Soda addiction is something I battled off and on since I was 15 years old, and now 24 years later I've finally kicked the habit. It's one of my biggest NSVs, and doing Whole30 would've been totally worth it (for me) if that was my only gain.
Prior to Whole30, I draink 1-2 liters of "fully-leaded" Coca-Cola every day. I even polished off the last of my "one last bottle" the evening before my Day 1.
Week 1 sucked, especially Days 2-4. It was horrifying. I was fighting dehydration, withdrawal, and lovely lady-type issues all at once. "Hangover" doesn't do it justice, it was detox (which is way worse than just being hung over). I slept a lot, there were points where I couldn't move without just breaking down in tears... and I was so glad that I'd prepped a little bit so I could eat and tell the family to DIY. I needed nausea meds to keep food down long enough to let me fall asleep on Day 2. The headache lasted for days, but I still had to get out and do things like buy groceries for the new week's meal plan, put them away, and even cook for my family. Day 5 I finally managed the whole day without meds for pain or nausea.
During that first week, I did actually sweeten things with fruit/juice more than I probably should've. I was drinking black coffee, but also having hot tea during the day (2 cups water and 2 bags tea: 1 black, 1 "fruity" but compliant from a sampler box) which I sweetened with juice squeezed out of Cuties (1 baby orange per mug of tea). I also started keeping ice in my "main" cup so I could grab ice to suck on any time I felt like I would've normally grabbed a mint (I went through a large bag from Kroger every 1-2 weeks before W30). I'm another one who doesn't like regular unflavored water, but I get a good bit of it through my ice due to the amount I go through (and I drink water as the ice melts because it tastes better to me when it's still super-cold).
Reading here, I had seen quite a few ways to get my soda fix without stepping out of compliance. But I'm a recovering alcoholic, so I am all too aware of what it means if I need a "fix"... it means I'm addicted, which means anything remotely like that thing I craved would only serve to support that addiction rather than help me break free of it. Even adding a splash of fruit juice (especially lemon/lime) to some sparkling water would've been totally SWYPO for me, because I could drink Sprite in place of Coke and be happy as long as I didn't feel the need for the caffeine at the time.
The day after my Whole30, I drank some Coke. It's not recommended, it definitely wasn't a reintro of only one food group, but I needed to know if it was going to cause those cravings again... because if it did, I wanted to do another 30 days to continue working on getting free of that addiction.
I'll be honest -- it didn't even taste good. It was syrupy, the carbonation didn't give me the "ahh" feeling I expected, and it tasted more like chemicals than sweetness. I sipped on it very sparingly while we were out (because I didn't want to pay for ice and had forgotten my ice cup at home), then gave the rest to my husband as soon as we walked back in our front door. He hasn't been doing Whole30 with me, and took it gladly... but I just reveled in the fact that even carbonation has no hold on me, anymore!
Breaking my soda addiction probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't done Whole30 the way it was intended, complete with sucking it up and making sure I didn't give myself any room for adventures in SWYPO. I feel so much happier knowing that I can continue my (slow and drawn-out) reintroduction without worrying that I'm going to slide right back into my old habits and addictions afterward, because if I can break away from SODA, I'm totally confident that I can break away from anything.
(On a related note, on that first reintro day I also added some honey to my hot tea, and didn't even notice enough change in flavor for me to bother adding any sweetener to it since then.)
Putting down the things we're used to is hard, and not recreating them during Whole30 might actually be harder... but finding freedom from the things that are doing more harm than good (in our bodies and minds) is really what this whole process is all about.