It started off as a bit of a joke. I would crack open an ice-cold can of Red Bull as my end-of-week treat after work on a Thursday, and listen to my friends as they teased me about my choice of refreshment. "On the Red Bull again, Zaineb?" they would say, as I finished it off with an almighty slurp before crushing the can against my forehead (OK, I made that last bit up).
I had my excuses, like any addict. I would whine about how early I get up in the morning to go for a run (5.40am) and how I needed my favourite energy drink, every so often, to get me through the day. Plus, I would add smugly, it was only a once- or twice-a-week indulgence, so what harm was I really doing to myself?
As time went on, even my morning coffee was unceremoniously dumped in favour of a can - and the largest, no less - of the drink. Realising I had grown to love that slightly metallic, eye-wateringly sweet taste, but that it no longer had any effect on my energy levels, I decided that it was time to wean myself off the stuff.
I'll always remember how I managed to get hooked on Red Bull in the first place, two summers ago, when I found myself alone in Berghain/Panorama - the most exclusive club in Berlin.
Having managed to make it past the notoriously picky bouncers with two of my friends, despite all three of us looking what we were - terrified for the fate of our social standing should we be turned away - I managed to get spectacularly lost within two minutes of getting inside. It's a cavernous building (the club was a power station in a former life) and I gave up trying to find my friends after a quick scan of the heaving dance floor.
Wandering about on my own, weaving my way through the 1,500-plus other revellers, I decided that, language barrier or not, there was no way I was going to leave before my language class the following morning, at 9am. I decided the best way both to earn some cool points from my friends and enjoy myself would be down to one thing alone: how much Red Bull I could consume in one night without sending myself into a sugary coma.
From the next morning on, right up to the moment I decided to quit, Red Bull would hold a place in my increasingly beating heart.
Opening my bottle of water today might not have held the same satisfaction as listening to the fizz of a can being opened, but my eye does seem to have stopped twitching.
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