x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

It's practically an addiction, but quitting is a can-do thing

Ater getting in effect hooked on a popular energy drink, it has taken me two years to acknowledge that it is probably better not to take it to excess.

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.

Follow us on Twitter and keep up to date with the latest in arts and lifestyle news at twitter.com/LifeNationalUAE