Last week, after drinking five cans of Diet Coke in a day, I realized that I might need to cut back on my addictive friend. On this same day, I had a conversation with a couple of people who once again regaled me with the health horrors of artificial sweeteners. This wasn’t news; I have long known that artificial sweeteners, caffeine and carbonation aren’t good for me. And I definitely drink more than “trace amounts” of all three.
Upon hearing the click and whoosh as the bubbles escape from a freshly opened can, I actually salivate. I crave it. I drink my first can in the morning, and then another. Occasionally, I negotiate or vow to cut back. Then I make excuses, saying to myself—and occasionally others—that in the grand scheme of addictions, my Diet Cokes are pretty tame.
What keeps me from giving this up this habit are not the long-term consequences, but the short-term ones. I have nurtured this habit for over twenty-five years. In the short-term, I know that physically it will suck to give it up. But my day of excess last week, coupled with well-timed health warnings, finally prompted me to ask the universe for some help. I said a little prayer and asked for a solution to take away my craving so I could cut back (if not break the habit cold turkey) on my Diet Cokes.
Over the weekend, I caught a little flu bug, nothing serious, but enough to keep me in bed achy and exhausted. As I began to lament that I had things to do, I realized something strange: I had no taste for Diet Coke. I have no illusion that that my addiction is suddenly cured; I still have a choice to make when I feel better. Nevertheless, this turn of events has caused me again to wonder about answers to prayers.
How often are our prayers and requests to the universe answered and we ignore them? How often are we sent exactly what we need, but over analyze the results? For me, at least, those are rhetorical questions. Recognizing the answers rests in how we frame them, both the questions and the solutions. I could be upset that I got the flu, but I asked for my craving for Diet Coke to be taken away—and it was. Can it really be that simple?
More on this subject, but first a nap….