That cool and refreshing demon on my back
July 12, 2008 5:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm addicted to coke, and I just can't seem to break the habit. Please help me!

I used to smoke, and I stopped that at some point without a single look back. I can smoke a cig now without wanting to become a smoker again. I smoke about 10 cigs a year. So I know that I'm not the addictive type.

Apart from when it comes to Coca Cola. I drink about 2 liters of the stuff a day. I can go for days without drinking water, just coke. I have been trying to quit real hard, but I get this craving for it. If it is hot out, I NEED that cold coke. I spend a lot of money on coke. I hate this habit, because it is unhealthy, bad for my teeth, and I really dislike the feeling of being a pawn of the coca cola company. Why am I paying the m 50 bucks a month for what I could get free?

Otherwise, I do not drink any other addictive drinks. No coffee, no tea, not even chocolate.

One big problem is that people do not take this addiction seriously. They tell me - just stop. I can stop for about 3 days, and then I start again. I replaced coke with sprite, but sprite disgusts me after a few days.

I tried coke caffeine free, but I can't stand the taste. How do I brwak the habit? I reaally need to!
posted by ChabonJabon to Food & Drink (50 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I used to be a Coke fiend, so I know whereof you speak! For me, I wanted to stop the sugar and carbonated drinks, and a lot of times when I went for a Coke, I was actually hungry more than I was thirsty. The sugar and caffeine gave me the boost, which may be why Sprite doesn't do it for you (plus the taste of Coke can be addictive!).

Part of it is psychological, part can be the sugar/caffeine high. I think the first step is to picture yourself Coke-free, and all the benefits you will gain, as opposed to beating yourself up mentally and feeling defeated. It can be done, trust me!

Try drinking water with lemon and having little snacks, trail mix, craisins, etc., and brush your teeth a lot. Not much tastes great after you've brushed your teeth. Stay away from foods that go well with Coke, like hamburgers, chips, any kind of fast food. I take a really good quality B vitamin complex almost every day, which really helps.

After I started a walking program, I didn't want to waste the calories I'd just burned with the empty sugar calories from Coke. Now I drink one about once or twice a month at most, but you might just have to stay away for a while. With anything you give up, tell yourself that it is a choice, it's not being forced on you, and choose not to drink it - do something to distract yourself when you get the craving. Give yourself a star or red checkmark on the calendar every day that you are Coke-free, and reward yourself with something (not Coke!) at the end of each week.

Good luck!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:57 AM on July 12, 2008

Once you find out, let me know. I am the same way, no other addictions. I quit coca cola for years, but I relapsed this year when I went back to college.

The only thing I can say is to try to find an acceptable alternative, or think hard about the money and other associated problems. In my case, I feel I have clearer skin if I don't drink.

Also, keep cans or bottles of it in the home at all. It can just be something to have when you are out.
posted by Inside Out Girl at 5:59 AM on July 12, 2008

I used to drink at least as much as you do. I quit cold turkey in March, and haven't had a drop since - soft drinks of any kind, actually.

Starting a workout program helped me in the same was as Marie Mon Dieu - it seemed counterproductive to be working out but consuming thousands of useless calories a day. I was not overweight by any means, but I have lost more than 15 pounds already and that is really the only major dietary change I made.

I also drink a ton of water. Way more than I need to. This seems to keep the thirst cravings away.

It hasn't been that long now, and I honestly don't even think about it any more - if we buy coke when company comes over, it sits in the fridge for weeks afterwards.

Good luck.
posted by davey_darling at 6:23 AM on July 12, 2008

No Lie- the stuff used to be the elixir of life for me. Headaches all the time and coke would cure them. You have to cut down. You cannot just quit. Taper off so to speak.

So- you say now you drink 2 litres a day. Make a plan that helps you cut down by some over a period of time and also increase the amount of water you drink, too. For the first week, Drink 1.75 litres per day and make yourself drink 1 litre of water before you can even have any. Then week 2, 1.5 and more water. Then week 3 drink 1 litre of coke and more water and so on.

It's a potent combo of sugar and caffiene and god knows what else. You have to be kind to yourself and eventually, if you completely stop and then try to drink a coke it will taste gross.
posted by marlys27 at 6:31 AM on July 12, 2008

Don't quit Coke, just try to cut back. Instead of 2 Liters of Coke per day, go down to one, and then a half.

Instead of a Coke in the morning, drink a cup of coffee and a glass of water. Then for lunch have a Coke. Drink another cup of tea, coffee, and more water in the afternoon and have another glass of Coke at dinner.

If you're like me you probably always have a Coke in your hand. A big fountain Coke with a straw. You're used to having something to drink in your hands at all times. Having a drink at your immediate disposable is part of the habit. You don't need a full cup of Coke at your desk or table at all times. Carrying a Coke, or even a bottle of water, around is not necessary. Breaking the habit of consuming so much liquid might be just as difficult as quitting the Coke.

You might think that you need a Coke in the morning to wake you up. I always thought this as well. I would have a coffee and go straight to the Diet Coke and drink Diet Coke all day long. I find that if I have a glass of milk or even water I'm just as awake. You need to force yourself to drink a glass of water or tea, or juice, in the morning instead of Coke. Water without ice goes down easier.

I started replacing my Diet Coke with unsweetened iced tea and iced green tea. I brew my own iced tea or buy the freshly prepared iced tea in jugs from my local grocery. I buy the Arizona or Lipton green tea in the jug. It tastes good, gives me some caffeine, and is a lot better than downing tons of Coke. A better idea would be to brew your own green tea if you really want to cut down on chemicals.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:32 AM on July 12, 2008

About a dozen years ago, I switched from Coke to Diet-Coke. Granted, it took awhile to get used to the taste change, but I eventually did and I actually prefer the taste of Diet Coke now. A few years after that I also went with the caffeine-free stuff on the recommendation of a dermatologist treating me for rosacea. So I eliminated both the sugar and caffeine over time. In recent years I have made an effort to mix more water into my liquid diet and I now probably drink more water that Diet Coke. Just to let you know that it can be done if you have enough of a reason to want to do it. Good luck to you.
posted by netbros at 6:34 AM on July 12, 2008

If you're drinking a couple of litres of regular (not diet) coke per day, then this accounts for about 800 calories of your daily intake. For most people this is around a third of the average number of calories needed. Keep this in mind when you try to quit - assuming your weight is stable, you'll need to eat a third more stuff than you do at the moment. Or to put it another way, you can substitute a fairly large meal for the bottle of coke. Drinking the same amount of sprite will obviously provide those calories, but it lacks the caffeine of Coke.

Essentially then, you have two problems: Caffeine consumption and sugar consumption. Treat it as two addictions. For other addictions (eg. smoking) one effective therapy is replacement of the addictive substance. So smokers have nicotine patches and gum, etc. You've tried substituting another sugar-laden beverage for your coke, while dropping the caffeine, which hasn't worked. How about substituting real food for the sugar and replacing the caffeine.

According to these figures and some quick calculation, a 2 litre bottle of coke contains around 200mg of caffeine. If you don't like other less sugary caffeinated beverages, then maybe you could consider using caffeine tablets? You'd probably need to cut them down to 50mg pieces to take four times a day. Eventually, when you're no longer craving coke, you should be able to either stop using them completely or reduce them down over a couple of weeks. They're cheaper than a bottle of coke per day and it's not like 200mg of caffeine a day is going to hurt.

Anyway, good luck.
posted by xchmp at 6:42 AM on July 12, 2008

Maybe you could cut down gradually? If you restricted yourself to fountain Coke, you would have fewer opportunities to drink it (since you don't have it sitting around the house or accessible from vending machines). If that works, you could cut down to only drinking it on certain days of the week and so on.

I have mostly given up drinking pop and have found that when I do get some Coke, I can't drink a whole can/glass anymore because my mouth/stomach aren't used to that much sugar or carbonation.
posted by srah at 6:42 AM on July 12, 2008

I had a similar addiction (Diet Coke drinker of 20+ years; at least 6 cans/day) until this year. I tried quitting time after time for years and every time it failed; was hit by terrible headaches, felt like crap, and the cravings were awful.

This time, I stepped down. I figured out which "cokes" of the day were important to me; for me, the most important were first thing in the morning (sigh), lunch, and dinner. So I allowed myself three cokes a day, for those periods... the rest I drank water or fruit juice.

Once I'd had a few weeks at that level, I started buying the mini-cans of diet Coke and having those instead with a meal.

Then I stopped taking the morning diet coke, then the lunch, and then the dinner (with a few weeks in between each).

I'm now diet-coke free and can even, on occasion, have one without slipping back (mostly because the taste is now changed for me & doesn't taste as good as it used to, since I rarely drink it any more). I did find that making sure I had a sweet and/or carbonated drink with meals helped; water doesn't "taste right" with meals after all those years of soda. I have one or two Sprites a day, usually with meals, to compensate for that "mouth feel".

Good luck! It's tough but I know you can do it.
posted by twiki at 6:55 AM on July 12, 2008

Start a matching funds program. For every dollar you spend on Coke, force yourself to throw at least a dollar (make it as high as you can go) into a jar, so that you double, triple, or quadruple the price of every Coke you buy. That money has to go towards something good, but not something for you. A charity that does not directly benefit you. A wildlife fund or something to feed the poor.

If you cut back because of the high cost, you're doing yourself good and still throwing a little cash into the charity jar. If you don't cut back because you have the self-control of a spoiled little rich girl in a candy store, at least you'll be giving money to something good.

This treatment will help you grow a spine and stand up tall against those bubbly drinks. Then, when you're ready to quit completely, just stop. Stop. It's not a real addiction, it's Coca-Cola. Stop. But keep throwing at least 50 bucks a month, 600 bucks a year, into the jar for that charity -- remind yourself that it's only throwaway Coke money anyway, so now it can go towards something good. Make stuffing that jar your addiction.
posted by pracowity at 7:03 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I kicked a soft drink habit by switching to Pellegrino.
posted by Prospero at 7:10 AM on July 12, 2008

Nthing the suggestions that say to drink more water.

Also, if you're sensitive to human rights issues maybe this campaign against coca-cola would provide some incentive to stop drinking coke and coke products.
posted by symbollocks at 7:11 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here's what I resort to to get sodas out of my life (at work, mainly when I feel like I need to be drinking something constantly):

Diet Ice tea, Lipton or Snapple brand. It's sweetened with Splenda which a lot better than the Aspartane Diet Coke has in it.

Lemonades. I keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge at work, so often I go pour some of that in a cup, then ice water and two packets of splenda and mix it well. Or, if I'm feeling like having a fizz and Sprite is available, also add a little bit of Sprite and then use just one packet of Splenda.

Good luck, Coke is bad for you!
posted by spacefire at 7:28 AM on July 12, 2008

Here's how I successfully kicked a daily soda habit.

I made a deal with myself: you can drink all the soda you want--as long as you drink a glass of water beforehand. But what I found was that after drinking a glass of water, I didn't want the soda. I think I started to reprogram myself from a thirst-soda connection to a thirst-water connection.

(I drink coffee so no problems with caffeine withdrawal, you might need to get a little caffeine somehow. And I still have the occasional soda, maybe one a month.)
posted by sexymofo at 7:41 AM on July 12, 2008 [5 favorites]

I made it a game by saying I'd give soda up for a year. Then after that I could have more soda. The year has come and gone and I still haven't touched a soda. I think I miss the carbonation the most though. I've even had dreams where I accidentally drink soda and I've lost the "game".

I love water so I always have a nalgene bottle on hand. Start loving water.
posted by collocation at 7:41 AM on July 12, 2008

Try Coke Zero -- it tastes like regular Coca Cola but lacks the calories. I dislike the taste of Diet Coke but Coke Zero is very nice.

Also, drink more water. Carbonated mineral water like Pellegrino or Perrier is good stuff.
posted by bigbigdog at 7:42 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was just about to get upset that not one person has mentioned Coke Zero. It's a lifesaver.

People have mentionaed carbonated water and plain water with flavor. Try it with cucumber. IT's actually quite lovely.
posted by santojulieta at 7:46 AM on July 12, 2008

I, too started taking B-vitamins, and drinking Diet Dr. Pepper instead... It's been a whole week now, and I've only had one regular Coke (well, Cherry Coke...) since then. I really think the vitamins give me a boost. (It could all be psychological, but I don't care at this point). Also, if you go cold turkey off caffeine, there might be headaches involved. Just a warning.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:53 AM on July 12, 2008

10 cubes of sugar in each *can*. Yuck. Get a carbonator from Soda Club and drop 10 cubes of sugar in each glass of water - I bet after one try you'll stick to the plain soda water. :)

To be fair, the Soda Club carbonators come in a kit that include little flavoring packets. I had no intent of using them when I bought mine, since I was mainly just trying to replace the cost and waste of buying cases of Gerolsteiner every week. I end up craving flavored soda from time to time though, and use one every couple weeks. It's a nice compromise.
posted by kcm at 7:54 AM on July 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Yep, Coke Zero. Diet Coke is foul; Coke Zero is barely distinguishable from normal cane-syrup Coke.
posted by nicwolff at 7:58 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Have you tried Coke made with real sugar? I swear it takes millions of times better. Once I had it I figured there was no point drinking American coke. I switched successfully to tea and I figure if I'm going to have a Coke, it will be a good Coke, so I only have Coke at a local taco joint that sells Mexican (cane-sugar) Coke.
posted by melissam at 8:01 AM on July 12, 2008

netbros, I'd read up on the effects of aspartame - I think whilst Coke is more fattening than Diet Coke, it's actually healthier overall!
posted by dance at 8:17 AM on July 12, 2008

I used to drink about as much coke as you, but I quit pretty much cold turkey. I'd never been much of a water drinker so I actually drank a lot of juice those first couple of months, as a transition. I was always one of those people who thought water was boring, etc. Anyway, too much orange juice isn't good for anyone either, so I bought a brita filter to keep in my fridge and switched to drinking water pretty much exclusively.

The hardest part was getting past the caffeine headache, and frankly getting off caffeine at all. I find that I sleep much better now than when I ingested so much of it but getting through those first few days was tough. It didn't help that I quit smoking at the same time, but at least I got all of my misery out of the way.

That was several years ago, and I drank my first coke since then over the weekend, just as an experiment. Honestly? It was fucking gross, and between us my husband and I couldn't even finish the 8 ounce glass bottle.
posted by sugarfish at 8:19 AM on July 12, 2008

I used to hate skim milk. I would only drink whole milk. I wanted to stop, and I found a way to do it back when I lived in a college dorm. In the cafeteria, they had one of these milm machines with multiple spigots: whole milk, two percent, skim.

I started by pouring myself a glass of whole with just a tiny bit of skim in it. Over about two months, I gradually increased the amount of skim and decreased the amount of whole. I did it so slowly, I couldn't tell from the taste. By the end of he two months, I was drinking glasses of only skim milk. Now when I drink milk, it's all I drink. Whole milk makes me gag.

Try the same tactic with Coke and Coke zero.
posted by grumblebee at 8:27 AM on July 12, 2008

I could live on Coke, too. I broke the habit in little bits and pieces. Started out with a simple rule: no Coke before 10:30 in the morning! Once I'd mastered that, I added a rule: fountain drinks only! If I wanted a Coke I had to go to a 7/11 or a fast food joint to get a fountain Coke. This made it much harder to get drinks.

Next rule-- no coke during meals. snack time only, with the restrictions above.

Along the way I started substituting sparkling water flavored with Torani syrups when I really craved teh sweet.

Took about a year to really wean myself, but I'm completely off the stuff now. Good luck!
posted by nax at 8:27 AM on July 12, 2008

You might want to try switching to diet coke or coke zero to start. Those won't be as bad for your teeth (no sugar) won't be fattening, etc. They'll still have caffeine, which is probably what you're actually 'addicted' too (caffeine is actually addictive)

Think of it like switching from cigarettes too nicotine patches. Still bad, but not nearly as bad.
posted by delmoi at 8:34 AM on July 12, 2008

I drank a couple of cans of coke a day in my teens until it wrecked my stomach lining and now I can't drink the stuff. I stopped drinking soft drinks alltogether once I started finding that food that I know is healthy tastes good to me and food that I know is unhealthy makes me want to puke. I can't eat fast food or soft drinks anymore. Soft drinks are just sugar water. Start drinking refreshing natural fruit juices.
posted by GleepGlop at 8:52 AM on July 12, 2008

Nthing Coke Zero. I'm a lifelong diet soda hater and it's so close to the original Coke that it helped me transition away from sugary sodas. I also like diet green tea.

You'd be shocked at how much weight you can lose just switching from regular to Coke Zero, especially if you're drinking a two liter bottle a day.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:57 AM on July 12, 2008

My entire life changed (...a little bit) when I learned the following: if you are fully hydrated, your pee is clear. No yellow. I decided I wanted to try to ensure that I was fully hydrated by that point, and that required drinking a lot more water than other beverages.

And then, after a while, the water started tasting far more refreshing than anything else. Coke now makes me feel a little gross, if I drink too much of it.

So I'm with the "drink more water" crowd. Specifically, I suggest that you get a large jug that you can keep in the fridge. Fill it with the eight glasses of water (or whatever the amount is) that one is supposed to drink in a day, and make sure that you drink it all. Every day. It doesn't matter how much Coke you drink on the side, so long as you drink that water.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:57 AM on July 12, 2008

Diet Coke or Coke Zero is 99% water. I would start there and then go to flavored club soda. It worked for me.
posted by Zambrano at 8:58 AM on July 12, 2008

One way to try to taper down is to buy your coke ahead of time in bottles, and freeze them. That makes it that much harder to consume at more than a specific rate (the rate at which coke melts), though not impossible, obviously.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:58 AM on July 12, 2008

Previously, if it helps.

Another Coke fiend here. I've come to believe that soda is aggravating my acne, and also just got back from the dentist with some major cavities along the gumline, which she described as, "A classic example of drinking too much soda" before she even knew my addiction.

I'm trying to kick the habit now, actually. One thing I've found that helps is to keep a tally. Grab a Post-it or a whiteboard, and just make a tick mark every time you have a cup/bottle of soda. Just seeing, "Yikes, it's noon and I've already had four" would lead me to decide to grab a water instead of another Coke. It's not just the realization (you and I both already know we're having too much), but it makes me think a little more—instead of automatically reaching in the fridge, I feel a little guilt, and think rationally about what I'm about to do. It's no panacea, but it can't hurt to try, either.
posted by fogster at 9:10 AM on July 12, 2008

netbros, I'd read up on the effects of aspartame - I think whilst Coke is more fattening than Diet Coke, it's actually healthier overall!

I drink Diet Coke with Splenda (can't stand the version with Aspertane). Its good--but like you, I do need to cut back. I've heard carbonated drinks also deplete calcium levels.

I bought a load of lemons, limes and cucumbers to put in ice water. Hopefully I will be able to taper off the bubbly this way.

Good luck to us all!
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 9:53 AM on July 12, 2008

I only skimmed th responses, so sorry if this is old news.

My mom was a pepsi addict for a few years, with a habit about the same as yours (2L a day or so). She got off it first by switching to ginger ale, and riding through the uncomfortable caffeine withdrawl. Trust me, you don't want to cut out the sugar at the same time, since that's part of the addiction, obviously. Plus diet drinks taste pretty gross, at least to some of us.

After a while, she starting having a bottle of diluted ginger ale in the fridge. That way she got more out of each 2L bottle, less sugar per glass and no ASSpartame.

So, something to consider...
posted by sunshinesky at 10:16 AM on July 12, 2008

My trick is to make a thermos of hot tea and keep it nearby. This makes tea more convenient for me than Coke.
posted by zippy at 10:32 AM on July 12, 2008

The drink that most helped me to transition off the (Pepsi in my case) was seltzer water over ice with a couple of splashes of 100 percent cranberry juice, and a lime squeezed in. (The seltzer water to cranberry juice ratio should be like 6:1).

This is a delicious sweet and carbonated beverage that totally filled my soda cravings. I drank that for about a year, and now I am mostly all just plain water all the time.

I still drink a soda when I go see movies because the idea of popcorn without soda is too harsh to imagine. But I only see movies in the theater about 10 times a year or so.
posted by extrabox at 10:45 AM on July 12, 2008

There are hundreds of different beverages, all of them with amazing taste, as healthy or more healthy than water, without any sugar and with negligible caffeine content, that you haven't tried yet. These are known as "good teas". Whites, greens, oolongs, darjeelings, pu-erhs, even some black teas. Now, officially they all have caffeine but I have never - out of thousands of times I had them - never got a caffeine rush out of green or white tea and only very gentle, soft one out of oolongs and darjeelings. They all have different taste, there are many dozens of varieties of oolongs and greens in particular - and even within the same variety, year-to-year and estate-to-estate taste will be very different. There's larger difference between different varieties of green teas than between coke and coffee, for example.

Once you get used to the taste of good teas and also, optionally, home-roasted coffees (if you want even more variety), quitting coke is no longer a problem simply because it will taste like ass.

For hot weather, great iced teas can be made out of all types of teas, but especially from whites and greens..

I'm not affiliated to these, just a happy customer, but check out: , . The following two are in china so shipping can take a long time (from 20 days up to 8 weeks) but prices are better: , . Two last ones are not as good usually but have cheaper teas and more choices: , .

Stay away from flavored teas..
posted by rainy at 11:02 AM on July 12, 2008

Aside from the sugar and caffeine, you're probably also addicted to the carbonation. That's what makes it feel so "refreshing." You can get that "refreshing" feeling from carbonated mineral waters. I find lightly-flavored ones to be best, and each brand has a different level of carbonation -- experiment, find that one that most refreshes you, then switch to drinking that in addition to tea/coffee and/or something like what extrabox recommends.
posted by treepour at 11:07 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I used to be a major diet coke addict, I still drink it on a regular basis, but nowhere near as much as before. One thing I started doing is I refused to buy it at the Supermarket and have it in the house. So I drink Diet Coke when I'm at school or at lunch, but it isn't sitting in my fridge. This generally limits me to one can a day, of course there are plenty of exceptions, but I try to drink mainly coffee now and find I can't down coffee by the liter like I can diet coke. So really the first step is just making it harder for yourself to get it and you'll slowly start to transition to other drinks.

Also, you are probably insanely caffeine addicted at the moment. Head off the headaches in the morning by waking up and having a coffee and then decreasing little by little until your body weans itself off the caffeine.
posted by whoaali at 11:16 AM on July 12, 2008

The trick to kicking an an addiction to is to replace it with another addiction. I'm a bit of a hypocrite here, because although I have kicked my Coke addiction, i've regressed partially back to Coke Zero. That being said, here's what I'd did.

You are essentially addicted to three things - the caffeine, the sugar, and the feeling of a nice, refreshing, carbonated beverage. You need to conquer the first two - first the sugar, then the caffeine.

Step 1) Switch to Coke Zero. Compared to Diet Coke, there's hardly any aftertaste. Yes, there's aspartame. HFCS is also evil - you're replacing one vice with another here. Start slow if you need to - make every other coke a coke zero. Then 2 of three cokes are Coke zero. Finally, that's all you're drinking. Think of all the calories you are saving. (Every ~33 cans of coke equals 1 pound of calories!) Eventually, you'll start craving the coke zero instead. The sugar addiction is now taken care of.

I stayed here for a couple years (I actually started with Diet Coke with Lime, then C2, then switched to Coke Zero when it finally came to Canada). But all that aspartame was doing very bad things to my headache situation (which I've discussed on AskMeFi before, but not really relevant here.)

Step 2) Switch to something with less caffeine. For me, I split my addiction between two products. One was was Nestea Zero, which here in Canada is sweetened with Splenda, also solving the aspartame problem. It only has a small amount of caffeine. It's also not carbonated, so I needed something else as well. That something else other was Diet Rite Cola, also sweetened with Splenda, and caffeine free.

This is where I stopped - the Diet Rite Cola was the beverage of choice for me for about 18 months, before a bad stretch at work forced me back into a caffeine dependency. I also make myself feel less guilty by forcing a glass of water down for every 2 diet rite's. I'm now also drinking a coke zero or two, or a sugar-free redbull, a day. But compared to where I was back in my coke-addicted days... wow. I can't even imagine drinking that many empty calories again!
posted by cgg at 11:35 AM on July 12, 2008

Dilute your Coke with club soda and ice (not Sprite, just bubbly water). Gradually increase the amount of club soda over time. You need to wean yourself off of it slowly, otherwise you'll get caffeine withdrawal headaches.
posted by hooray at 12:18 PM on July 12, 2008

Two litres a day? Pah. That isn't a habit. I used to drink six litres a day (occasionally eight). People constantly had to tell me to stop talking so fast. I was using the bathroom every 30 minutes, and I slept four hours a night. It's am miracle I'm not diabetic.

Switch to coke zero. That at least will take the sugar out of the equation. Then start mixing coke zero with caffeine-free at increasing percentages. By the time you're on 100% caffeine-free you'll probably find you can easily switch to something good like, say, water.

I've got a water cooler/filter on my desk now. I drink a glass of coke zero first thing to get me awake, then nice chilled water the rest of the day. And I sleep very well now, thank you.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:05 PM on July 12, 2008

I've pretty much given up on quitting, because I love it like you do, but I have gotten to where I only drink Coke with meals. Definitely don't go cold turkey - caffeine withdrawal headaches are nasty and you will almost certainly fall off the wagon. So I would set that as your goal - try to get to where you only drink it if you're eating something. If you need it at dinner drink caffeine free Coke, which tastes identical but won't screw up your sleep.

That's still a lot of sugar though, so whenever I can (fast-food places especially) I drink half diet, half regular. I can still taste that weird chemical sweetness but it's very very faint, and you're cutting your sugar/calorie intake in half while still getting your fix.

Get one of those really sexy metal water bottles to carry around. That will give you something to carry around, more substantial and attractive than a plastic bottle (not to mention, of course, greener) plus your water won't taste like plastic so you might be more likely to drink it. I was pretty amazed at how much my appetite/cravings changed once I started sipping water all day.
posted by ultraultraboomerang at 2:20 PM on July 12, 2008

One way to try to taper down is to buy your coke ahead of time in bottles, and freeze them. That makes it that much harder to consume at more than a specific rate (the rate at which coke melts), though not impossible, obviously.

!! Freezing unatteneded, unopened coke bottles will cause seriously messy freezers.
density(ice) < density(water) → boom!
After doing this a couple of times, you will curse the very existence of Coke, and then all your problems will be solved.

Personal experience speaking. My mom was a freezer.
posted by whatzit at 3:45 PM on July 12, 2008

You have a caffeine addiction. Not as serious as an alcohol addiction, or heroin addiction, but still. It's there. All that corn syrup (2 liters a day?) is really bad for your body. I'm guessing you don't have a figure like Kate Moss.

Wean yourself off the stuff. I'm pretty addicted to coffee myself, and if I drink some more or less everyday. If I go for 3 or 4 days with out it, I get monstrous headaches. You can expect the same. Keep a bottle of Tylenol on your person, but don't worry--the headaches won't last forever.

You can adapt to not drinking Coke. Seriously. Substitute that sweetness with something else. You will crave sweet things in other forms, like desserts, different types of foods. The human metabolism is very good at adapting to different kinds of foods. Good luck!
posted by zardoz at 6:05 PM on July 12, 2008

Seconding Diet Rite soda (sweetened with Splenda) as a good transition-drink (gateway beverage???) to get some flavor and carbonation and get through the bad times. My own personal addiction is was!! Diet Coke with Splenda. So far I have successfully established these habits: green tea in the morning, 1 Diet Coke around noon, unlimited whatever else to drink whenever, 1 Diet Coke after work. It doesn't sound like a big deal but it is. And like twiki, I started by changing only ONE particular-time-of-day-Coke and gradually added some stricter rules.

I have incredibly intense caffeine withdrawal headaches so I understand if you aren't too gung-ho on the caffeine-free lifestyle. I did do some reading to find out what bottled iced tea brands had an equivalent amount of caffeine to 1 can of DC. Penguin caffeinated mints are good to keep around too ("3 mints = 1 cola beverage"), just in case.
posted by oldtimey at 7:08 PM on July 12, 2008

I made a deal with myself: you can drink all the soda you want--as long as you drink a glass of water beforehand. But what I found was that after drinking a glass of water, I didn't want the soda.

This completely works.

One of the reasons drinking soda makes you want to drink more soda is that it's full of sodium - so switching to diet doesn't have much effect. When you're in the soda rut, the salt in the soda makes you thirsty, and you drink more soda to refresh yourself.

Forcing yourself to drink 8 oz. of water before you drink any soda will have surprising effects. Even if you still drink the soda afterward, you'll find you're drinking it a lot slower and with less interest. You might not even finish it. What your body really wanted was water.
posted by Miko at 8:09 PM on July 12, 2008

I kicked a caffeine addiction by scheduling a week where I didn't really have many responsibilities and going cold turkey. (If you're in college, Spring Break is perfect for this.) Drink lots of water and pop tylenol when you get headachey- and you will- and you should be fine.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:18 PM on July 12, 2008


Now, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah, Coke.


We filled our coke fridge at work half and half with bottled water. You can't have a Coke unless you've had a water first, and you can't have another Coke after that til you've had another water.


So anyway, now we all say we drink much less Coke. Not sure why the fridge is full of water and there's no Coke left, but we can't buy more Coke the water is all gone.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:40 PM on July 12, 2008

Don't buy the coke in such massive qualities. If you are near a convenience store, only buy your coke from them. Don't store any coke at your home. It's easy to justify the purchase of two liter bottles as you save a lot of money as compared to buying them one at a time at a 7-11, but the ease of access is what is causing your problem, not the $50 more you'd spend a month buying the same amount in cans. You're going to be spending more at the start, but drinking coke will now become something you have to hunt down. You'll have to make an active decision about every single can of coke you drink. That way, you haven't given up coke at all, so that little addict in your head will consider this new state of affairs tolerable.

Oh yeah, drink cans of coke, not bottles. These days, there's about one shelf of cans surrounded by a ten coolers of bottles in the stores, but a can of coke is a reasonable serving size that won't kill you.

I have noticed that if someone is selling an addictive substance, the company always gives you the option to buy the product in bulk, and tries to discourage the purchase of individual items in a one use serving size. The optimal price point for the consumer is always how much of the product a moderately to highly addicted consumer will use. Think of how useful it would be to be able to buy one cigarette at a time (if you smoke), and how much easier it would be to monitor your dosage that way. But they sell them in packages that the average addicted consumer uses in a day, thus making it part of a daily routine.
posted by sleslie at 9:41 PM on July 12, 2008

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