Hi, my name is Toni, and I am a coke-addict.
It all began as a child, with something so innocent as having a cold can of Coca-cola after a ballgame. Growing up, I was never actually denied soda. As I got older, I had to have more, and one can became two, two became three, and so on. I loved the feel of a cool aluminum can in my hand. I loved the sound made by popping the tab. I loved the bubbles that went up my nose as I breathed in the aroma of a newly opened cherry coke. By the time I was 20 years old, I could chug coke by the 2 liter bottle, preferably warm since it went down easier.
I had my first run-in with the evils of coke at 21. I was drinking, and driving, so fixated on finishing my coke before I had to get out of the car, that the next thing I knew, I had rear-ended some poor sailor’s truck. We both jumped out of our vehicles and I began apologizing immediately when I saw his totally dented bumper. Luckily I was super-hot and the sailor was smitten by my coke-covered dress. I left the scene of the accident without so much as leaving him my (real) phone number. Because I had spilled my coke all over myself, I stopped at the nearest gas station and got another one. I’m not proud of what I did, but that’s what soda does to a person.
My undying quest for caffeine was taken to the next level when my own father-in-law introduced me to the ultimate high–sugar and coffee. I was amazed at how much more quickly the caffeine took effect. I loved the jolt it gave me at 6:30 a.m. That extra burst of energy seemed to be just what I needed, and I was instantly hooked.
I knew I had a problem when I couldn’t make it through the day without downing at least a pot full of the stuff. I couldn’t get to sleep at night. The second I got out of bed in the morning, all I could think about was where my next fix would come from.
Then during the holiday season of 2005, things took a turn for the worse. I gained almost 10 pounds in a month, and I was acting like Will Ferrell in "Kicking and Screaming". My kids were afraid of me in the mornings. I raged and pined for coke all day long. I had the shakes when I drank less than 6 cups of coffee.
Finally, I knew I had to face my addiction. If I didn’t get rid of my coke habit, the fight to look good in my little sister’s upcoming fall wedding would be lost forever.
I quit as close to cold turkey as you can get on January 1, 2006. That day was the start of a new and different me. I was calmer, happier. I was no longer a slave to caffeine and high fructose corn syrup. I lost over 10 pounds without really trying. Life was good.
I’ve had a few relapses since that fateful day. In fact, I’m off the wagon even as I type this. Staying caffeine-free hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve had a few slip-ups on my journey to being soda-sober. It’s a long road ahead–I will fight this addiction for the rest of my life. But with the support of my family and the cooperation of my ninja dog, I believe I can manage my caffeine intake and use coke in a healthy way. And this April, at my second little sister’s wedding, I won’t look like I’ve hidden a litter of squabbling piglets under my silky bridesmaid’s dress. My husband will be so proud.
I love you, Caleb, and I’m proud of you, too. Keep on fighting the good fight.