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How did your life collide with the headlines in 2007?
Iraq, the subprime crisis, Facebook, immigration, oil prices - 2007 had no shortage of hefty headlines. We'd like to hear about how these and other major news events of the past year affected you. Where did your life collide with the news in 2007?

What's your holiday performance story?
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Soda and Sobriety November 17, 2007E-mail this story E-mail this story
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Angela and her son
Angela Westbrook lives in Metairie, La. On June 24, 1991, Westbrook realized she was an alcoholic, and she stopped drinking. Her sobriety was put to the test four months later when her young son became severely ill. He was hospitalized and she feared for his life. She also feared that this would cause her to start drinking again.

She went to the hospital cafeteria, and there, she bought a Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi. And another. And another. Westbrook kept drinking Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi while her son was in the hospital - she says it kept her from drinking alcohol. And she continued to drink it - a lot of it - for the next two years. Now, 16 sober years later, she credits Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi with keeping her on the wagon.

The Letter From Angela About Her Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi

On June 24, 1991, I became aware for the second time I had a very serious drinking problem.

A year-and-a-half prior to that, I finally admitted I had a drinking problem and even enrolled in a hospital program to help. I succeeded in staying sober for 97 days, and then broke my sobriety. I went on a very hard-core drinking binge until June, when I said enough is enough. My mother had my son in one state and I was in another. I had just gotten divorced and needed to move back with my mother so I could start fresh. She vowed I would not be allowed back with her or my son unless I quit drinking.

I began taking the steps necessary to control my problem, and on June 24, I started going to a few AA classes and even had a doctor put me on Antabuse. But, as they say, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. I did well for a couple of months, having moved back with my mother (keep in mind I was 22 at the time) got a job and started raising my 3-year-old son again, and even managed to get an apartment. About four months later, my son become gravely ill and had to have two emergency surgeries.

He remained in the hospital for 12 days and came out of the ordeal fine. During that time, my family became increasingly concerned, not only for my son, but for myself as well. They were afraid under the circumstances I would start drinking again. They didn't think I could handle the stress of my son's health at the time. I must admit, there were a few occasions I really had to fight the urge to keep from going to the bar or liquor store.

Then I bought a Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi at the hospital from a vending machine and became instantly hooked. From that point on I drank nothing but Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi. I even got to the point where I was consuming two three-liter bottles per day, every day. Anywhere I went I had a 20-ounce or a two-liter bottle with me. Anyone who came to the house to see me brought me a two-liter bottle. I had six to eight two-liter bottles in the refrigerator at any give time.

My girlfriend even teased me, saying I should have a Pepsi tanker outside of our apartment complex with an i.v. leading from the tanker to my arm. The doctors said what I did was switch addictions, from alcohol to Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi. I say what I did was save my life. So, for two years, Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi was a major part of my life, and I truly believe helped save my life. As long as I was drinking it, I wasn't drinking alcohol. I don't drink Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi any more, but I still love regular Pepsi.

On June 24, 2007, I celebrated my 16th anniversary free from alcohol.