Have You Ever Given Up Coffee? Will You, After Reading This?
I didn’t mean any harm. I just had one simple question: Am I addicted to coffee?
This may seem odd to you. You may be wondering why I want to know that. You may be wondering how I can even question if I’m addicted to coffee. Like, of course I am! Who isn’t? In this day and age, everyone is chugging coffee unapologetically, and hardly anyone with the habit has to suffer through a day without it. It’s readily available—cheaply at the grocery store or on nearly every street corner in the form of coffee shops and cafés. Nowadays it seems like everyone has a java addiction. Why did I think I was different?
You see, I don’t think I have a particularly addictive personality. I’ve gone through my whole life not letting little common addictions take over, (I’ve smoked a couple of cigarettes in the past but never got hooked to nicotine, i.e., I don’t smoke; my other vices I’m able to keep under control and never have a problem going without for days on end, for example, alcohol). Because of this, I’ve fashioned myself a nice, tall, shiny pedestal to stand on. Little did I know that this 5-day-long experiment would knock me swiftly right off of it.
I can’t deny that I love coffee! I like to add whipped cream on top, too.
In preparation for my week without coffee, I thought long and hard. When was the last time I went without coffee? I couldn’t honestly remember. Surely there had to be some day, trapped in the inner recesses of my mind, that I went without a cup of joe? I drew a blank, and still even now at the end of this trial, I’m coming up empty.
Fine. I conceded that maybe, just maybe, this experiment wouldn’t be as hands-behind-my-back easy as I first anticipated. In the end, I came away having learned a lot. First lesson? Never deprive yourself of coffee, if you can help it.
I’ve outlined my java-less journey for you to easily read and perhaps even join me in a laugh at my pain. Here’s what happened when I gave up coffee.
Homemade or purchased, it doesn’t matter. I was depriving myself of coffee in any form, from any source. My Starbucks app was probably very confused
Day 1- Confusion, Denial, Exhaustion
If you’re anything like me, you don’t take your decision to give up coffee lightly. You thought about it the night before, as I did, and in as little as 12 hours later, you’re kicking yourself. This is pretty much what my first day without coffee was like. I was definitely confused—I couldn’t believe that the withdrawal symptoms were hitting me quite so hard and fast! It didn’t make sense to me. I thought, “No way would I feel this bad from the get-go! Surely my body needs time to process the change?” That was the denial setting in. Apparently, the absence of coffee didn’t take long to course through my veins as panic, the red-alert alarm sounding across my brain. I tried tea, and it wasn’t at all a fitting substitute. Even with a bit of lemon and sugar, the green tea left much to be desired. Perhaps I shouldn’t have started with green tea, as it always mysteriously makes me feel a bit nauseous. The biggest factor I had to contend with was exhaustion. I was dog tired all day, and even though I had a solid 8 hour sleep, my bed was calling my name. I ended up not being able to sit upright at my computer, and opted instead to recline on my very comfy couch next to my desk, snuggled in soft pillows and blankets, working instead off of my iPad. Maybe the coffee withdrawal symptoms were exacerbated by the fact that it was cold, rainy, overcast, and dreary all day. Factor in that I overslept and missed yoga, and suddenly I’m all out of sorts. I guess it plays a role, but I could’ve dealt with all of that if only I had coffee. I needed something warm and dark that could pass for coffee, so I made a weak and watery mug of steaming hot chocolate. It was good, a better attempt at substitution than the green tea was, and gave me a boost of energy to not only go to the gym but also do some chores around the house—all after 8pm.
Tea and hot chocolate. Neither came even close to filling the coffee-sized hole in my aching heart during this experiment.
Day 2- Seriously Considering Giving Up and Starting Over Next Week
I stayed up pretty late (almost 3am) Monday night because it was Steve’s birthday (at midnight, of course) and I wanted to spend some time with him after he got off work at 11p. I did have a good, full night’s sleep, waking at about 10:30a, and immediately had breakfast because Steve got up early and cooked. So, the waking from a deep sleep and having a delicious breakfast with some TV temporarily kept my mind from wandering to caffeine but, sure enough, before I knew it…There it was. The intense coffee craving. Today I’m tired again, and it’s another rainy, overcast day, but I think I may have an easier time of pushing past it. I’m going to try my best to just ignore it and keep my mind off of the coffee pot in the kitchen, cruelly calling my name. I also have a headache; I can tell it’s one of those “exhausted, thirsty, or hungry” headaches. Since I don’t fit any of those criteria, I’m willing to bet it’s just a caffeine withdrawal headache. I had about a 3-hour nap in the afternoon. I don’t usually nap, and especially not that long. I ended up going to bed at a decent time (11-ish), hoping to stave off the next day’s exhaustion.
Day 3- Too Tired to Function with No Motivation
I was a fool to think that I was above everyone else and could not be caught in the death grip of caffeine withdrawal. After my failed attempts to replace the coffee-sized hole in my heart with tea and hot chocolate, I decided to go a couple of days with zero caffeine. That was a huge mistake, and on the fourth day I think I’m going to try tea again or some other substitute. I took another nap on the third day, but it was only about an hour instead of three. I also got no work done at all, besides working on the budget for the next month and balancing the household’s finances (which is not fun! But it can be considered work!) I was in bed by 10:30p to be absolutely certain I wouldn’t be tired.
I love a bit of coffee after a workout. It increases the lingering rush received from exercise, and the two excellent sources of energy play together in perfect harmony
Day 4- Determined to Push Through and See This to the End
It may seem dramatic but I believed if I put all of my mental strength and willpower to work, I could push through and finish strong. I think I’m up for the task. I have no choice. Giving up at this point would be a massive failure! And it would make all the previous three days feel like a huge waste. I wouldn’t blame someone else for giving up. The exhaustion, the irritability, the headaches, the inability to concentrate…The mere fact that it has lasted several days instead of just one has blown my mind! If I had known it was gonna be this bad I certainly would’ve reconsidered my little experiment. Surely anyone would understand. Who could blame me? But I decided to see how I felt Friday since that was the last day.
Day 5- Finally Seeing the Finish Line and Collapsing Before I Reach it
Friday started out as a beautiful and warm day, with the sun graciously poking a few rays out through the clouds. I hadn’t slept well the previous night, having woken up in the middle of the night as I usually do when Steve works the overnight shift. Despite that, I felt refreshed and recharged. Even broke, work-from-home writers feel good about the coming weekend, as it turns out. I went to yoga and had a really good class, challenging but rejuvenating. I left, breathing deeply of the pleasant spring air, an involuntary smile on my face.
Then, a blinding ray of light shot down from Heaven and illuminated a beacon before my eyes–a sweet, merciful oasis in a desert sans coffee. Just across the street was Burger King. And I wanted a vanilla iced coffee so bad I felt like I could scream.
The coffee culprit that made me forsake my promise to go until Saturday morning without coffee The delicious reward for sticking it out so long. I refuse to punish myself for giving in to the coffee craving 1 day short!
Maybe I was rewarding myself for punctuating an unproductive week filled with headaches, fatigue, and irritability with a yoga class and a positive attitude; regardless, whatever the reason, I needed that coffee. And I got it. And I bragged about breaking my coffee fast 12 hours early on my Snapchat and Insta stories. Got coffee. Didn’t care. The first sip was magical, extremely pleasant. I felt I definitely deserved it after the coffee-lacking Hell I just went through. No shame in my sip.
Well, turns out I was wrong. I’m not special at all. I am just as addicted to coffee as the next person. That’s why it’s such a widespread and often talked about topic. Nearly everyone loves coffee, it seems, and nearly everyone is addicted to the brew, myself included. I was actually pretty surprised the first couple of days, but over the course of my little experiment, it began to make sense. I usually drink between 2-4 cups of coffee on any given day. I can’t remember the last time I went without. I do know one thing, however: I don’t ever want to give it up again. Coffee isn’t a bad thing, as long as you don’t go overboard; and although I do love tea and energy drinks every once in a while, I think I’ll continue brewing a fresh pot of the good stuff every morning.