Things They Can’t Say: Farewell Stranger

things they can't say Robin is a writer, speaker and mom. She experienced undiagnosed postpartum depression after her first son was born and started her blog, Farewell, Stranger, as a way of writing herself out of it. You can also find her on Twitter @FarewellStrangr and on Facebook.

Coke-can I have to tell you something: I’m addicted to Coke. The capital-C kind that comes in red cans, thank goodness, but still. And I’m not entirely sure I plan to do anything about it.

If I have one vice, it’s Coke. (I don’t count chocolate as a vice. Anything that provides good endorphins can’t be bad for you.) I don’t smoke, I don’t drink much, and I don’t even eat a lot of junk food. But Coke… I just can’t quit it.

I’ve had this problem before. In the last semester of the last year of my undergrad I drank so much Coke I was afraid I would turn into a blob of syrupy sugar. So I quit.

That time it was hard – I had the caffeine withdrawal headaches and the willpower battles and everything. But I knew I needed to do it and I did.

Over the intervening years I have continued to be a Coke drinker off and on, except for during my first pregnancy. I had it in my self-righteous head that my baby shouldn’t ingest all the crap that’s in Coke so I didn’t drink it while I was pregnant or breastfeeding. That worked out to 25 straight months without a Coke, and when I had a much-anticipated one after my son weaned I didn’t even like it.

You would think I might have taken that opportunity to ditch it altogether, but no. Put me in a restaurant and offer me a fountain Coke with ice and I almost guarantee you I won’t say no. I think with my last pregnancy I lasted a few weeks before deciding a Coke now and then wouldn’t kill my child and diving right back in to the red cans.

And here I am with a three-month-old nursling and if I don’t have a Coke every day I get twitchy. It’s totally psychological, I know. I don’t need the caffeine, and I certainly don’t need the calories. It’s January and cold here, so a cold drink shouldn’t be what I crave. But it is. I’m tired and my body is sore in all the usual new-mom ways. I’m spending more time than normal with my high-energy four-year-old. So a Coke a day is my treat to myself. (Plus it goes nicely with chocolate.)

I’m back to exercising regularly and I’m eating better after a pregnancy so fraught with morning sickness I didn’t eat much at all (and when I did it wasn’t always healthy). I could jump on the resolution bandwagon and vow to quit drinking Coke, but I don’t really want to.

But, whew. I do feel better having admitted it.


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  1. I had a friend who was addicted to the stuff!
    Fortunately for me, I have never liked fizzy drinks. 
    Give me an iced tea any time. 
    Good luck with the Coke quitting! :)
    Alison recently posted..The (Almost) Unbearable Lightness Of Not Being NeededMy Profile

  2. My sister drinks one at breakfast every morning. She can’t start her day without it.
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Snowman Activities- Read.Explore.Learn.My Profile

  3. For me, it’s coffee. I used to have one cup a day. Now, it’s two. And I really don’t want to give it up either. :)
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..The MeltdownMy Profile

  4. This is like me and coffee. I don’t really want to quit, but I’d like to cut down. But usually a day without it leaves me feeling completely ‘off’ and gives me a horrible headache. Oddly enough, I’ve never been big on the fizzy drinks. I usually only have them with fast food, and that’s not very often either. 
    Venassa recently posted..Chloe was sick, and other random stuffMy Profile

  5. Like a classic addict, you’ve already proved you can quit anytime! I’m not a DC gal myself and I know there are a whole other set of harmful issues associated with artificial situation, but I try to limit myself to one can a day, too.

    I also love how virtuous we all are during our first pregnancies and let it slide for the next kid!
    Poppy recently posted..Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary Honey: Where Did You Put the Symbol of Your Undying Love?My Profile

  6. I tried to give up diet soda for a while, artificial sugar and all. It worked, and I haven’t gone back to other forms of fake sugar (like my coffee), but the lure of fountain Diet Coke called me back :) At least yours is actual sugar?
    angela recently posted..Preschool SecretsMy Profile

  7. As far as addictions go, it’s not so bad! I’m a red can girl myself, so I say, just enjoy your coke a day you’ve got enough on your plate!!
    The Bonny Bard recently posted..Because, my friends, I’m nothing if not rational and there’s little I love more than teaching a good lesson.My Profile

  8. Coffee. Me and coffee. Coffee and me. I get the caffeine headaches if I don’t have it. I love any kind of pop, too (except cream soda, which my husband loves for some unholy reason… gross.) The problem is, my body really really doesn’t love pop. On the rare occasions when we buy it (usually a sale, usually 4 12-packs for $10) I gorge myself on like 3 cans a day and give myself the runs and stomach cramps like no other….
    Little Wife recently posted..Regrets (a Tattoo Story)My Profile

  9. I say if you like it and there are no real ill effects, go for it. I pretty much quit sodas, but I do grab a Dr Pepper once in a while at a restaurant.  Fountain drinks are always the best.
    Leigh Ann recently posted..Discouraged and blergyMy Profile

  10. I’ll go forever without drinking it, and then I binge on Diet Coke!
    Natalie recently posted..Why I Love EmealsMy Profile

  11. My husband will only drink the real stuff, too, no matter how hard I try to get him off the stuff. :)  I get all twitchy if I’m forced to drink the non-diet version (even though, yeah yeah yeah, Diet Coke is the devil apparently).  But hey, like you said. It’s better than a lot of stuff you could be doing!
    Greta @gfunkified recently posted..Finally Friday.My Profile

  12. Uh. I didn’t know this about you, Robin. Very interesting. I don’t think one a day will kill ya. Enjoy or should I say, cheers!

    BTW, I used to be addicted to Diet Coke… in a bad way. I’d have at least one, sometimes three a day. Quit cold turkey a year ago. Now it’s a once a month treat.
    Tonya recently posted..Dear KidsMy Profile

  13. My father-in-law is addicted as well. So much so that for his own good we only put two cans of Coke in the fridge a day, or else since he can’t remember the last time he had one he’ll literally drink them all day long.

    And don’t even try to tell him he’s had enough. Just…don’t. I say that without the slightest humor. Now, thanks to you, I know it is possible to have an addiction. I don’t really drink soda so I wasn’t aware! Just thought he was being impossible. ;)
    Mrs. Jen B recently posted..#HonorMyself Monday: Because We’re Worth ItMy Profile

    • I really do think it’s like an addiction. Part of it definitely is not wanting to change it (which I think is true for any addiction – you have to want to quit) but that’s why I say this and am only sort of joking. It does seem like an addiction in both the physical and psychological sense. 

  14. I love fountain pop Coke. LOVE it! I have completely given up Coke until I sit at a restaurant. I craved it while I was pg with my last daughter and when the dr said one a day would help with my pg hormonal headaches, I was thrilled. In my quest to lose weight I have quit drinking it at home and will only indulge at the restaurants. I wish I could say it was making a difference. If that is your worse vice, then you are doing pretty well, I say.
    AnnMarie recently posted..My Baby is 3!My Profile

  15. Love me a cool, crisp glass of Coke, but my true love is Dr. Pepper. I’ve had to set them both aside since my GERD doesn’t get along with fizzy friends. I’ve also had to kiss my beloved chocolate goodbye (horrors!), so I’ve now learned to love white chocolate. Don’t think I’m not daydreaming about your 3 Muskateers bar, though.

    I can totally understand the love of the carbonated beverage. I may or may not keep a small stash of Dr. Pepper in the fridge for when I want a few sips!
    Wombat Central recently posted..Making Friends at Every AgeMy Profile

  16. I’m going to give in and quote my mom here.  Almost anything is OK in moderation. I’d say if this improves your quality of life, don’t worry about it!

  17. I love coke too and drank it through my first 2 pregnancies. The kids are mostly normal.
    Alexa recently posted..When I Was Younger…. FTSF#4My Profile

  18. I guess I am coming at this from a different angle-health. I once was REALLY addicted to it, but when I found out how bad it was I just had to stop. My Dad got diabetes from it, too. And he was always healthy and slim.
    Yes, the problem is addiction, but that can be conquered. I would not drink this if nursing. Ugh. I see a friend of ours who is nursing her baby and she also drinks this.
    Sure things taste good and we want them, but what is food and drink for? What we put in our bodies will show up-as it is true you are what you eat. Maybe not right away but fast forwad 20 years and you will see. Sugar causes inflammation. Inflammation causes disease. This acid steals calcium from your bones, raises your body acidity (not good at all!), and the carmel coloring has been found to cause diabetes. High priced disease in a can. Did you know most sugar is GM? Combine this drink with all kinds of GM floods, high carb foods, processed foods, and well, it is not a pretty picture. Pseudo foods and drinks. And then your kids. How abut them? What will you do when they want that also? How will you be a good example to them? Many kids get diabetes now because of their diets at home.

    Is this how people have eaten for centries? No, not. How about how poor our health is in this country compared to other countries?

    These are man-made products designed to get you hooked and they do a great job of it, but that does not mean you need to sacrifice your health because you must have it. As my doctor said to me when I said it was hard to eat well-you must have discipline. Yes, he was right. We must or we will not fare well, nor teach our children how to feel their best either.
    Just my 2 cents.

  19. I’m addicted to DIET CAFFEINE FREE COKE.
    I tried to quit last summer and I gained 10 lbs and I was miserable….I went back to it and it’s all I drink. (well someimtes I drink martinis…but you know..;)

    I have 2 vices, well maybe, TV and Diet Coke. Hey I’m not perfect.

    you know what, I’m glad hat you have a coke addiction, it makes you human and cool and imperfect, since you are pretty PERFECT to me as a mom, writer, editor and friend, it’s nice to see you have a weakness. Next time I get to Hug you I’ll bring the COKE. ;) xoxoxo

  20. I had a serious soda addiction in college. Now my love is coffee. I still love soda though; I am a Coke Zero girl. I had to quit the real stuff when I was pregnant with the oldest. Every now and then I have a real fountain Coke in a restaurant. It tastes as good as I remember.
    Jenny recently posted..Journey towards strengthMy Profile

  21. robin, I”m the same! I love cokes too. diet gives me a headache and to me I’d rather it be REAL sugar if I’m going to do it all. sometimes i’ll swing through the drivethru and pick up a coke. just a small one. i tell myself I deserve it because i have so much else going on. life’s too short to worry about this one, in my opinion :) 
    sarah @sundayspill recently posted..he might cut youMy Profile

  22. I feel ya. One time when I had 4 year-old twins and was trying to ditch caffeine (coffee), my cousin finally sat me down and said, “It’s not heroin.”
    Maggie S. recently posted..An Open Letter to My Pinterest BoardsMy Profile

  23. I had this problem too, but as of last October, I officially had to give it up when I realized how it was affecting my body…

    it was the best decision I ever made… but yes, at times, I really do miss it ;)
    Jamie recently posted..Date Night at Home Made So Easy #dinnerin15 #cbiasMy Profile

  24. I quit Diet Coke for a year and I missed it every single day. I finally decided if something that simple makes me that happy then why should I give it up. So I’m not. {cheers}
    Jennifer recently posted..Trifextra Week 52 {Creative Writing}My Profile

  25. Sugar is a drug.  And I’m addicted to it as well. But I would much rather have it in the form of ice cream or pie or cupcakes than a drink.  Good Luck, I hope you can kick the habit if you really want to… :) 
    Elaine recently posted..Nap Talk (and a cutie-patootie video)My Profile

  26. OMG: me too! It all started in college when it became apparent I hated coffee but needed caffeine to survive the long study hours. The red cans became my best friend. My work in my mid-20s provided them free (which was awful because I drank 2 a day). Finally when I moved to London, I kicked the addiction for good because the cokes tasted disgusting to me there. Now I have a full-fledged addiction to the green tea smoothies from Jamba Juice :/ I prefer my caffeine cold.

  27. Robin, I used to be hooked on the red can too! I moved over to the black can because my metabolism was no match for the full octane anymore.
    My husband always jokes that if I get cut that I will bleed Coke Zero. He may just be right. ;-)
    And hey, there could be a lot worse vices out there for you to have. Look at Charlie Sheen for example. ;-)
    Kristen recently posted..From Fairy Tales to Reality TVMy Profile

  28. I drank Diet Coke non-stop until I got pregnant with my 4th. Then I decided maybe it was bad for her so I switched to punch when I wanted a drink. Then I very nearly had gestational diabetes! After that I didn’t even like Diet Coke any more and I’ve never been back.
    momof12 recently posted..It’s Your Birthday!! – Guest Blogger: TeachMy Profile

  29. Hee! Love the confession, girl! :)

    {I crave diet coke all.the.time, too. What can you do??}
    Galit Breen recently posted..Teaching Americans to Think Outside of Themselves, on The Huffington PostMy Profile

  30. You do what makes you HAPPY!!!!!! It’s ridiculous to even both thinking about quitting something so harmless and so lovely to your life!!! Who the heck cares??? I drink a TON of pop!!! I don’t think twice about some of my unhealthy habits. I’ve learned through the years, that these things will probably not kill us and will only add quality to our lives. Why suffer without your precious Coke? Now if it was CRACK… that’s another story. ;)
    Chris Carter recently posted..I Am At The Mommy Mess Today!!My Profile

  31. Well I for one am happy it’s Coke and not Pepsi – hate that stuff! My cola of choice is totally Coke. I even have a lot of Coke stuff in my red and white kitchen. Funny thing, I love the stuff, but I don’t actually drink it much. Pretty much only when I go to the movies and some other rare occasions. I just have such a hard time justifying the calories. But I think Diet Coke tastes like Pepsi, so I’m screwed!
    just JENNIFER recently posted..Weekend WhyMy Profile

  32. I love Coke Zero. Like love. I won’t drink it had restaurants though because I’m cheap and order water. My cheapness is really the only thing that stops me from buying a lot more than I should.

  33. Could have written this post myself. Mine is Dr.Pepper. I don’t do anything else, but I do drink that and have no intention of giving it up. Now I’m starting to get cavities and they think it’s the sodas. I usually have 2 a day. Not excessive but if I could just cut down to even 1 a day. But I’m like you – put me near a fountain drink…

    Oh well, there are worse things!
    Kimberly recently posted..It’s All About the MoneyMy Profile

  34. There see worse things you could be addicted too, right? This just makes you human. :)
    Kimberly recently posted..Essence Of Now: Cold Days and Lots of WorkMy Profile

  35. I’m completely addicted to Diet Coke as well. It’s my major vice. My husband gives me a hard time about it. And I did (mostly) give it up during my pregnancy, but it really does bring me pleasure. I think it’s just the perfect drink. I started drinking it in college, and I know I should switch to something else, but I can’t.
    Jessica Smock recently posted..School of Smock now has a Facebook page!My Profile

  36. I’m all for confession! You make it look so easy! Hell, I support anything that gets you through the newborn phase (and toddler, preschool, grade school … ). Cheers!
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted..Moms Need Play Dates TooMy Profile


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