Is there anybody out there?

Like a religious hermit, or a post apocalyptic survivor, I have emerged from my self-enforced isolation (from fizzy drinks) blinking and full of mixed emotions. Sunday night marked the end of a successful 28 day challenge to drink no carbonated beverages. Not one drop. The focus was on avoiding cola, as my drink of choice for most of my life after I got to the point of regularly drinking one to two 2l bottles a day. Hey, even with deals like 3 for £3, that gets expensive.

I also wanted to take the chance to explore some issues about addiction generally. Things which affect smokers, alcoholics, gamblers, obsessive eaters.  I tried to use a trivial challenge to open up a discussion on some very serious issues which have probably touched everybody – through personal problems to knowing people who have had and continue to battle with these issues daily.

During the four weeks we learned how hard it was to avoid reminders of our addictions in everything we do. You can’t simply walk away from the problem. I was bombarded by imagery for Coca-Cola on the first day of the challenge. Imagine how it is for a gambler to see all these advertisements for football betting making it look fun and sociable. Or the booze culture in Britain where people often look at you sideways when you say your teetotal. To this day my ex-classmates repeatedly pledge to get me drinking. They see not drinking alcohol as odd. Why drink if you can have a fun time without alcohol? And as for smoking, well that might be the one exception. As a combination of government and health initiatives have risen the price of smokes dramatically in recent years, banned advertising and required special licenses to sell them. Still however, for those generations who took up smoking when it was the ‘cool’ thing to do, quitting is a very difficult business. My mother regularly cites the fact that my dad won’t give up smoking so she never will be able to. Seeing, and smelling my Dad smoking would just be too much of a temptation.

—– The following was written at a later date:

Due to a build up of work and technical problems with my computer I have been unable to finish off this blog post. I thought I would still post it however and give a round up of where I am at with my coke habits. That sounds wrong doesn’t it? Anyway, I am back drinking the bubbly stuff. However my consumption rate is a lot less than before. I’m averaging two 2l bottles a week. compared to 1 2l bottle a day before the challenge. I would also suggest that my appreciation of the drink has waned as well. I now drink a lot of diluted juice drinks (still water based) specifically for the strong flavours and find Coke no longer to be as nice to drink. Yet just like the alcoholic when things get tough, when I have a deadline to meet, the drink I go for is Cola. As a behaviour experiment I think #xcoke28 has been a worthwhile venture and I hope it has given pause for thought.

The Vysocina Diaries should resume normal service in the next couple of days as I am caught up on work now and my new netbook is functioning just lovely. Until next time, Ciao!

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