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Sunday Book Read: Stop Drinking Soda in 3 Easy Steps

I didn’t drink soda as a child. Back in the day… we did not have access to soda, my Mom didn’t buy it. I remember my Dad loved his orange Nehi. He would buy a bottle out of a machine only when we would head to the beach for the camping weekend and savor it.

We didn’t drink Coke or Pepsi. We would have root beer on occasion. As time has gone by soda drinking has become the next American pastime after baseball, filling grocery shelves and pantries as a staple in our diets.

But I still rarely drank soda. It wasn’t until the 90s and the ease of getting soda at the convenience store fountain I found myself with a serious soda consumption habit. I loved a big cup of coke. I loved how it burned going down my throat, cold and sparkly. I didn’t care about the caffeine element… I didn’t think that’s what I liked about coke. I could drink ginger ale and love every sip.

After a dear friend passed from cancer, I had an awareness I had no interest in dying from “coke cancer” and I quit. Cold turkey- I stopped drinking soda. It was deliberate and determined – there was no reason to poison myself. I didn’t even get a headache.

Wow. Impressive right! My soda freedom lasted for two years until one day, I fell down the bleachers at a football game and thought I broke my leg. Oh, my goodness, the pain was unbearable. After I got to the emergency room – I said to my sister. “I need a coke… I have got to get a coke get me a coke.” She laughed and got me a coke. I felt this immediate rush and release of emotional anxiety as soon as I took my first sip… it tasted awful, but I didn’t care. I had to have it. I laid back on the gurney, relieved and relaxed… I didn’t care about my injury. I had my fix.

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I would drink at least one can of soda a day but typically 2 or 3. Or if I was at work, I would have a 32-ounce cup that would last all day. But I would also get a soda on my way home. I would justify my consumption:

  • I don’t drink the whole 32 ounces
  • It’s just ice
  • I like the fizz

I don’t even want to figure out how much money I spent on soda over the years. But each week, it was at least $30 spread out between what I buy at the store in cans, bottles and what I buy on the road in fountain cups or eating out. That’s $1,560 a year on average. I would go without food items to buy a coke. Classic addiction.

There are many reasons we become addicted to foods, drinks and other substances. Science now tell us, the sugar amounts in our soda drinks can be as damaging to your brain and body as heroin or alcohol addictions. But underlying it all is the simple fact:

  • We like how it feels
  • It satisfies an emotional comfort signal in our brains
  • And it’s  habit born out of fear of going without – a coke ( or your soda of choice)

I would laugh with the clerks at the local convenience store as I filled my cup, pointing fingers in jest at each other … “yep, just getting my morning medicine”

Being addicted to soda will not land me in the homeless shelter or in jail for distributing illicit bottles of homemade cola… and we don’t shoot it up or smoke it! So… what’s the harm?

Everyone can decide what the harm is for themselves, but the science confirming there is no nutritional benefit from drinking soda is solid.

Don’t forget all that sugar in each can or cup.

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So…  step one is the beginning of the cure. Stop drinking soda.

I’m addicted no more. Yes, it took a real desire to not want to drink soda. That’s the key. No desire. I am motivated to not spend the money… but that isn’t enough. I had to change how I thought about drinking soda before my desire to be a “non-soda drinker” was the ruling motivation.

Willpower is not the answer. So, don’t worry about white knuckling the journey to be sugar- soda free. You do not have to rely on will power. Just follow the three steps and become soda free.

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