So how does it feel going cold turkey on a 30-year habit?
Well...Back in 1958 there was a made-for TV movie called "The Days of Wine and Roses"*, the story of a young alcoholic couple whose lives are being ruined by their drinking.
As I recall, there's a scene from this movie in which the husband, who is struggling to stay sober, begs his wife to stop drinking. But for his wife it's more than that she can't stop drinking; it's that she doesn't want to because when she's not drinking the world seems like a dreary place, not the world she wants to live in.
Now, I'm not at all saying that's how I feel without my caffeine-free diet coke; I'm just saying that I understand what the wife character was saying.
I mean, I used to sip diet soda from one can to the next all day long, and for me those sips were like little treats, something to look forward to a few dozen times a day. Part of my routine. I was a chain-sipper. But now that I've quit I feel a little at loose ends.
For the first week or so I'd go to the refrigerator and open the door looking for something to sip. On the shelf where my diet sodas used to sat now sat cans of club soda. But club soda isn't really a sippin' drink like my diet soda was. It has fizz, but not that flavorful little cola kick. Next I tried sipping grapefruit Sparkling Ice, a sugar-free carbonated mineral water/fruit juice drink infused with vitamins and anti-oxidants. But with that stuff, too, I was just going through the sipping motions without getting any real satisfaction. So I emptied the soda shelf, closed the refrigerator door stopped sipping altogether. Which is probably a good thing, since I think I needed to break the sipping habit as much as the soda habit.
Unless I can get used to sipping water.
Which leads me to another issue which may be the root of my whole drinking problem: I don't like water. I don't like the taste of it. Or rather, the lack of taste of it.
People have offered me special brands of bottled water which they swear is so good that I'm sure to like it. I have yet to try a bottled water that tastes good to me. If I have to drink water, I'd much prefer sink water. And even that I don't especially like.
But I'm drinking it. Or trying to. Drinking it with meals, Drinking it on the road. Drinking it with Combos. It still doesn't taste good. But maybe it will eventually.
In the meantime I can't say that at this point I'm specifically craving diet soda. I can now look an ice-cold diet soda right in the eye and resist. Which I guess is a victory of sorts.
And yet I always feel like I'm craving something, always hungry or thirsty for something, I just can't put my finger on what it is. Well, whatever it is, maybe if I drink enough water I'll drown it. 8)
*This was an episode of Playhouse 90, a TV series of made-for-TV movies that aired once a week. "Days of Wine and Roses" was one of its most famous episodes, and in 1962 it was re-made into a dumbish movie with the same name and a schmaltzy theme song.
The Playhouse 90 show starred Cliff Robertson and Piper Laurie and was awesome.
The movie starred Jack Lemon and Lee Remick and was lame.
The problem is, the Playhouse 90 Cliff Robertson-Piper Laurie version is about impossible to come by.
You can easily find a copy of the Jack Lemon-Lee Remick movie, bu it's not worth watching. So if you're interested in "Days of Wine and Roses" don't bother unless you can find a copy of the original 1958 TV version.