Friday, March 11, 2016
Giving Up Coke Not An Easy Thing
Doctor's orders started his battle to give up that sweet drink
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2016 12:30 am
As you read this, I am a full week into my rehabilitation. I am well into the withdrawal stage. It has not been easy, thus far, and will probably get more difficult as things progress. But, I am determined to do what I have to do.
Yes, I have decided to go "cold turkey." I'm climbing onto the wagon. This is already one of the most difficult changes I have attempted since - well, parenting. Things are about to get ugly.
I am now entering my eighth consecutive day without Coke.
That's the soft drink, for those of you perhaps thinking something else. At the urging of my children, the advice of my doctor, and the threats of my wife and co-workers, I am pulling the plug on my one lifelong addiction (excluding the Red Sox). I am having neither a Coke nor a smile.
As you might have guessed, I am not doing this happily.
I am not and never have been a smoker. I am not a big drinker of alcohol. I don't drink coffee, don't really eat candy and don't even like pizza. I could easily sacrifice any of those common vices.
But Coke? My loyal friend in the bright red can? We go back a long way, and saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow.
When I say I drank a lot of Coke, that truly doesn't tell the story. I guzzled the stuff on a regular basis. I would go through six to 10 cans a day without a problem. And, no Diet Coke for me - only the good stuff.
I popped open a can first thing every morning. I would faithfully wash down my diabetes medication every night with a Coke. And during my busy days and relaxing weekends, the syrupy siren song of my caffeinated mistress would call out to me over and over.
I love the taste. It quenches my thirst. It's comforting, in an unhealthy, fattening way. And, it was always familiar.
And, despite my constant attempts to keep the Coca-Cola stock high, my sugar levels have always been somewhat within reason. That is, until recently. But, as I prepare this month to hit the next big milestone age number (it's the big one after 50, but I refuse to actually say it yet), the magic number is climbing and my options are shrinking.
So, I am in search of different things to drink. Chief among them is water, far and away the healthiest and safest. But, even in my bland life, water is boring. Still, every time I come up with an alternative, I'm told that is also not a good choice.
Diet sodas? Got that artificial stuff in them that is really bad. Fruit juices? Still too much sugar, can cause you problems.
Well-intentioned friends have offered suggestions involving various sparkling water and squeezed fruit, soda-making machines and natural flavors, and brands of other purportedly healthy drinks. I love them for it - but each one makes me want to run screaming into the night.
Other acquaintances and column readers have offered to send me more Coke. I think there's a message in there somewhere.
Of course, simply giving up Coke is not going to solve all my issues. There are matters of diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices that also need to be addressed.
Joining a gym was definitely a step in the right direction. However, I have discovered it really isn't effective unless you actually go to said facility every once in a while.
To say I have been a little on edge over the past week would be an understatement. Only my grandchildren have been safe from the grumpiness that has permeated my general disposition. My wife may be about a week away from directly injecting me with sugar in my sleep.
But of course, I am fortunate I can somewhat control my own destiny. There are many people with serious illnesses who are not so lucky. That makes the perils and misfortunes of an overweight guy complaining about not drinking soda pretty minor.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to step out of my office and go kick the soda machine. It's been mocking me.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.