Houston CocaCola Bottling Company


Serenity. Courage. Wisdom. That’s what recovering addicts and alcoholics are taught to pray for from a higher power as they relearn how to function in the world without a dependence upon their personal substance of choice. The same substances that stand in the way of meaningful interpersonal relationships, happiness and even independent control of bodily function. Addiction, and the neurobiology behind it is astonishing to me. Addiction changes the way that your organs, primarily your brain, function.

Addiction is classified by the American Psychiatric Association as a complex condition and a brain disease that manifests through compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. The neurological changes that occur cause deep cravings which make it hard for a person going through addiction to stop or even slow their use.

I chose the track “Crown” from Run The Jewels’ 2014 “Run The Jewels 2” LP initially because of the kitschy play on words idea of “Crown & Coke”. I have been a big fan of RTJ’s music, and after further review @KillerMike’s verse and hook about selling Cocaine to a pregnant woman then seeking forgiveness many years later; finding redemption and realizing that success could not be reached while carrying burden and guilt that hinders us; that was the narrative I found poignant.

I lived a few blocks away from this old Coca-Cola bottling plant growing up. The building itself seems pretty nondescript on the edge of West University along Bissonnet. I always imagined that a multi-billion dollar corporation would have a larger and more industrial feeling building. While removed in 1903, the first 12 years of the soda company originally used cocaine in their recipe. We have come a long way from that formula, but I am still aware of the hazards of consuming too much of the soda.

Where I may not have always chosen Coke as my preferred soda beverage, I struggle with addiction to the syrupy, caffeinated solution. I am working on reducing the amount of soda I consume, as it has been easy for me to say that since I rarely drink coffee that this was a way for me to stay caffeinated. It is a thinly veiled excuse that I choose to believe as I try to hydrate (even if the contents of the drink actually work to further dehydrate the consumer).

I have spent a good portion of my life around people in various states of recovery from various substances. For anonymity, I’m choosing to not detail in further depth that statement. However, as a whole, I can attest to those who have made sustainable changes in their lives as the people who are able to leave the parts of themselves that carry those burdens alone at the door. They could not pick up their crown (or best version of themselves) holding whatever was holding them down.

I am working on myself; personally, professionally. Just trying to figure this experience out and learning how to balance what I need to carry and what I can let go. Here’s to strength, courage, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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