they say that in 12 step programs, the first step is to admit you have a problem. well, i may not be in AA, but i'm ready to start facing my demons. i, rachel morgan, have a problem. although i hide it well, i've been an addict for nearly a decade, and recently, i've found myself slipping back into bad habits, and i'm worried that i'm losing my ability to control my urges... i'll never forget that first rush (what a feeling!) and then watching myself spiral out of control and into an addiction that, at a certain point, completely took over my life. and now, i've relapsed and am using again... damn you, diet coke! why must you control my life like this??
i was in high school when i first tried DC. my parents had raised me with the whole "just say no to sugar" and "soda is the devil's breast milk pumped from momma satan's giant-hairy-evil-beast-nipple" mentality, and i guess when i became a typical rebellious teenager, DC was the first place i turned. all of the cool girls were drinking it, and some of the prettiest and most popular girls even did crazy things like drink DC while using a piece of licorice as a straw. i wasn't ready for that yet, but i did try DC a few times. at first, i wasn't sure i liked it, but it felt nice to feel like i was part of the crowd, one of the "cool kids." before i knew it, i had a full-blown 4-cup-a-day habit.
soon thereafter, fountain DC during school wasn't cutting it anymore. i started to need it when i was out to eat, and even at home. i experimented with cans, 2 liters, and even glass bottles. my mom found a couple of cans i'd stashed in my room one day, and i remember feeling like the scum of the earth when i lied to her and said, "oh that's not my diet coke, mom. i'm just holding it for a friend." by the time i was in college, DC was in complete control of my life. i was a varsity athlete at a big 10 university, but i had a 6-pack-a-day habit. some of my teammates knew i was drinking DC recreationally, but i don't think they knew just how bad my addiction had become.
my DC abuse got even worse sophomore year of college when i was living in the sorority house. all of the girls did DC, and they even introduced me to premium strains, like DC cherry and DC vanilla. it got so bad that i was eventually staying up all night, drinking can after can after can until i was so high on DC that my hands would shake, and the only way i could make it through the day was to keep doing it. i was drinking DC every day before 9am.
i hit rock bottom when i went home for the summer after sophomore year. i'd been home for a week or so, and my parents had noticed that there was a visible change in my personality. i tried to hide my addiction from them by sneaking out of the house to drink DC all day, but i'd crack open a can every morning and make excuses like, "it's the only way i can wake up in the morning," and "i don't drink coffee." one day, i awoke DC-sober with a terrible headache and sweaty, quivering hands. i needed a fix, STAT, but to my dismay, the box in the fridge was empty. i'd gone on a bender the night before, drinking can after can until i couldn't see straight anymore, and i hadn't bothered to replenish my stash.
i was coming off a huge DC high, and fast, but there was nothing i could do but wait it out. it happened to be momma b's birthday and baby brother b's senior prom, so we were all set to spend the day as a family - which meant i'd have to hide my addiction. i knew that if i could just wait until we went out to breakfast, i could score some DC and everything would be ok, so i counted carbonation bubbles in my head (counting bubbles was the only way i could sleep at night back then... i was always too jacked up on DC to fall asleep on my own) while i waited for the fam to get ready. and i waited. and waited. and waited.
eventually, my headache became so severe that i lost my cool and began demanding that we get on the road. my family didn't know it, but i was jonseing for DC, not breakfast. i could live without hash browns, but i really felt like i was going to die when i wasn't on DC. by the time we piled in the car, i was a mess. within minutes, i was in tears (literally, yes, crying actual human tears), and finally broke down and told my family the truth: i needed DC. i was an addict. we stopped at a 7-11, where i rushed in to pick up the largest size DC they had, and as i chugged it, i felt life return to my body. this time, however, i wasn't just enjoying my high. instead, i saw myself clearly for the first time in years; i was an addict, and i needed help.
i spent the next few years knowing that i had a problem. for the most part, i could control my urges, but i would occasionally slip up and awake in a haze, surrounded by cans. i've been living in CA again since october, and until recently, i've done a really good job controlling my addiction. on sunday, i broke down and bought a 12 pack (my new favorite strain is DC plus - it has vitamins and is therefore healthy, obv). three days later, they're all gone. averaging 4 DCs a day isn't that bad for someone with an addiction like mine, but i feel as if i'm backsliding and have vowed to get clean again.
so, friends, if you see me reaching for the DC, don't let me do it. no matter how much i beg and plead, it's really for my own good. friends don't let friends do DC - are you my friend?