I’m a well-documented coffee addict. Indeed, it’s my opinion that no baby registry is complete without a year’s worth of caffeine products. But in the words of one of my favorite 80s jams, “here I go again on my own!” Yep, I’ve gone and quit one of the things I love most. I must be crazy.
Why did I quit? I was hoping you would ask…
I started drinking coffee when I got out of college. It began with one cup per day. Then it became two cups. But I limited myself to two cups a day… until law school began, at which point I began having a third cup before class.
Note: can you blame me? I mean, you try sitting through lectures on rules of evidence and corporate takeovers with nothing but your can-do attitude.
So there I was: three cups a day. Max! But… the occasional all-night legal writing project added a fourth cup to the mix. I’m no dietician, but that’s a lot of caffeine in a day. To make it worse, coffee became a must…especially in the morning. My addiction manifested itself at church, where I began bringing a coffee mug and sneaking an occasional sip or two when nobody was looking (I couldn’t wait until after the service when coffee was both provided and socially-acceptable). Other coffee addicts would occasionally look at me as if to say “don’t be ashamed, I’m doing it too…” We were the coffee-at-church pioneers.
And speaking of coffee mugs, let me also note that two “cups” eventually became two mugs. And I assure you, a mug is about twice as big as a cup. Fortunately as a general rule, a “cup” of coffee is still a cup regardless of the size of the drinking apparatus used. In other words, a cup is a cup, and a gallon of coffee is still a cup. This all makes sense to coffee drinkers…
Note: it also makes sense to soda addicts. For this reason, a 64 ounce mug from 7/11 is a “soda” the same way a 12 ounce can is a “soda.” Either way, the addict takes comfort in knowing that they have only consumed one soda that day. How disciplined!
And when I really needed to get going, I’d buy a venti (which means “large” in French or Spanish or something) coffee from Starbucks. Ahh Starbucks coffee. It’s feel-good speed. Starbucks dumps about twice as much caffeine in their coffee as anyone else and then has the audacity to disperse all kinds of information about how “coffee is actually good for you and contains lots of valuable nutrients.” We coffee drinkers love thinking that our addiction just happens to be healthy…
Note: it’s kinda like those studies which show that “chocolate is actually good for your health.” Who funds these studies? Probably Hershey’s. But go ahead and munch away at that 500 calorie chocolate bar…it’s good for your, uhh, heart.
Anyway. For years, I assured myself that I wasn’t a coffee “addict” because I “could totally quit if I wanted to…” But in six years, I had not gone a day without coffee. Not one single day.
I have absolutely no actual knowledge of whether or not it’s true, but I’m convinced coffee makes your hands tremble at an early age. And I know it stains your teeth. It’s also really expensive, and it makes you feel like a total loser when you have to walk out in the cold and grab coffee by yourself because everyone else at work has “already had theirs”. Oh yea, and it’s addictive.
I realized I had become far too addicted one morning when I was late for work. My mug was cold, and I had barely touched it, but I nonetheless chugged the entire thing right there. It was gross. But, coffee had become a box I checked off twice each morning just to make it through, and chugging it like an anxious frat boy was what I had come to. (Insert “Frank-the-Tank” chant).
So with all that stuff in mind, I had decided it was time to quit. I had considered quitting coffee before, but then my wife bought me a “Keurig,” which is basically a machine that makes great coffee in a matter of seconds, and leaves no mess. The Keurig single-handedly delayed my plan to quit drinking coffee by about a year. But man I love that machine. (Lustful sigh…)
I decided I would go cold turkey – not even bothering with the “phase out” approach. I also decided to quit drinking soda because I figured it would become a crutch, and I honestly believe coffee is much better for me than soda. Call me crazy, but I don’t think Mountain Dew is the key to staying young. For those of us approaching 30, Mountain Dew is more like the key to staying awake… and then getting a kidney stone. (Man-I’m-getting-old sigh…).
So anyway. One night I just told myself I wouldn’t have any more coffee. Of course, Jimmy got sick that next morning and had me up before 5am. But I stuck to the plan and went in to work sans caffeine. And it…SUCKED!!!
Yea, quitting coffee is terrible. I had the worst headache of my life for a solid day. In fact, I even broke down and “did the Dew” that afternoon. I also took some Tylenol or Advil (I always get them confused) that night, and drank a TON of water. The day went by VERY SLOWLY, and that night, class was miserable. I cannot emphasize this enough: quitting coffee is pretty much the worst thing ever.
The next morning, things were a little better, but the day dragged on, and when I got home from work, I took a three hour nap. I pretty much never take naps, but this one was glorious. I still fought the headaches, but they weren’t nearly as bad.
Day three and four were on a weekend, and I was able to sleep a little bit more than usual. Still, I craved the taste of some coffee goodness. I settled for orange juice, which is nowhere near as satisfying as “the good stuff.” I also tried decaf coffee, which felt like supplementing cocaine with Pixy Stix. Not that there’s anything wrong with Pixy Stix…
Well, it’s been exactly one month, and I have been coffee and soda-free. And even though I still very much crave coffee, it genuinely feels good to not to be such a slave to it anymore. I am sleeping better, and feeling better. My breath, I’m sure, is much better. Still, my energy level isn’t quite where it used to be. That I have not blogged once since I quit coffee is probably no coincidence…
Will I be back? Well, if we have twins again then the answer is 100% yes. And given that I’m about to become a lawyer (where coffee flows like scotch), the odds are stacked against me. But I’m gonna stay strong. Indeed, I can do all things with coffee in Christ who gives me strength.
And if I really need my fix? I will be sure to limit myself to just one mug of coffee… I mean, cup. Cheers.