For many years, I lived with a diet Coke addiction. It wasn’t bad in terms of quantity, but it was serious in its regularity: it was hard for me to go a day without one. The cravings that resulted were intense.

I’ve been all but diet Coke free for nearly two and a half years now. Over that period I’ve drunk a bit of diet Coke twice (and a bit of Coke Zero once) and was astonished by the degree to which it tasted like antifreeze. That did in my cravings pretty much entirely — and yet this afternoon I find myself longing for an ice-cold carbonated caffeinated beverage. Neither iced tea nor iced coffee will do.

I find myself weirdly saddened today that the thing that was diet Coke no longer exists for me, even though I’m so much better off without it.

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