I have often joked that I am addicted to diet soda. I turn to the tasty beverage to get me through my work day and then have another one after work each day. It tastes good, has no calories, and gives me a little caffeine rush that I have come to depend on to get through my busy days. While diet soda isn’t healthy in the least, when I compare myself to Darren Jones, a 38-year man from the United Kingdom, I have nothing to worry about.
Jones drinks 42 liters of Diet Coke every week, and in an effort to help himself kick the habit, he wants to check himself into rehab. He spends £100 each week on his habit, and it is damaging both his own life and his relationship with his wife.
“I believe what I have is an actual addiction and I start to worry if I’m getting near the end of the bottle,” Jones said. “If I can’t get in touch with [my wife] Paula to get me some more I start to panic – it’s like a drug or alcohol addiction.”
Jones started drinking soda when he was 13-years old and worked in a local market. Since then, his habit has evolved into drinking the equivalent of 18 cans of soda every day for the past 10 years. He used to drink regular Coke but changed to diet when he started to gain weight.
“I would love to go into a rehab centre or boot camp or somewhere remote where I couldn’t get my hands on Diet Coke,” he said. “As soon as I had the money to do it, a spell in rehab would be the first thing I’d spend it on.”
It’s easy to see how drinking so much soda has impacted Jones’ personal health. He now has diabetes and high blood pressure. Also, consuming this much caffeine and aspartame is very bad for his health. But how has it impacted his relationships with his family?
“What’s worrying is the addiction gets so bad I did admit I would find it difficult to choose between my diet cola and Paula if I was told I could only take one item to a desert island.”
“I’d actually prefer him to go down to the pub for a pint rather than down Diet Coke,” said his wife. “At least it would be something different.”
Let’s hope that 2022 is the year he can kick the habit.