May 1, 2014

Diet Soda, Addiction & Freedom. ~ Jeff Sanders


“Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.” ~ Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack (1738)

I had a screenprinting and embroidery business for 27 years that I started when I was 17. It grew into a 30,000 sq. ft., 100 employee enterprise. For a period of time, I would stop on the way to the office and get a giant diet soda.

I eventually realized I didn’t really want the soda—I just did not want to go to work.

My job had devolved into putting out fires, listening to five different department heads complain about the same problem and then making a decision that would mollify none of them.

Flooding my system with chemical sugar substitutes and caffeine became an addiction that diffused the discomfort I felt for what I projected would await me. The soda served to distract my systems (physical, mental and emotional) by giving them something else to focus on.

The sugar and caffeine affected me physically. I emotionally beat myself up for drinking that kind of crap and mentally punished myself for being weak and addicted.

The energy potential that I created with my projections infused my system to the point where I was uncomfortably energized. I labeled it stress and anxiety. I didn’t like it, it was uncomfortable. I wanted it to change. I wanted to return to something less full.

So, I deflated myself back to my comfort zone by tormenting my liver with chemicals. It worked. It was unhealthy, but it worked.

Caffeine consumed, comfort zone resumed.

My mental flagellation and emotional self-abasement also helped to burn off some of the excess potential. I created “you suck” stories about myself so that I could return to my comfort zone. I was stopping to get a soda to counter and balance the energy I had created by fictionalizing what would await me.

Some days, nothing was.

I would show up, no one would notice and I would cruise to my office in peace and serenity. I would Om to my shanty.

I was fictionalizing a future to justify my addiction to fake sugar and stimulants.

I was creating stress and anxiety to energize me beyond what was comfortable so that I could justify a drive-thru fix.

Upon that realization, my addiction changed. I started to question the stories I was creating. Where they actual and factual or just justifications? Then, I began to try to quiet the mental masturbation and tolerate my discomfort.

It didn’t take too long before diet sodas were a thing of my past.

My liver is still smiling.


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Apprentice Editor: Dana Gornall / Editor: Renee Picard

Photo Credit: Carissa Rogers / Flickr

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