The Soda Sacrifice: Kicking My 2-Liter a Day Habit For Lent
“What are you giving up for Lent?” That was the million dollar question among many of my friends recently. My Pastor preached about Lent and what it means for Christians to give up something as a way to reflect and prepare for Easter. I have never given up anything for Lent and decided that this was the year I would. After discussing the idea with my teenage son we both decided to give up soda. For some that might not seem like much of a sacrifice, but for us (especially me) this would definitely be a HUGE sacrifice.
Having been a food addict for most of my life and only recently becoming strong enough emotionally to admit it I have finally begun to heal. I am nowhere near free of the addiction, (and may never be completely) however, it was not until I decided to put the soda bottle down that I realized that my addiction goes beyond food; I am addicted to soda.
In preparation for the big day, I caught myself feeling anxious. I began to take notice of just how much soda I was consuming in one day and as difficult as it is to admit, I was drinking at least 2 liters a day. (That’s 14 liters a week for you mathematicians.) Knowing that I had made the right choice I began to psych myself up for the 40 day event; technically we can “cheat” on Sundays because Sundays are excluded from the timeline, however we chose to abstain the entire time.
The night before I remember standing in front of the refrigerator with my glass in hand sipping the last drop before going to bed. It was difficult for me, because I would take a glass to bed with me every night. Knowing that I would wake up at some point in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (that happens when you age) I would gulp it down before returning to bed. I never left the house without a soda and if I did, I would stop somewhere and buy one. I had two sodas in my lunchbox every day and would guzzle down a glass the minute I got home from work. I drank a glass or two with dinner and would have another throughout the course of the evening.
In my mind I thought that because it was diet soda it was okay, but looking back a few weeks later I realize that it was still a very bad choice. I cringe at the thought of how many empty calories I was consuming; not to mention the other harmful ingredients I pumped into my body unnecessarily.
I’ve known all along just how bad soda is for our physical bodies, I just chose to ignore it. That’s what addiction does. It clouds one’s judgment allowing the addiction to take an even stronger hold on the mind and body. As a little girl I remember my dad using a bottle of Coke to clean the grease and grime off the windshield of the family car. Recently, my son did a science experiment comparing the effectiveness of rust remover and soda; the soda won. Ironically, the same soda that ate the rust off nails was being pumped into my body on a daily basis. I can only imagine what that was doing to the inside of my body.
There are websites dedicated to teaching consumers various uses for soda none of which include quenching one’s thirst. Soda has been known to remove stains from toilets and corrosion from car batteries. You can use it to clean tile grout in your bathroom, remove grease from laundry and remove grease and grime from concrete driveways.
It’s been nearly a month since I had my last drink. I feel better physically and emotionally and find myself reaching for water more and thinking about soda less. I have discovered that when I drink water I feel more refreshed and satisfied. Although I still wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (welcome to the 40’s) I find that I am falling asleep quicker and staying asleep longer. My appetite is a bit different too. I no longer chug down soda and sweet snacks; instead I snack on healthier choices such as nuts, fruit, rice cakes and popcorn.
As for my son, he continues to trudge along with me and looks forward to Easter Sunday when his time of sacrifice is over. I have decided that I will continue this journey long past Easter. Knowing the adverse affects addiction of any kind has on one’s mind body and spirit, I will strive to break the addictions one at a time being careful not to transfer one addiction for another. Getting rid of something that brings comfort and distraction to life is tough. Getting healthy and staying that way is tough. Living our lives fully and caring for our physical and emotional needs properly is what I believe our Creator intends for us to do and I am working on climbing that mountain on step at a time.
I am kicking the 2 liter a day habit one kick at a time; what habit do you need to kick?