Ditching the Soda

Yes, you read the headline correctly; the Sparks household is officially soda-free.  It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally made the transition from sugary, caffeine-laced, unhealthy drinks to more healthy teas, juices, and lots and lots of water.

I grew up on soda.  Every week, my mother would buy a slew of 2-liter bottles of Coke or Pepsi for the house.  I always preferred Pepsi over Coke because it was sweeter – but Dr. pepper was my absolute favorite soft drink.  It’s no wonder that, as an adult, I craved my soda and refused to give it up.

Back in the day, when I was diabetic, I switched to diet sodas, but I still had to keep my soda fix.  I often joked that it would be easier to give me an intravenous drip of caffeine in my arm.  I, and my family, drank more soda than any other liquid.  We were addicted.  And make no mistake, it is addicting.  Withdrawing from soda has all the same symptoms as any drug withdrawal; the shakes, the cravings, the physical headaches, lethargy, and pains.  Soda is a legal drug – or rather caffeine is.

When I was diagnosed with my cancer I immediately quit drinking sodas.  When faced with a truly life-threatening disease, I suddenly found it very easy to give up my addiction to soda.  It’s been over two years, and I haven’t had any caffeine or sodas in all that time.  None.

Still, while it was easy for me to quit in the face of my cancer, the rest of the family didn’t have it so easy.  We kept buying the sodas every week.  The kids would get cranky and irritable if they didn’t have a soda when they came home from school.  They were listless and lethargic if they didn’t get a soda a couple of times a day.  We had to limit their intake and not let them drink soda after dinner so they could sleep.

Four weeks ago, I decided enough was enough.  My son complained that we ran out of sodas too soon in the week and I realized that their addiction was growing.

So I stopped buying soda.

The stunned disbelief was palatable the first week.  I was ignored by a surly son, pleaded to by a desperate daughter, and generally became the Bad Guy in the house.  I endured.

Now, a month later, we have finally accepted (as a family) our new no soda rule.  I still buy them a single soda when we go to a fast food restaurant if they want it, but even that is waning.  Initially it was a  life-saver for my caffeine-deprived children, but now they are at the point where they may or may not order a soda at a fast food restaurant.

I was a Bad Guy for a month, but the soda is gone.  I think we’ll be a healthier and happier family as a result.

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