When we go off to college, many of us pick up a few bad habits. (Some worse than others, so don’t let your imagination carry you off.) For me, the worst and most lasting one was Dr. Pepper. Nothing else comes close.
I was trying to remember when exactly it set in, and I’m going to say freshman year. I went to the University of Dallas, which offers the unbelievable opportunity to spend a semester on UD’s Rome campus, with your classmates, UD profs, and a Eurrail Pass. It was as dreamy as it sounds. I went in the spring of my sophomore year, and one my fellow Romers got her hands on some Dr. Pepper. Prior to that, I was making do with Coke, which was fine, but not the same. I took one look at that 6-pack of European cans of DP and told her to name her price. So, I know that by the time I went to Rome, I had the monkey on my back.
Since then, Dr. Pepper has been a constant presence in my life. And living in Texas, it has never been hard to find fellow die-hards. When I waited tables, one of the bartenders and I had a song about a Double Decker. Have I been to the Dr. Pepper museum? Of course, and I made a special trip with a friend just to go there. Was I sad when Dublin Dr. Pepper went the way of the Flowbee? You bet. (Wait. This just in. A cursory Googling has revealed that you can actually still buy Flowbees. Dublin Dr. Pepper, no. Flowbee, yes. It’s a world gone stark raving mad, I tell you.)
So, you know how you can get away with more junk when you’re young and stupid than when you’re older and wiser? Well, I used to be able to chug Dr. Pepper and eat whatever I wanted, and it didn’t seem to matter. Now that I’m 42, that’s not so much the case anymore. There have been times off and on through the years when I’ve tried to cut back, but I always end up going back to drinking them like a chain-smoker going through a pack.
I made a bold move two weekends ago. I decided that I’m not buying it for the house anymore. None. And no special trips to Sonic or wherever to get one. If I’m having lunch with a friend, or at the church on Wednesday night, fine. But no more making sure I’ve got my stash. Unless you’ve done something like this, I’m not sure you can fully appreciate what a big honkin’ deal this is.
Instead of soda, I’ve been drinking more water, trying beverage recipes off Pinterest (mint lemonade–thumbs up), and having hot tea. I’ve been wanting to be a tea person for a while because it can be so good for you, and because there are a million flavors. Let’s face it, my tongue is used to being awash in fizz and sugar, so it needs more than a steady stream of water.
The first week was not nearly as bad as I was afraid it might be. I was prepared for a tough week. I think my personal resolve to be done with it instead of negotiating with it, has been a big part. And a lot of prayer. I’m trying to be a better steward of the healthy body God has given me, and I know it pleases Him for me to let go of junk and put healthy stuff in instead. When we pray according to His will, He will answer!
Here are a few things I’ve picked up in case you ever decide to kick the soda habit:
- Your habit may be a big part of your day, but you still may not be addicted (or as addicted as you thought). Find an online questionnaire and answer it honestly. I was encouraged.
- Tell at least one person in your house–your spouse, roommate, a parent, etc. Make sure that person knows that you give permission to call you out, and let him/her know the best way to do it. (Like a drill sergeant? With encouragement? With new ideas? With health reminders?)
- Plan alternate drinks, and pick ones you can get excited about. For instance, I look forward to a cup of hot tea or a glass of red wine at night.
- You may be sleepier and more lethargic. Give yourself a break, and indulge as much as you can of that. It’s temporary.
- I’m just going to say it. Add more fiber and/or Metamucil to your day. Let’s leave it at that.
- Caffeine withdrawal headaches start behind your eyes, and can radiate out. If you start to have a headache, take something early. You might even call your doctor to see what the strongest thing you can take is. A heating pad or warm neck roll is nice, too.
- If you are on an anti-depressant (I am), be very consistent in taking it. This is a bad time to get lax on that, and if you feel an internal “shift” in the wrong direction, call your prescribing doctor.
So, there you have it. If you know me personally, you may have stopped reading this when you blacked out.
Now that I have more room in my fridge, what should I put there instead? Maybe it’s time to hit Pinterest and see. If you have any suggestions, please post them in Comments. I welcome all the help I can get!