When we went for lunch at the boulangerie (without poor Violet) last week, I relented and let Callum get a Coke. It's a rare treat for him. We don't keep it in the house, and he's rarely allowed to order it. This carmely brown elixir leads you down a dangerous path, trust me. I know whereof I speak. Coke and I go a long way back.
I couldn't look at that sweating cup without thinking back to all the Cokes of my childhood (My parents gave it to me before bed at night to ease colic when I was an infant (I know, right!?), so Coke and I go waaaay back.). And when it's a fountain Coke we're speaking of, I can't help but think of my friend Sarah. We haven't chatted in ages and I'm not even sure she checks in on this blog anymore, but memories of sharing secrets and laughs over Cokes with her are some of my clearest. It was comfort food for us. Fountain cokes with lots of ice. They were the best. Sarah would wrap a napkin around her glass when we were at her house, somehow making it fit perfectly... anthropologically, I guess it was an early koozie. I still can't manage to do it here. Not the right napkins, I suppose. We experimented with flavored Cokes, New York Seltzer and even diet, but always back to Coke we came. And it's Coke, by the way. Not Pepsi or anything else. I was so indoctrinated into the Coke culture that it was baffling for me to go to college (out of the south into the midwest) and hear people talk about things like "pop" or "soda." Hmmm. I'll have a Coke, please.
As my migraines increased, Coke became one of my comforts. Medicinal. Never as good out of the can, but when Callum was little, I'd buy two cases each week to keep in the fridge. I can't tell you how many I went through in a day. If my head started to hurt, I'd reach first for a Coke before any meds. I gained weight. I felt sluggish. But staying home with a toddler can do that to you too, I suppose.
I tried to quit. Lasted a few weeks and with one headache I would be back at it. Willpower? Not so much. Finally, in August of 2002, I gave it up. Went cold turkey, just like that. Bye-bye Coke. I didn't get the withdrawal headache and irritability as much as a longing for my friend. Pretty pathetic, huh? But this time it stuck. And I haven't had one since. I recognize that I was seriously addicted. Around the nine month point, I had a "using" dream. I woke up from dreams of drinking a Coke and thought, "What a stupid move, Lauren. You went nine whole months and had to go and have a stupid Coke." Guess what? It was just a dream. How crazy is that?
I've been clean almost nine years now!
It's recognizing the real hold that drink had over me that gives me caution with Callum's soda drinking. We were a no soda family for the longest time. Then we eased up and let him get a Sprite every so often when we go out to dinner. We still don't keep any in the house. And we won't. But you know what? He's eleven. He's a kid. He likes soda. And he's so sweet and conscientious. If he's offered a Coke at his friend's house, he'll call and ask for permission. Of course I say yes. I don't want it to become forbidden fruit. It isn't. Moderation is the name of the game for us.
I will admit to having a sip or two of Callum's Coke when we've been out. A sip or two won't kill me. (That day at lunch, I thought, "Oh, I'll have to ask Callum for a sip before it's gone." And by the time I remembered, he was down to the ice.) It tastes okay. Not nearly as good as my memory of how it tasted.