Saturday, December 30, 2006


I've maintained for some time that Diet Coke is one of the most addictive substances around. I started drinking it in the last decade, kind of amused by my friend Tracy's addiction. If you look around, you'll see that people who drink Diet Coke, drink a LOT of Diet Coke. They don't just have it once and awhile. Not only is it the favored drink of us bigger folks, and the perpetually thin dieting ones, I notice it often in the clutches of my non-alcohol-drinking alcoholic friends.

I gave it up on November 14th. My accupunturist suggested it, but I was ready, feeling like it was causing some ill effects. Secretly feeling like it was making me even more hungry. So I gave it up. And now I think about it everyday. I don't feel better. I constantly want one. Sometimes I even dream about it. I dreamed I drank one and panicked. It doesn't seem to feel easier, though I keep putting it off one more day. I've switched to water and tea.

That is until yesterday. Yesterday the air was heavy and humid. I'd been up late the night before, several nights before, and just couldn't get into gear. I wanted a Diet Coke. All day long. I put it off minute by minute. Eventually, out for dinner before Blood Diamond I ordered one. It tasted great!

In this recent Newsweek article, Dr. Nora Volkow, who's dedicated her life to studying addiction said, "I've never met anyone who thought they would become addicted..."
The article continues to report, "...brain science is proving that we all have the potential to become addicted to something: drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, gambling, even food. And while we may think that being addicted to food is not as bad as being addicted to heroin, researchers are learning that all addictions are more alike than was previously thought. Becoming an addict is more a matter of chance than we ever realized; mix the right combination of genetics and life experience, and anyone could find himself addicted to something."

I can't find the reference but I have this vague memory from the original Whole Earth catalogue. In an entry about addiction, it talked about how your addictions ground you. Give you a reason for being. Like if you had your cigarettes, it was ok to leave the house. You had all you needed, in the palm of your hand. (I've often that was part of the ipod's initial appeal - it was the same size as a pack of smokes for all us ex-addicts. You see the syndrome everywhere now with phones and blackberries...)

I quit smoking 21 years ago after 16 years of loving it. I quit for the first time in 1978 cold turkey. Maintaining for about a year and half until the compulsion kicked up it's ugly head. It was simply too loud to ignore -- though I tried. I remember thinking, this must be like what the drive to murder feels like. I quit again using group hypnosis in 1985. I still miss it. The desire remains though I don't dare. Addiction's a bitch, even in these rather benign forms. Thank God I didn't have the chemistry for the harder stuff.

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