December 6th, 2005

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28 Days

To give you some perspective on what I'm about to tell you, please know that it's possible that I was born with a Coca-Cola in my hand. I'm almost certain that I drank a bit of it in my baby bottle. As a kid, there was no shortage as the Coke man actally delivered wooden cases of 8 oz. bottles to her house. With food. With snacks. While working. While writing. While driving. During my teen years, I started the day with a Coke and went to bed with one, too. The bathroom in my apartment is decorated in a Coca-Cola motif. I love the sound a can makes when it opens. I love the little bubbles that tickle your nose. I love the burn a good, cold Coke has as it passed down your throat.

With that said, I've now gone 28 consecutive days without a Coke.

I wanted to write about my abstention for a while now. However, I also wanted to actually quit for a while before bragging about it. I know that most of us have been there before. We make a big decision in life, go tell a few folks before we should and then something happens that makes us revert to our old ways. Whoop-tee-do.

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure why I'm doing this. I guess it's a mixture of reasons. I know that with all of that sugar running through my body, I was beginning to actually feel unhealthy -- a feeling I've not missed in the last four weeks. Also, I try to be my own man. How can you be your own man if your chained to a substance regardless of what sort of chain it is -- physical or psychological. If nothing else, I'm richer from the experience -- literally. Even though I know where one of the last remaining 50 cen Coke machines is, they aren't cheap.

I'd thought about cutting back on Cokes for a while. But then Alex said something one day about how she stopped drinking them and lost a few pounds in the process. I dismissed the idea... But then I got sick a few weeks later and my perspective changed. After taking cold meds and sleeping away an entire day, I woke up with the realization that I hadn't had a Coke. I decided to see how long I could go. A day became a week. One week became two. Now I'm sitting at 28 days.

Everybody warned me about the headaches. Luckily, I was sick and was already on a regular four-hour drug regimen. That helped keep me unconsious and pain-free. What suprised me was that after a week of not imbibing, I thought I was free of Coke's shackles. Wrong. A second round of headaches hit me, which I quickly dispatched with hefty doses of Tylenol. Now, I'm symptom-free and wondering when this thing will end.

Coca-Cola in the small glass bottle is a Fletcher family tradition on Christmas. Will I break the streak then? Before? Or will I see how long I can reallly go? Once I taste the sweet nectar again, will I be off the wagon for good? Or is it possible for me to do anything that I love in moderation? All good questions. The answers, I'm sure, are on their way.
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