Rehabilitation of a Coke Addict

Coca-ColaAs vices go, an addiction to Coca-Cola is pretty timid stuff, which may be the reason I developed one so easily. Because of the long hours we work at Behavior, it was only natural that we decided to carry on the dot-com era tradition of stocking our fridge with dozens of bright red cans of Coke. It became a habit for me to drink at least one or two cans of it during the workday, then go home and drink a half-liter more with dinner and another half-liter while I worked on my computer late into the night. It was a nasty habit and I knew it, but I swear Coke tastes so damn good, and I found it incredibly difficult to convince myself to cut it out.

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Conscience — not the moral kind, but the kind that worries about my expanding waistline and long-term health — eventually got the better of me, and two weeks ago I resolved to go cold turkey. For the first few days, I was beset with nagging headaches that would build up progressively over the course of each day, as my body adjusted itself to the realization that it was being deprived of that singular combination of cheap fizz, sugar rush and caffeine buzz. By nighttime, the headaches were too insistent to ignore, and I worried that I was simply displacing a soft drink addiction with an addiction to Advil.

Above: Coca-Cola is “Delicious and Refreshing.” Lady, I believe you.

The headaches are gone now, so I think I’m ‘recovered.’ I’ve heard that reformed cigarette and drug addicts sometimes benefit from a renewed clarity of the senses once they’ve gone clean, but I have to admit, I’ve had no such experience. Beyond the personal satisfaction to be found in knowing that I’m consuming one less of an infinite number of processed food products that are continually destroying my body, there’s really no upside. I miss Coke, and there’s not a meal that goes by that I don’t think about buying, pouring or ordering a a tall glass of it for myself.



  1. I rarely if ever drink soda. Moreso in cases when there’s no water to be found and I’m thirsty. I drink juices if I do drink something tasty, but more or less it’s water followed by Gatorade on occasion when I’m biking heavily.

    I’ve never really been into soda so I can’t relate so much, there’s something about too much sugar and that feeling my teeth gets even after a few gulps that turns me off.

    But congratulations! You’re on your way. Juice, if you like it, can ease that pain. I think.

  2. Jeez, Khoi, I only have two a day on average. I thought *I* was the Behavior caffeine freek!

    We also have a water cooler. I know it’s hard to grab the water and pass up the Coke – because as you say, it’s so damn good – but once you’ve downed the water you feel just about as quenched as with a Coke.

  3. Great! I am constantly battling an addiction to Coke, when I stop I get this headaches, and sleep for day and night I also get this stuff nose as a mild cold but after 5 days I wake up bright and happy, my vision clear full of energy of course coke seduces me again sometime from there but hey you inspired me I┤ll go cold turkey tomorrow, I love the feeling with no coke but that special need makes me suspiscious of any trace of cocaine…at least here in Mexico!!

  4. I just stopped drinking coke this past weekend. By Monday at work I had the worst migraine from mid-afternoon until midnight. It was so bad I vomited. I hope I don’t get a headache again today. In any case, I’m done with coke – anything that can cause me to feel that badly when I give it up I don’t need.

  5. I swear there is something more than caffeine in that bottle! I have to stop drinking it, it is making me fat! Everytime I try, I just have to give in, it is more important than food or anything. I am going to try and quit again! I just had my last one hehe! Are there many people with this problem?

  6. Gave up Diet Coke on New Year’s day and have had a real bad headache, plus feeling of nausea since doing this. I am hoping this feeling will go away. I worry what Diet Coke is really doing to a person when the withdrawal symptoms are so bad. Of course I love the taste of it. Would die for one right now.

  7. Lol…you guys are funny. I drink 8-10 cans of coke everyday. I can even do a whole case by myself each day. My mother is the same …I am 31. I want to quit…but I am very addicted. I wish there was more I could do. I have been doing research to try and scare myself into cutting back or quiting..but…no luck so far.

    Give it your best…scare me pplz…give the name of a study or something!!



  8. *ugh* i just quit drinking coke today (average of three 64oz big gulps a day, with the excuse that fountain pop has more water in it) and came home after work with what seems to be a starting migraine. Lovely. I guess I agree with some of the previous posts….if it makes you feel this crappy, why would you ever wanna drink it? Or go off it in the first place? *hehe*

  9. I am addicted to coke. I drink it for breakfast, lunch,dinner, and between. As a matter of fact, it is the “only” drink I like or will drink. I won’t even drink Pepsi! If anyone has any advice on how to quit, please help. My waistline is starting to show that I need to quit. I’m hooked. And i’ve tried everything! WHat do I do?lol

  10. Hey guys,
    I am just as bad as you guys. I drink around 3 bottles aday of Diet Coke on average. My problems when drinking this is I get short of breath and lose concentration. Ive had enough of it and am having my last bottle now. Im sick of feeling like crap. Thanks for your help guys.

  11. Praise report !! It’s been (almost) two months and no Diet Coke has touched my lips since ! The first week was hell, but after that the desire was pretty much gone. Food tastes better, and I seem to be thinking more clearly. Or is that because I’m not fixated on how to get my next “fix” ? 🙂 Next habit to break: chocolate……

  12. I love diet coke, i used to hate it but in the last 3 weeks i have got through a disgusting number of cans.
    But i don’t see the big deal it’s not like booze, you are not going to die.
    Is it just me or does Diet Coke taste better in the cans, i don’t like the bottles.

  13. Diet coke has to be in a can! It isn’t the same in anything else.
    I drink on aveage 6-8 cans a day and is the only thing i will drink.
    Yesterday thought i’d give it a go and have none. The worst headache ever was the result.
    So back to drinking the Diet Coke!

  14. I thought I was the only diet coke addict out there. Have you ever noticed how much damage it does to your teeth? I was so proud to have only ever received one filling all through my school years. Now i’m 34 and my teeth are being slowly erroded by the acids in the diet coke. I’ve given up twice before. The first time was when I was pregnant with my youngest child and I could’nt stomach it. Instictively I think that says there’s something in it. The second time was when I wanted to try. The headaches were unbearable. HELP!!

  15. hmmm. Who said habits were bad things to have? They save many people a day in the form of instinct. They were both learned over time, a habit we just deem a nuisance? REally though i drink alot of coke too and think i could do better with lime seltzer with alime squezed I dont think carbonation is any good either.

  16. My dearest Jayce… I too was addicted to this magic-popper called “Diet” Coke… It was my saving grace at the end of a hard day’s work. My whole existance revolved around my next Coke break… And then YOU came along… My addiction henceforth been replaced… I quit my Diet Coke escapade the day I found out I was pregnant… Thanks to you (and to your beautiful daughter, Eden) I am now a proud ex-Coke addict… Truly I’ve become a new person altogether (maybe parenthood had something to do with it, but I digress…) You want to be scared into quitting? Alright then, just think of your children. The next time you go for a can of Coke… think of what you’re teaching them about Consumerism… about Addiction… about healthy eating habbits and healthy life-style (or lack thereof)… And instead of reaching out for that Coke can… you can reach for… (I’ll let your audience complete that sentence…)

  17. Yeh, i am still a coke drinker despite the many cavaties it has created. I will go cold turkey when im with friends but quite often it will cost me 10c to buy a litre of coke or my father will offer me a bottle after he came back from the milkbar and say “dont make me twist your arm backwards” in a caring way. I really feel good if i find myself wanting coke and drinking other fluids but i find if i drink one coke i will decide to have another and then i will be offered another untill it turns out that my winning streak has been turned into a one day caffie rush. Sometimes i will buy one and as im half way through drinking it i will think “why did i buy this i dont really want it” and i will throw it away. Im not really wowed over the taste it must be some sort of connection between drinking coke and feeling happy or becoming awake because sometimes if im at the fridge at the local store i will instantaneosly grab a coke and rarely i will put it back. Usually at takeaway places i may just get the burger without the fries but its funny because sometimes i lose money from just not filling my body with saturated fat and coke!. I have been on and off quite often. I went on a trip to china for 5 weeks and i promised myself that i wouldnt drink coke for the whole 5 weeks. On the plane trip the air waitress was out of water so i got a coke, and another and another. when i got to china i drank one as i became accustomed to the hot stinky air and then to my joy i realised that cokes cost ~.50c AUD which was 1/3 of the price and i stopped driniking as soon as i saw the cavities in identical points on two parrel teeth. I once at the dentist had to get another filling and he showed me a picture of the tooth and i thought, why the hell do i bother to drink this shit if i have to rewen my teeth and become like my father who has a full set of fake teeth,not from coke but from horrible hygine. Sometimes i wonder, what would my life be if i never started drinking coke but i will never really know which is something that really buggs me. I really wish there was some sort of coke patch like that niccorete stuff bar caffine tablets
    Thats the end of my rant

  18. I too am a coke addict! I’m not even embarassed to admit it! I am however trying to quit! There must be something as refreshing as the sweet sweet juice in the red can..

  19. Dont need to give the name of a study to scare yourself from coke.. Just drop a nail in a coke can, and 4 days later try to find it..
    The acid will dissolve it.. and so it would do to your stomach if your body didnt neutralize it with calcium..
    Where does this calcium come from if you drink enough to use up all the available quantity in your system.. it comes from your bones!

    Nevertheless, most people don’t care about that.. I had to quit Pepsi unconditionally.. my stomach had gotten so bad it could barely digest anything. After 3-4 years of no cola products, my stomach is much better, but i doubt it will ever be the same again.
    Sad thing is nobody ever told me what would happen if I drank 5-10 cans a day of pepsi for years in a row.

  20. Oh my it is a great feeling to know that I am not alone in this. I am so addicted to Coke that when I was pregnant with twins and I was told not to drink it because caffiene isn’t good when you’re pregnant I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I can on a good day go through a 12 pack a day. I need one when I wake up, before I go to bed and probably every hour in between. I have tried to stop drinking coke before but like everyone else the headaches were horrible. I now have a set of 17 month old twin girls and I find it much easier to drink coke and take care of them than to not drink it deal with the headaches and still worry about them. I love it there is nothing like the taste of a nice fresh cold Coke, I wont drink anything else Coke is the only liquid I’ve consumed in about 2 years. I can’t drink Diet coke, caffiene free, just plain Coca Cola Classic that’s all I will drink. Now 50 pounds heavier than I was 3 years ago I realize I need to do something about it. I have gone on diets, tried everything I will go without eating food just so I can have a Coke. I need help and I don’t know what to do, should I go cold turkey, somebody help me please!

  21. Caffiene addicts, you wish. I drink 8 liters of pop in one daya t least oncea week,other then that i drink about 8-12 cans a day and i bring a 2 liter ofmountain dew to skool with me almost evryday. im only 16. and my mom tells me i should stop, but ic ant help it ilove the stuff. mom makes me take breaks however,well she stops buying pop at least.

    wellif ur bored check out my undergroundcomedy site at
    pass it on to freinds help me get know please

  22. Coke is not the only head-banger. I am a Pepsi addict and stopped after an ulcer exploded. Went to Orange Juice & Water. Man does it hurt the ‘cabeza’. Did the research, think it to be withdrawl from Pepsi and will go back to my medically prescribed meds (they are not the cause). I will continue to stay away from Colas for the weight reasons (jelly-belly). Use the force people – use the force.

  23. hahaha! u guys are all suckers!! I dont even drink coke once a day, i am doin a project on how bad it is for your teeth! it has eaten up a whole chicken bone over night, now thats quite scary!! it seems like a drug, u are all adicted to a drink, a soft drink! Im gona stay as far away from it as possible, do research and look 4 pics of teeth damaged by the stuff! maybe that will help!!!

  24. For those of you who have been able to stop, what are you replacing it wit? I’m trying to do the water thing but I can’t hack it all day long. Everything else either contains a zillion calories or has asparatame (what I’m trying to avoid in DC). Day 4 of going cold turkey and I’m dying here. Help!

  25. 2 days coke-free. Drank 3-4 12 oz cokes/teas a day. I am small frame 150lbs. Whopping headache started last night. Took 2 excedrin this morning then discovered that each contain 65mg of caffeine 🙁 Have used sleeping pills for years due to difficulty sleeping. Have not taken a sleeping pill last 2 nights and slept AWESOME! If becoming caffeine free means I can get a good night’s sleep then I will stay caffeine-free. Replaced daily sodas with apples. Definately way more hungry w/o having cokes.

  26. I have drank DC for the past 5 years. 5 or 6 a day. 3kids to keep up with. I have tried to stop over and over but have not been able to. Please tell me too what your replaceing the drink with…how are you stopping?

  27. I drank several cans of coke daily through teenage years,it destroyed my teeth,every one has a filling,it affects mood negatively and is without doubt massively harmful.Stop drinking it and make an effort to start drinking veg and fruit juice and water.Don’t let children near the stuff!

  28. It’s me again. Almost a year later and I have been doing research on this and have found that our addictions are, although chemical influenced, are really emotional/pyschological in nature. We have grown to associate a lot of pleasure with the act of drinking Coke/Pepsi. Change the associations and the craving with die away.

    Read here and do your research:

    If I am ever to get back into the shape I once was, I have to quit. I am running and eating better, but ofcourse there is no weight loss becuase of the ridiculous amounts of coke I drink.

    Soldier on people!! 😉

  29. i quit drinking coke about two weeks ago, but still have an espresso for the caffeine need. i’m wondering if anyone who quit coke experienced lightheadedness. i’ve been lightheaded for days and thought it could be related to the no coke.

  30. I’m sooo glade I’m not alone in this! I happen to be drinking my 3rd bottle today right now. I used to just drink 1 a-day but now it’s 3. Help!! I am going to quit. I have to. I have gained 10 pounds in the last 2 months and I want my old shape back! I already can eat well and I exercise or 30 minuets a-day but coke is begining to take over my life. My question is, If I have a coke again will I be back to square one?

  31. I have had a feeling of lightheadedness also.
    Been off it now 2 weeks but feel heaps better and already 2 kilos lighter. I drink water and diet coke lime flavour because I still need the caffiene. I was consuming the equivelent of over 236 teaspoons of sugar a week. Now im on the diet stuff im drinking myself to a healthier weight.only 13 kilos to go.

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