What Quitting Smoking Taught Me About Coke...
December 2nd 1985 was the last time I touched a cigarette and you know what? I still to this day have dreams in which I'm smoking and wake up in a panic that I've failed, only to realise it was just a dream.
I was in my early twenties and most people I knew smoked, I had no real reason to give up - although my mother constantly 'nagged' me whenever I saw her and my boss at work who I respected enormously detested any kind of smoking. This was back in the days before any kind of bans or segregation had been introduced. But one day a colleague of mine and myself decided we'd give up as a New Year's Resolution; we worked night shifts together every fourth night so agreed we could hold each other accountable. The plan was simple; we would have a practice run on Dec 1st to see if we had it in us to quit, then we'd commit to a final cigarette on New Year's Eve. That first day I 'borrowed' and smoked half a cigarette from another colleague. The following day I found myself alone in the workplace, (I had purposely not gone for a break to resist the temptation!) with someone else's pack of smokes, and even a lighter. I crumbled! I took a cigarette and smoked it. It didn't satisfy me in the slightest, it just made me feel disgusted with myself, and from then on, I never touched another one - ever! Help came from one expected quarter and one unexpected; my boss was overwhelmingly encouraging. And a friend offered me a smoke one morning before remembering I'd quit. I said yes without thinking but he was quick to react and point blank refused. His own words of encouragement was the great surprise as although we were friends, I expected banter and words of doubt in my resolve. (I don't think I ever did say "thanks Darren")
I have met many people trying to give up smoking; some would try to go 'cold turkey' but most would try to cut down or wean themselves off it slowly. I realised something about myself; I don't have the willpower to cut down, or to stop for a few days, smoke just the one, and then stop again. Because willpower is what it takes to do something short term, to make a temporary change - like a detox for example; we can give up certain foods for a short term on willpower alone - because we know it's only temporary. But to make a real change, to quit something forever - willpower is not enough, you can't survive on it. If you need further proof just look at all the diets out there that simply don't work. We need to totally reset our way of thinking.
Spring forward almost 30 years and I realise I'm drinking too much Coke. But I'm not addicted, not me, surely not, I'm certainly not about to admit such weakness as an addiction to Coke - I'd rather tell the world I was addicted to cocaine - at least that's an addiction that people take seriously. But sugar is addictive, arguably more so than cocaine and just look how much sugar is in Coke! So let's just say I had a bad Coke habit... I could give it up every time I did a detox or cleanse, (there's that willpower again!) but within days I'd be buying it again. I tried not keeping it in the house but that didn't do any good - it's everywhere you go! I'd even drive out just to buy a can, convincing myself that "it's a hot day and I'm thirsty - and water is dull."
So I searched back into my past for inspiration, (Dec 2nd 1985 to be exact) and told myself what I already knew - it had to be all or nothing. So that's what I did, I gave it my all; I did a week of sugar detox from the excellent book 'The 21 Day Sugar Detox' to give myself a kick start and a fighting chance, (plus a little help from my friend Will Power...) and vowed that I had drunk my last dose of chemical poison!!!
If you feel you have a 'bad habit' when it comes to either a brand of soda specifically, or just refined sugar in general think about this... Sugar IS addictive and should be looked on and treated as such - there are no half measures, no cutting down, you need to quit!
If this resonates with you; forget willpower alone and maybe try my approach - and let me know how it goes - good luck!