Jimmy Wyatt tells his story of battling caffeine addiction. For more stories by Jimmy, check out his other articles.
You’re ten. It’s Christmas morning. You sit facing an over-decorated Christmas tree, trying to pick your first gift to unwrap. There are boxes of different shapes and sizes waiting to for you to unwrap. Some of the shapes you recognize—small, thin rectangles are video games. Those shaped like cereal boxes are full of clothes. The thing that isn’t wrapped but looks like a bike is probably a bike. Some of the shapes you don’t recognize at all—is that a javelin? Is that a wrapped beanbag chair? Why is there a live peacock roaming around in the kitchen with a bow on its head? So, where do you start? Do you open a video game, or call animal control? Tough call. So you reach for the small, wrapped, cylinder on the ground. You’re unsure of what’s in it, but it’s approximately exactly 12 ounces of something that is perhaps definitely Coca-Cola.
The Beginning of an Addiction
You open it, and discover that, against all expectations, it’s a can weighing exactly 12 ounces that is full of Coca-Cola. What does this mean? Is this symbolism? Materialism? Capitalism? So, you look at your mom, half asleep on the couch, for answers.
The point of the gift was to denote that for today (and today only), you are allowed to have a can of soda for breakfast. The reason for your mom giving you this gift is unimportant (the reason is that you were a bratty kid who didn’t understand what a healthy diet looks like). But it was far more satisfying than any other gift you could have received. No video game, potential bike, or roaming peacock could compare.
Fast-forward four years. You’re starting high school, and think you have your life under control, regardless of insatiable thirst for caffeine. The “soda for breakfast” Christmas tradition has transformed into a full-blown caffeine addiction. You’re fourteen, drinking several Red Bulls a day, and completely addicted to this drug. You should be ashamed of yourself. Sometimes you skip your morning Monster, and it’s a small win. “Maybe I can go a whole day without one?” you think.
You think wrong, you pathetic fool.
People who are addicted to real, adult drugs do some pretty shady things to get their fix. They’ll often resort to crime, or begging, or selling their soul to CutCo knives for that sweet, sweet commission, baby.
But, you’re still a kid. You need your caffeine fix, but crime and whatnot seems a little out of reach. So you begin to find sneaky ways to get what you need. Spending your lunch money on Amp Energy drinks? Sure. Cashing in that piggy bank you’ve been working on for that sugary Rockstar you’re craving so badly? Done. Selling your soul to CutCo knives for that sweet, sweet commission, baby? Never.
Your parents are beginning to notice that you’ve been acting strange. You aren’t as peppy as you used to be, you don’t talk during dinner, and you rarely play with Burton (your peacock) anymore. Even you know you’ve changed. You hardly play any video games anymore. “Red Bull gives you wings” commercials turn you on. You catch yourself looking through the CutCo website as if it weren’t the worst thing in the world. So what do you do?
You change, you pathetic fool.
The first step is to get your addiction in check. You have to drop that bad habit like a bad habit. So you ween yourself off the caffeine. The withdrawal migraines are painful and unfortunate, but you have to do what you have to do.
Then you try to get your family back. You beg and you plead for you mom to forgive you for your mood swings, for stealing from her purse, and for your crimes against humanity. “You stole from my purse?” she says, completely ignoring your crimes against humanity.
And finally… Burton. You have to win Burton back. He’s been with you through thick and thin. He’s lifted you up when you were down. Made you smile when all you wanted to do was frown. And all those memories? Heck, he was your first kiss. And because Burton is the way he is, he forgives you. Because that’s what love is.
You’ve made it through your addiction. Life isn’t easy. You find old can tabs under your bed. You still fantasize about having wings. Douchey guys in Monster t-shirts trigger you. But you’re a better person now. You’ve grown.
And now, you and Burton can live happily ever after.