02 Dec / Expensive Coke Habit
I’ve knocked back a few addictions in my time. Alcohol – done. Cigarettes – done. Dieting – done.
But a new addiction has crept up upon me. It’s sweet. It’s sparkling. It’s sugar-free. It’s Coke Zero.
A few years ago I thought it might help with my afternoon tendency to fall upon the sweet wagon and inhale if I had a sweet drink. Low-calorie and sugar-free of course. Otherwise it would just be replacing one bad habit with another.
I tried lemonade. I tried ginger ale. But I needed something stronger. Something with a little kick to it. Something with the buzz of caffeine to get me through those long afternoon hours until I could stumble through the front door fall upon the sofa kick up my feet and nosh down on some actual food.
And then our supermarket had a special on 8 cans of Coke Zero and I was sold.
Eight cans was a bit of an awkward number. I only needed one in the afternoon, and it’s only during the weekdays, so I bought two lots of eight expecting it to last for three weeks.
And it did. On the last day I couldn’t be arsed leaving one can on my desk (I like it room temperature) so I upped my intake to two. Magic.
On the following trip to the supermarket I came across the eighteen pack special. They were less than a dollar each. Bargain. That should easily last me for…
A week. That’s how long it lasted. A week. Shameful. But buzzy as well. Very, very buzzy.
I continued on in this fashion, three cans a day Monday-Tuesday, then end-of-the-week celebrations with four cans a day Wednesday- Thursday-Friday.
Then one trip to the supermarket left me perplexed as the eighteens cans were full price. Full price is quite a lot more than on special. Quite a lot more. So much that I felt guilty about paying that much money (or making my darling pay that much money) for something that was only going to last me a week.
Looking further afield I did notice that the thirty can pack was remarkably cheap though. Sorted.
My not-yet-addiction faded back to three cans a day because this made the carton last for a fortnight and I like precision. Fairly awesome.
That was two years ago. Last week I started the week off with a carton of thirty cans, and ended up going to the vending machine for the last one I needed on Friday.
That’s a bit out of control, isn’t it? That’s a bit in-your-face about time you got this sorted out, isn’t it? That’s a bit give up your last pleasure and surrender to the grim realities of oncoming death, isn’t it.
Yeah, well when I haven’t had my allocation of Coke Zero for the day I tend to get a bit overly dramatic!
If the years of giving things up have taught me anything, and they’d better have otherwise what was the point? they’ve taught me that when you give up you go COLD TURKEY.
None of this nonsense I’ll-just-cut-down-and-then-when-I-stop-altogether-it’ll-be-easy bollocks. If you’re gonna stop riding the needle you don’t cut it back to every once in a while, do you? No. You sign up to the methadone program and you take your three doses all at once in the morning like a grown-up.
Monday’s are a popular day for going cold turkey, but they don’t work so well when you’ve got change in your pocket and a vending machine in the cafe downstairs. Day one – failure.
But I had a secret weapon in my arsenal. Laziness. The floor below ours is being remodelled at the moment, and from today if I want access to a vending machine I have to walk across an airbridge to another building, walk downstairs, walk back across to our building through the outside courtyard and enter the cafe. Work the vending machine. Walk back to the opposite building. Walk upstairs and back across the airbridge and sit down at my desk (with cans of not at all room-temperature Coke Zero clutched in my chubby arms) and then have to take a break from work until I catch my breath.
You can see why I thought I was safe.
I caved by nine-thirty. Four cans. I even had to buy a packet of chips to break down the tenner I had on me because the Coke machine only takes coins or credit cards and I hate a row of $1.50 debits coming out of my credit card which is why I also avoid buying things in Farm Heroes.
Tomorrow I’m going to try to fool myself. I plan on taking a two-litre bottle of Sprite Zero into work and making myself drink it while appreciating the damn taste and who cares that it’s not sickly sweet? Who cares that it’s not all buzzy? Who cares that it reflects the light of my soul instead of the deep darkness of my psyche?
Coke Zero would care.
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