Having written about one of my addictions below, I feel it’s only appropriate to write about my other one and get the dirty deed over with. (Reading, being as necessary as breathing, does not count as an addiction.) Unlike Scrabble, this second addiction is a completely solitary pursuit, and unlike Scrabble, it is a vice.
I’m talking about frozen Cokes.
A couple of years ago my sister noticed that the local Burger King was selling frozen Cokes, or Icees, as they call them. Neither of us had had one since we were teenagers, so we went for nostalgia. They tasted wonderful. We returned to BK the next day for more. We discovered the delights of frozen frozen Cokes—that is to say, putting frozen Cokes in the freezer, then pulling them out later, letting them loosen up a bit, chopping through them with a straw, and sucking the icy mix from the straw. This pleasure boosted my consumption dramatically.
Soon I noticed disturbing similarities between my frozen Coke habit and a drug addict’s habit:
- My consumption kept increasing, and the weekly sums I was willing to spend on my new habit kept pace.
- I began making solitary trips to Burger King, sometimes late at night dressed only in my pajamas, that I did not confess to. Since my sister and I don’t live together, this was easy to get away with.
- The drive-through attendants at BK began to recognize me. I learned their names. One of them discussed with me whether frozen Cokes were a gateway drug, but we decided they were not; they were already the ultimate frozen treat high.
- I became willing to drive longer and longer distances to sustain my habit. The machine at the local BK often broke down, and the machine at the BK across town often produced soupy frozen Cokes. I learned the location of other BKs in Southern Illinois and would sometimes vary my driving routes to take me past these places. I located other sources, too, principally Moto-Marts and other convenience stores, some of which had acceptable frozen Cokes and some of which didn’t. I frequently drove the 12-mile round trip to a neighboring town for the sole purpose of obtaining frozen Cokes.
- I became a connoisseur. Just as someone who smokes pot discriminates readily between different varieties and strengths, I can (and worse, do) hold forth on frozen Cokes obtained from various sources in terms of cola concentration, sugariness, texture, granularity, and relative ability to remain in the semi-frozen state for a given period of time.
- I hid the evidence of my habit from passengers in my car by frequently emptying the trash bag and picking up soda straw wrappers.
- I repeatedly voiced my intention to reform. I would cut back my consumption for a couple of days, perhaps even a week, then return to my habit at an even higher level. The notion of going cold turkey was unendurable.
These classic signs of addiction couldn’t be denied, but I felt powerless. The icy lure of frozen Cokes kept overcoming my scruples. I wondered, might there be enough other addicts to form a local FCA (Frozen Cokes Anonymous)? Should I go into treatment with a therapist who specializes in treating addictions? Were there other recovery options?
Thus far, I’ve done nothing. But my latest lab tests show that my triglycerides are too high. Not alarmingly high, but unacceptable. So once more unto the self-deprivation breach: I’m going to try to limit frozen Cokes to a weekly treat. Wish me luck; hold me accountable. It’s a powerful enemy I’m battling, and I’ll need all the strength I can muster.