Haas copes with addiction

All my life I’ve received speeches from friends and family about an addiction I have. They say it will do terrible things to my body and that it’s the cause of headaches and might even lead me to diabetes some day. They are constantly shocked when I tell them how many doses I’ve had already that day.

That’s right. My name is Amanda, and I am a caffeine addict. Pop, specifically. And Pepsi is my drug of choice. Although I will admit that a good Route 44 Sonic Coke is like a trip to heaven.??

I recently read an article in USA Today about a deal made with cola companies where they have agreed to withdraw non-diet soda from most public schools’ vending machines. High schools will get to sell diet pop, but elementary and middle schools will only be able to sell unsweetened juice, low-fat milk and water in their machines. Now, for elementary and middle school students, I guess I understand. But for high school? What is the world coming to?

The high school I went to was full of vending machines. You could find one around just about every corner. And we even had an area we called “vendo-land,” which contained about a dozen vending machines of soda, juices, candy and even ice-cream snack products. I practically lived in this land, especially in the morning before the first 8 a.m. class.??

When I think about my days as an overworked, over-involved, stressed out high-schooler, I can account for about 68 ounces of pop consumed per day. That’s one 12 oz. can in the morning, one 32 oz. Sonic Coke during lunch, one can right after school and another around dinner or before bed.??

Could the vending machines in my high school have helped in the development of my caffeine dependency? Probably. But it was always available. I mean, I could go down the street to the Wendy’s, Sonic or McDonald’s and feed my addiction during any break or lunch period. I could always keep a stock in my car or locker. Sometimes I grabbed one from home on my drive to school in the morning. But I know that I am the one responsible for my caffeine dependency. And I will even tell you that I know it’s not the healthiest thing in the world. The truth is, I don’t care.

When I get a withdrawal headache at 3 p.m. on a day without caffeine, I know it’s my own fault. People constantly tell me to quit. To drink more water, to live a healthier life. But you know what? I don’t think I could survive the load I do with the hours I need to work without my beloved friend, cola. I know that when I have to sit down for a six-hour long paper writing session at 10 at night that the only thing I need (along with my iPod) is a Big Gulp Pepsi. And I have to admit, sometimes that sweet brown cola taste is the only thing that can quench my thirst. And when I go, I go all out. So forget the Diet Coke. And I certainly won’t settle for C2 or Pepsi One, even if they say it tastes the same.

So I suppose that as long as professors are assigning 20-page papers and huge presentations, and as long as I have to take 16 or 18 hours of classes a semester along with having a part time job to pay the bills, I will live life with a Coke or Pepsi in my hand.??

It’s the end of the spring semester. A time to rejoice. And as this deal is being made to take pop out of our public schools, I am glad I’m a college student. And for all those who chide me about my addiction, I tell you, it could be worse (i.e. crack, meth, booze or nicotine, even). Besides, I doubt the world would want to see me without a sugary cola in my system. And even as I sit down to finish my multiple final papers, projects and exams, I give thanks to my caffeinated beverage of choice for getting me through another year.