like. See if that helps.

Also, pray for God's help and ask him to take away the w/d symptoms and cravings. Seriously, I couldn't have gone 2 days let alone 2 months without him by my side.

Mary333 said...

May I snicker first before admitting my own difficulties in this area? I first met Diet Coke in my twenties and it was love at first sight. Nothing like a good ole Diet Coke! On tap if possible but bottles or cans would do in a pinch. Gulping down a Double Gulp? No problem! I inherited the Diet Coke gene from my dad (who until this day drives to 7-11 for his daily Big Gulp - which is less than he used to drink, though). My sister Kathy has this gene, also :)
I knew I was drinking way too much of it and read that aspartame was an excitotoxin that affected the brain so I knew that I had to either cut back or give it up. First I switched to decaf Diet Coke and then over to tea and water. I stopped having any in my house at all. If I wanted one I had to drive to the store and get a decaf. I had thought that part of my muscle and bladder pain might be due to the Diet Coke but giving it up didn't seem to make a difference in this area. It took the healing service to do that.

Here's a funny thing:
My dad has problems voiding his bladder. One night my dad had a dream that Mother Mary told him to not drink as much Diet Coke! He cut back and stopped having trouble in this area but when he has too much soda he has trouble again and can't urinate! So it does affect some people oddly.

Having said all this:
There's nothing better than an occasional Diet Coke...on tap of course ;)

Laura said...

I know other friends who have tried to break the "D.C" habit.
Not easy.
It's a strong craving.
Good luck!

Barb, sfo said...

I second what Barbara already said. Just don't have it in the house--or anywhere.
I've been scaling back on soda (regular cola) for a while now and I find that I don't even much want it. Suddenly I want 7-Up or ginger ale, which I never used to touch! (What's up with that?)

Instead I am drinking more water and decaf semi-sweet iced tea.

Joyfull said...

I'm visiting from Everything Home With Carol and saw you were from Florida! We also live in North Florida, so I wanted to say hello to a neighbor!

As I was growing up, my mom (no joke), fed us a steady diet of soda. There was no other choice at the house, so I grew up very addicted to soda. NEVER wanted to drink water, couldn't stand the thought of it! When I got married and began buying my own groceries, I knew daily soda needed to slow down. I began drinking water with lots of lemon only with my meals and eliminating that one soda. I started drinking lemonade in place of soda at other times. When my taste buds grew more accustomed to water, I would gradually phase out a glass every now and then for water. Now after several years, I drink my two cups of coffee in the morning and water throughout the day. You can do it! It may take time to replace the habit, but it can be done. Prayers and blessings as you seek to improve your health.

Colleen said...

I can sympathize. I struggle with this too. Not easy. And now ice coffee is a new love of mine!


Additions of any kind are bad. But at least when you drink to much diet coke or over eat and drive you car you probably won't kill anyone because of your addiction.

Sarah Oldham said...

It's hard, but don't buy it. Do not get it as a "treat" or you'll be treating yourself often. Here's what I do: think how nasty and unhealthy it is all.the.time. Take motrin for the detox headaches only if you need it. Drink water very very cold. You'll get used to it.
Take it from me, I am in the total detox stage of coffee (decaf and regular) and it stinks, but I know I will be healthier once I am not addicted any longer.
HUGS and God bless.
Oh, and I believe you can do it.

Anonymous said...

OK, I am behind on things, but I have the same issue. I like Therese's idea of doing it at Lent. We should start our own support group!