I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned in this blog previously about my addiction to Coca-Cola. It may be extreme to call it an addiction, but I have considered it to be one as I have always felt that I have no control over my cravings for it. I have always felt that I needed it. Even so, I know how detrimental it is to my health, and I completely detest what Coke represents (on both a global ethical way and from a personal health perspective). I know how sickly it makes me feel, and it has contributed to all the health issues I have had for the last few years. I hated being a coke-drinker and loathed feeling that I had no control over it. Contributing to the feelings of discord within me was the fact that I wanted to drink it, I enjoyed Coca-Cola and how it tasted and the feelings it gave me, and so I didn’t want to give it up.
[I had to leave writing this post to do something else, and before I came back to it, I was looking on Facebook, and a reminder came up about a post I had shared a few years ago. It was a quote:
“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know” – Pema Chodron
OMG, that’s amazing because I had typed ‘Coca-Cola has something to teach me’ as the first words when I sat down to write this post, the words just kind of came to me, I wrote them almost automatically without thinking that it would be the title. So for that particular quote to come to me now I think is a sign from the Universe/my guides, and it reinforces to me that my struggle with Coca-Cola is here to teach me something about myself. ]
A couple of months ago I was writing in my journal about how frustrated I was with being so ineffectual and so scattered. Particularly regarding my blog (as you can see I haven’t made any blog posts since declaring that I would do so each fortnight). I was expressing how shitty I was feeling, and frustrated with being so fat and uncomfortable, and the frustration of drinking Coca-Cola.
‘Why do I drink the fucking stuff?’ I scribbled. ‘It’s not me!’ I took it further and wrote down whatever came to me. ‘Who the fuck do you think you are? Taking control over me? Who are you?
Further into it I realised these thoughts/feelings were coming from when I was a little kid (the youngest of four) and I felt I was a ‘scaredy cat’ and a ‘cry-baby’. I was scared and felt little and it seemed that my older siblings needed to take over to comfort me and to stop me crying and to look after me. But I didn’t want to be taken over, so I had to pretend I wasn’t upset and try to prove I wasn’t a scaredy cat or a cry-baby.
‘I am NOT a cry baby! I will not cry. And I am NOT scared. I will show you I can be a big girl and not be scared (at least I won’t show you I’m scared I’ll just hide it away and push it down – oh Coke is good for that)
After getting to this point, there was a shift.
I started talking in my adult voice.
‘OK, so it’s time for me to take over my life and the direction I’m going in.
And it’s OK for me to be scared.
And it’s OK for me to be upset and cry.
I will listen to these feelings instead of pushing them away. I am STRONG. Even strong people have fears and feel sadness and grief. It’s ok to feel sad and lonely, and fearful. But don’t let them boss you around. Stand up for yourself Emily. Coke will NOT make you feel better.
I talked about how saying NO to Coca-Cola is saying YES to my inner soul. To say ‘Yes’ to my soul, not to my fear.
What came out in that journal entry might seem really airy-fairy and insignificant; even for me I didn’t think it had a momentous meaning, however for some reason it really made a strong impact on me. Also, I don’t even know if there’s any truth to the feelings that came through in the writing (I don’t actually have any memories to validate the thoughts that came through in the journal writing). However from that night on, I knew I didn’t want to drink Coke anymore. I didn’t have to grapple with will power or tell myself I shouldn’t have it. I just knew it wasn’t right for me and I wanted to put myself first. That day on the 5th February was the last time I drank Coca-Cola.
Mostly I haven’t craved it since, and usually the knowing that I don’t want it anymore has been able to come out on top. (saying yes to my soul, not to my fears). Although there’s been a couple of times when the longing for Coke had been intense; I really wanted it, and although I still felt strong to not have it, the fact that I couldn’t made me feel so sad – to the extent that I felt like crying. One of the times I was on my way to work so I had to push away the tears, but I wished I had the chance to get into the emotion and to really feel where the sadness was coming from.
Since not drinking Coke, I am really starting to understand that I had been using it not only to prop up my energy levels (as I had always thought), but also as a way of pushing away my emotions and to block the ability to feel my feelings. I know now that I need to allow the feelings and emotions, to accept them, and allow them to be expressed. Allow my body to feel them so it can release them. Feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, shame, guilt, insecurity, intimidation, and betrayal. (oh, those last two came out of no-where, but I have left them in anyway.)
After seeing the quote by Pema Chodron, I looked up her website and signed up for emails. I received one in which she talks about when we pause and allow a gap and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. And as I read it I realised that the word ‘refreshing’ was the one that I had used that morning to myself to explain how I felt Coke is to me. I feel that coke is the only thing that feels refreshing to drink and I can’t find anything that will refresh my thirst. Not only to drink, but to feel refreshed. I just never feel refreshed. And so it’s so relevant what Pema says about experiencing instant refreshment by allowing the gap and breathing – this is probably really what my body really is craving, not Coke. To allow the space to connect to my body and to my inner soul.
(It also reminded me of how Coca-Cola has over the years used the word Refreshment in their marketing; probably another reason why I subconsciously reach for Coca-Cola when I want to feel refreshed.)
Now that I’ve been aware of all these things, I have been more and more mindful of how I’ve been using Coke as a way of ignoring my emotions and feelings. I had been reaching for Coke when I felt angry, when I felt sad, when I felt tired, when I felt stressed, when I felt confused. I didn’t know how to let myself feel these feelings. I’ve been mindful now of how I feel when I don’t let myself drink it; I often feel really sad and almost fearful. I want to explore these emotions more to find out what they are trying to tell me. I’ve realised that my addiction to Coca-Cola has been a teaching aid for my soul.