Saturday, January 16, 2010

My 2010 Soda-Free Failure

As part of her new year's resolution, my friend Arleen decided to give up processed sugar, her reasoning being that anything that incorporates processed sugar (i.e., junk food) can't possibly be good for the human body, so why consume it? I thought that was pretty sound logic, and decided to take a page from her book and make 2010 my soda-free year.

I should start off by saying that I was never a big soda drinker. Growing up, soda was never a constant staple of our household food and drink supply (except on special occasions such as birthdays or sleep-overs). On the occasions my family dined out, I would imbibe, but those instances were few and far between. Even after getting my driver's license and with it the independence to eat or drink anywhere I damn well pleased, I still didn't go crazy in the soda department--I was so used to not drinking it. This attitude lasted after I moved out, even after I graduated college, but recently, it's all gone to hell.

The department where I work has a staff refrigerator. Within that refrigerator, among the salads, sandwiches, yogurts and puddings that make up my coworkers' lunches and snacks, is a well-stocked supply of soda. Pepsi. Diet Pepsi. Diet Mountain Dew. And the crown jewel--Diet Dr. Pepper. The soda supply technically operates on an honor system--take a soda, and put 50 cents in the petty cash fund so we can buy more. But my growing disenchantment with my work environment coupled with the fact that now the sodas are donated--not purchased out of somebody's own pocket, but donated from Pepsi--have caused me to just help myself willy-nilly. I look at not paying the requested 50 cents as "sticking it to the man" as well as an unnecessary action--after all, if the soda is donated, why do we need to contribute money to pay for the supply? Unfortunately for me, though, it has caused me to consume more soda than I ever have before--up to a can a day on most weekdays, and sometimes a Coke or two on the weekends.

I'm loathe to use the word addiction, as I think our society tends to use it rather loosely ("I'm addicted to American Idol!" "I'm addicted to chap stick!"), but I think I might have a little bit of one. The first week of 2010 I was grumpy when my afternoon soda time came around (I usually drink in the afternoons). Whenever I would go to the fridge to get my lunch, I would look longingly at those little twelve-ounce cans, and think about all the good times we used to have--the satisfying crack! the can would make when I opened it, the anticipation I got as I put the can to my lips, the joy that would ensue when those little carbonated bubbles tickled my tongue. Then I would think about the new year's resolution I made, the one banning me from hanging out with my little carbonated friend, grudgingly close the refrigerator door and fill a Dixie cup with filtered water from our water cooler. I would be plagued with thoughts about soda for the rest of the day, namely how much I wanted one. If you took the soda out of these scenarios and replaced it with cigarettes, it could be interpreted as an addiction.

Two weeks into 2010, I've fallen off the wagon. The first drink was a Vanilla Coke. And it was the best soda drink ever. It was like being reunited with an old friend. In fact, I had to resist the urge to look at the bottle in my hand and say, "Hello, old friend." And I've imbibed on five occasions since then (two of the occasions were today, in fact; I had Coke with some sushi I ordered and I tried to make a "Coke Martini" which failed--miserably. FYI: shaking Coke and vodka in a shaker doesn't work all that well and is kind of white trash). Some (okay, most) would consider this a failure. And they would be right. But I like to find the silver lining in everything, and that silver lining is this: my soda drinking habits aren't nearly as bad as they were before I decided to give it up. In fact, I've grown to actually like water and find myself craving it when I'm thirsty instead of soda. And I've been in situations where I've turned down soda in favor of healthier drinking options. So in that respect, I think I'm making progress. And as for my friend Arleen--other than a snafu that involved a three bean salad, she is still trucking along and carefully avoiding processed sugar. Better woman than I am.


  1. Thanks for the linkage! :) And PS... Lent's coming up. Maybe it's a new chance to try life soda-free!

  2. You're welcome! And I did not think about Lent! That is a great time to give up soda. It's on. I'm giving up soda for Jesus.