5 Tell-Tale Signs That You’re Probably Addicted to Coffee
I recently did an (ill-fated, horrible) experiment in which I voluntarily went without coffee for a week (a week in this case being 5 days). It was probably one of the worst weeks of my life, to date. First of all, every single one of those days was gloomy, dreary, overcast, chilly, and rainy. That did not help my motivation or mood at all. To top it off, being without coffee left me completely moody, fatigued, drained, tired, and unmotivated! I honestly did not know that coffee had such a strong hold over me. I suppose I should’ve expected it, though, as I usually drink about 3 cups of coffee a day on average. I’ve gotten by on just 1 cup before (yesterday is a prime example of that) and still managed to be a productive member of society (hey, yesterday I wrote an entire blog post with pictures, wrote 6 pages of my book, went to the gym, and went to the mother-in-laws house…on ONE cup of coffee! Plus it was a Saturday *cue applause*)
The end result surprised me and probably nobody else…going without coffee sucked so bad that I actually quit the experiment early and got an iced vanilla coffee from Burger King after my morning yoga class… oops. Hey, it was only like 12 hours early. And I deserved it! At least, I deserved to claw my way out of that hell. Life is too short to deprive yourself, am I right? (You can read more about that fiasco doomed experiment here.)
A motto to live by. But if you can’t have a good day without some coffee, you may just have a dependency!
I came away with plenty of knowledge. I guess it’s true that sometimes suffering or going without can make you stronger and teach you a lesson. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating juuust a little bit. But seriously, you don’t take away coffee for a week without learning at least a couple new things. Included in those is a nifty little list I created to easily tell if you’re addicted to coffee.
“The end result surprised me and probably nobody else…going without coffee sucked so bad that I actually quit the experiment early…”
1. You drink coffee every single day
This may seem like a no-brainer, right? Well you’d be surprised. I mean, you shower every day, you sleep every day, you eat every day… That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are addicted to showering, sleeping, and eating! But chances are, if you’re drinking coffee every day in some form, be it brewing at home or stopping at Starbucks for your morning latte before work, you’re probably addicted to the stuff! Coffee is something you can technically live without, but most people just don’t want to. Brewing a pot of coffee while you get ready in the morning may not be a hassle, (especially if you have one of those ~fancy~ coffee machines that can automatically start brewing a pot at a preset time). But stopping off at a busy coffee shop, waiting in a long line, and spending money? That is completely unnecessary, not to mention a gigantic bother, (slightly less so if you’re going to Starbucks and you have the app and order ahead of time, like I do. Skipping the line and avoiding the disastrous drive thru like a boss!). So, chances are, if you’re doing this even 3-5 times per week, you’re probably addicted to coffee. That goes double if you go back for seconds sometime during the day.
Do you wake up to this each morning? Do you want to? If so, you may be addicted to coffee
2. You brew coffee first thing in the morning
This kinda goes hand-in-hand with #1, however, it just doesn’t feel right to not include it as its own separate entry. A good way to tell if you’re addicted to coffee is to think about if you can even start your day properly without drinking some. If the first thing you do every morning is start the coffee machine, (or, yes, run out to buy some coffee), then you might have a problem. I’m talking if this is the absolute first or near first thing you do. Forget journaling, meditation, exercise, showering, breakfast, reading the paper, or even checking e-mails… Nope! The thing on your mind initially as soon as you wake up is where your next hit of java is coming from. You may not even realize you’re thinking it. Your body may just be on auto-pilot, navigating you towards the nearest source of the stuff. It’s okay to have a routine, especially a morning one, if that helps you conquer your day. But think about if making a beeline to the coffee is really in your best interest. Do you, by all means. I personally have found that I do best when waiting 2-3 hours after I wake up before having my first sip of coffee. I read it somewhere a long time ago, but the practice basically boils down to using up your natural energy that you get from sleeping first, then, once that’s depleted, (usually a few hours after you wake up), replenish your energy stores with coffee! You of course don’t have to do it this way, but it works for me! I’m still addicted, yes, and I still have coffee cemented as a permanent step in my morning routine, but at least I’m not confusing my brain with all these extraneous flows of energy from different sources!
Sharing one with a friend, or downing both by yourself?
3. You are an entirely different person if you don’t get coffee
I learned this the hard way when I did my experiment going 5 days without coffee. I mean this with 100% sincerity and absolutely zero exaggeration: I was a completely different person. Honestly, I would equate going without coffee to PMS… it was just that bad. Groggy, exhausted, fatigued, moody, unmotivated… All of these are words that I have time and time again associated with missing out on coffee. Let me paint you a picture: Imagine that your alarm didn’t wake you up. You’re running late for work. Your partner didn’t pick up more coffee like they were supposed to, (the lovable, forgetful oaf that they are). You drive past Starbucks and the line is literally wrapped around the store, twice. You decide to skip it and try your luck with the cheap, watered down, burnt, communal black liquid that has the audacity to call itself “coffee” in the break room at work. You arrive and—surprise!—the term “break room” has a brand new meaning right then because guess what? The coffee machine is broken, again, for the third time that month. What happens in this scenario? You’re going without coffee for at least a few hours, if not possibly the entire day. Are you the same person that you were yesterday, when all these unfortunate disasters didn’t exist and you had your morning coffee, as per usual? No, chances are you are not the same person. There’s actually a good chance that you’re a more tired, grumpier, more distracted version of yourself. And yes, in this exaggerated, dramatic, hypothetical situation, we could probably chalk up most of your bad mood to your day just starting out like crap from the get-go, (we all have those days, don’t we? They suck!).
“The thing on your mind initially as soon as you wake up is where your next hit of java is coming from.”
But we cannot deny the fact that, despite being late, or your partner forgetting the grocery list again, the thing that’s probably irking you the most is that you are experiencing a rare phenomenon in which you have no access to coffee for an extended period of time. And that kind of trauma changes a person.
Wouldn’t be possible, (read: would be too expensive), without my coffee budget!
4. You literally have a budget for coffee
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this can be a very positive thing! I’ve tried this method myself, and it works. I know I keep mentioning Starbucks as an example in this, but that’s because it’s really popular, and easy to mention because nearly everyone can relate, and it’s the place that I most often buy coffee, save for the grocery store. So, do you frequent Starbucks? Perhaps you even have the Starbucks app? I know I do. I got way too many green gift cards to the place as birthday presents and prizes for donating blood once a month at my old job. So I pretty much couldn’t avoid getting the app and linking my free coffee money cards electronically. Why not, right? I’m going to be spending it anyways, might as well get points and free drinks! I’ve had my app for about a couple years now and I’ve gotten tons of free stuff. It really pays off if you’re purchasing coffee there often. I’ve also found that it’s really helpful in sticking to a budget. Everyone knows that Starbucks isn’t the cheapest place out there, and no matter where you get your coffee fix, you’re probably shelling out $5+. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if you can afford it. For me, there have been high times and low times, times where I could get three Ventis for me and some pals and times that I was literally scraping the bottom of my car for change because I needed a tall vanilla almond milk latte after a 7a post-op gyno visit. There’s also been plenty of in-between those two extremes. During the days leading up to pay day, when I’m putting together on paper what bills need to come out of my and my boyfriend’s paychecks, I’d usually scribble in anywhere between $10 and $30 to transfer to my Starbucks app. That way, over the next two weeks before the next paycheck, I could intermittently get coffee whenever I chose! It didn’t feel like I was spending money because the money was already there and accounted for on the budget. Also, if I didn’t want to get SBucks all the time, I would usually stash like $7 in my purse (because I haven’t carried cash in like 2 years save for the past 6 months or so when I finally started carrying cash again), in case I wanted a pick-me-up somewhere else while I was out and about. Writing coffee in to your budget is a smart and savvy way to manage what can oftentimes be an expensive habit, but it can also be a tell-tale sign that you are, in fact, addicted to the stuff.
¹Getting a lot of work done? Being productive? Knocking stuff off your To-Do list? May not be possible without a cup of coffee by your side
5. You pretty much can’t function without coffee
This is not the same as #3! In fact, this is worse! There’s a difference between being a different person when missing out on coffee, and just not being able to function at all. I’ve experienced both, (sometimes at the same time… *shudder*) so trust me on this. “Being a different person” can usually be boiled down to simple stuff that also may be happening as a result of numerous other factors besides just missing out on your morning mug. These include things like being a grump to your boyfriend, or having uncontrollable yawning during a meeting, or daydreaming and scrolling through Instagram when you should be working because you can’t focus. But not being able to function at all?
“Writing coffee in to your budget is a smart and savvy way to manage what can oftentimes be an expensive habit, but it can also be a tell-tale sign that you are, in fact, addicted to the stuff.”
Early on in my no-coffee experiment, I literally couldn’t hold myself upright at my desk! I had to take my iPad and work on my reclining chair because I had to lay down with pillows and blankets. And then I felt like I was going to fall asleep! It just couldn’t be helped! I ended up getting pretty much no work done that day, or even that week. That’s why it was so detrimental, and it actually upset me quite a bit. I half-joked to my boyfriend that it was perhaps a very bad time to try the quitting coffee experiment, as it was the second week after I started my blog and I was juggling so much writing, editing, and creating content. But then, we both agreed that there is probably no good time to try quitting coffee. Skipping coffee for (nearly) 5 days slowed my roll immensely. I got pretty much nothing done, I was moody and kinda depressed, and all I wanted to do was lie in bed and play video games. If your cogs stop turning because you’re going upwards of 12 hours without coffee, if you literally can’t work at all or can’t produce any quality work without coffee, if you just want to go back to bed and can’t imagine facing the day without drinking some coffee, well, I hate to break it to you, but… you may just be addicted to coffee. Like me.
Wake me up and make my day, please
Don’t worry, though. I’m addicted and now I know that. But that’s okay. There are worst things to be addicted to, (weak argument, I know, but I have to justify my dependence somehow, right?) And as long as you’re not going overboard, breaking the bank, hurting anyone or yourself, then go ahead! Pour yourself some. I know I am, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.