When I was 17, I was writing a paper for a junior-year Literature class. It was a Sunday evening in February, and I didn’t want to get a bad grade on the assignment. My energy level wasn’t what I wanted it to be, so I flew down to the corner store and picked up a 2-liter of Diet Coke. A few moments later after I had gotten back to the family computer, I began chugging the aspartame-filled beverage intermittently and soon after the paper was completed. My goals for that night had been accomplished.
Could I have gone to the fridge and had some iced tea and a salad? Of course. The same energy levels that I was trying to get to could have been achieved that way. But when you’re 17 and want things to taste awesome, you don’t think that way. My family has always gone to diet soda in some respect to quell their thirst and imbibe caffeine. Both my parents raised me on Diet Pepsi, and after the age of 11 or 12, I couldn’t stand the shit anymore. It is battery acid and diaper water, after all.
For the next 15 years, Diet Coke was my go-to beverage. Rarely did a few hours go by where I didn’t have some form of it ready to travel down my stupid gullet. Friends of varying stripes tried to get me off of it, citing the devious Donald Rumsfeld-connection with the FDA and how awful it really is for you, cancer this and stomach ulcer that. But it tasted so good to my brain and taste buds, so I honed my ability to change the conversation quite well. Last week, I ran out of excuses.
You can defend your behaviors to anyone as long as they aren’t damaging anyone except yourself. Those who love you will always try to appeal to your senses, but it’s you who have to make the change. My body decided to start telling me differently. I had aches and the feeling of malaise all over, and it had been for a few months that this was increasing. So after diet corrections and fine-tuning every other variable of what I was putting in my body, the culprit ended up being aspartame. So last Saturday, I made the change.
I’m a Diet Coke drinker no more. I refuse to take aspartame in any form, in fact. Today marks seven whole days where that monster has a hold of me no more. That’s how I’ve made myself view it: a monster. So I don’t want to drink that shit anymore, because I want to feel better and not have those affects to my person and mental state. The first few days were rough, but now the sheer thought of drinking a Diet Coke gives me the willies. This wasn’t a resolution or anything, but it’s something I’m glad I quit on my own terms.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go drink a gallon of iced tea to get the same caffeine jolt I used to get from having a Diet Coke.