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RIP, Doctor

I’m not a smoker, I’m not much of a drinker and my experimentation with recreational drugs is minimal to none. But I have a vice. I need one first thing in the morning. I need one when I get stressed. I need one when I’m tired. I need one when I’m celebrating. Whether I’m bored, laughing, crying, working or playing, I must have one. Afterward I feel guilty, ashamed, sinful. What is this wickedness that is the constant epicenter of my life? Dr. Pepper.

People seem to either love it or hate it. And I, sadly, love it! You can tell me the flavor is derived from prune juice, a claim that proves to be false anyway. You can tell me it has 40 grams of sugar in a can (which surpasses the suggested daily intake of sugar by 15 grams). You can tell me I’m consuming 250 nutritionless calories in a period of 10 minutes. All of that goes in one ear and out the other when I hear the crisp crack of a can opening.

I’ll admit it. It’s not a preference. It’s not a desire. It’s an addiction! So what’s the best, proven way to deal with addiction? A 12-step program.

My knowledge of 12-step programs is limited to what I’ve seen on tv or in movies. I know I’m supposed to stand up and say my name, to which, everyone within hearing distance replies, “Hi, Catrina”. I then state that I am a Pepperoholic and announce how many days of sobriety I have under my belt…one. Beyond that, I’m at a loss; so I Google 12-Steps and I’m on my way.

1. We admitted we were powerless over the substance—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Well, I wouldn’t say that the Pep has made my life unmanageable. I am completely capable of creating that chaos on my own. But I am definitely powerless over it and yes, I admit it. Ok, maybe this won’t be so hard.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Yes, I believe that the power of God can help me to overcome my Pepper addiction. Do I think he can restore me to sanity? That’s a pretty tall order, even for the Creator of the universe. And frankly, I don’t know that I really ever want to be sane; it sounds kind of boring. So I’ll say that for say step two, I’m about 50/50.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I’ve struggled with this my whole life. I’m a control freak and I’m always convinced that I know what’s best for my life, so the thought of conceding all control gives me hives and panic attacks. I know eventually, to have the kind of freedom I need, I will have to surrender control of my entire life to God. But the journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step, right? So, how about I agree to yield my Dr. Pepper addiction first and then we’ll see where things go?

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Oh, hell no! I’m not opening that can of worms! We’ll just have to put a pin in that one. Next!

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Again, we’re only talking about the soda addiction here. If I were to cover all aspects of my life in this recovery, we’d all be here until the end of time as I confessed to 49 years of wrongs. But, I’m announcing here, to all the world (or at least the 3 people who read this blog) that my habit has caused me to lie, cheat and steal.

I’ve lied many times saying that the dark, bubbly goodness in my glass was Diet Coke, when it was truly Dr. Pepper, this, in order to cover my failed commitments to diet or limit my Pepper intake. I’ve cheated. Ok, so maybe I haven’t cheated. But I’ve definitely stolen, taking unapproved sips from my daughter’s glass or taken the last can from the fridge that was already claimed by someone else. For this I am not proud. But, as any addict will tell you…it’s a disease. I use that to somewhat assuage my guilt for such behavior.

6. We're entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Amen! Have at it!

Woohoo! I’m halfway done and I’ve only been working at it for 10 minutes! So, until the caffeine headaches kick in, until the need for a bubbly, sweet treat grows angry in my soul, until the smooth, seducing call of a freshly poured glass takes over my body…I’m sober. I’m clean. I’m monkey-free!

When do I get my chip?

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