Diet Coke addictions are real. Oh, you think, it’s a legal substance, you can buy it at the supermarket, it’s given to children, how bad could it be? Sirin Kale, a writer for The Guardian, describes the plight of Diet Coke dependency more poetically than I ever could, since I only lived with a Diet Coke addict and personally can’t stand the stuff.
Until recently, Kale swigged Diet Coke all day long, five to seven cans a day. She was known to run out in the middle of the night to make sure her morning can would be waiting in the fridge when she woke up. The staff at her local grocery store knew her habit so well, they would remind her to buy her usual 24-can pallet if they thought she forgot. Last year, Kale’s doctor prescribed medication for a stomach condition that, she writes, “was almost certainly triggered by my overconsumption of Diet Coke, according to my GP. If enduring an endoscopy won’t stop you drinking fizzy drinks, you know you are addicted.”
So she decided to spend the month of January weaning herself off Diet Coke. She consulted several therapists—an addiction expert, a behavior counselor, and a hypnotherapist—and spent time on a Diet Coke addiction Facebook group. Her boyfriend also helped by counting cans in the fridge so she couldn’t sneak more than her daily allotment. She learned that physical caffeine addiction is real; that when you’re trying to kick an addiction on your own, the best thing is to be kind to yourself; that it’s possible to live without Diet Coke; and that now that she’s overcome her addiction, her brain is free for other things and it’s a wonderful feeling. Also, she doesn’t have to worry about rotting her teeth or developing ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems, and she doesn’t have to cart mountains of cans down to recycling every week.
Such an inspiring tale! And if you or a loved one is experiencing a Diet Coke addiction, know that you—or they—are not alone, and that it is possible to get the monkey off your/their back.