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I love coffee. I will always love coffee and don’t want to give it up. But it feels like the caffeine animal is starting to run the circus that is my life, so some changes need to be made.

Yesterday I woke up at 4.45am. No real reason, just a lot on the mind and now I think about it, the presence of a sharp knee attached to a little person who had made their way into our bed at some point in the night was likely also a factor.  I decided rather than lying there doing to-do lists in my head, I may as well get up and write to-do lists.

So I got out my plunger (French press to my American friends) and proceeded to put three heaped spoons of espresso (not of the teaspoon size) into it and make what my husband ever so kindly calls my “rocket fuel”. In Australia we call it a long black, that is a couple of shots of espresso and water except my plunger is big so I end up having close to 3 cups of rocket fuel before I have even started unloading the dishwasher and reaching for the Weetbix.

The regular morning mayhem started soon after and after I had dropped the kids off to their various places of learning I stopped off at my favourite local coffee shop for another long black. And that is when I found myself, just past 9am, sitting in my car with my heart palpitating and my hands all a-twitchy.

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While I sat there, I realised that I hadn’t been sleeping well for the last few weeks, my stomach has been a bit upset and I feel quite anxious. Is this all to do with ultra strong coffee? Possibly not but I do know that I am overdoing the strong black stuff big time and the spoonfuls of sustenance going into that plunger are getting bigger with each passing day.

I don’t subscribe to the you-must-only-put-perfectly-healthy-things-in-your-body-100%-of-the time theory, mostly because I think it is unsustainable and downright boring. I subscribe to the 80/20 rule – that is shoot to eat and behave healthily most of the time.  And a cup of coffee a day, like a glass of wine, is not going to do you any harm, in fact there is some evidence that it might actually be beneficial.

But like wine, too much of a good thing and your body rebels. It talks to you. Sometimes it even shouts. And right now, mine is yelling, LIZ, TIME TO GIVE IT UP!

I am going cold turkey. It won’t be forever but I have been around this block before (twice) and I know how my body (and brain) works, I need to break the dependence and then work on having coffee as a simple pleasure when I go out with friends. This would be a big and significant shift away from having coffee as a part of arsenal I need in order to fight (and function) each day.

So tomorrow I start, or more to the point … I stop. So don’t come to my house or office tomorrow (sorry to my business partner Lana who has to see me). I will have a blinding headache, I will be fidgety, I will be anxious, I will be grumpy. Last time those symptoms, particularly the headache lasted quite intensely for 2 full days but I felt like it took me a week to shake the other symptoms (like irritability) completely.

What is the solution?

You can  drink water or distract yourself with herbal tea (a very poor cousin). But really I just need to suck it up and wait it out.  And there are many people who advocate the reduction method which for withdrawal symptom prevention is imminently more sensible. But for me it doesn’t work. I just don’t like weak or decaf coffee  (why bother?). Possibly just one coffee a day would help to lesson the withdrawal pain but the slope is slippery and my particular psychology works better when I just rip the bandaid off and get it over with.

Oh and I will try not to fall into any other vices like the bottom of a wine bottle (my favourite drink – see title) as that will just want me make more coffee on Day 2. I suppose like many things in life, if you have made the bed, sometimes you have just lie down on it (and while lying there, repeat over and over to yourself, “this too shall pass”).

Has anyone else had experience with caffeine withdrawal? I would love to hear it in the comments below.

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • It is very hard to give it up, all the best.

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  • When I gave up coffee I had caffeine withdrawals, I got headaches and everything. Iv switched to decaf coffee so I can still have the coffee taste because I do love it haha

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  • I had to give up tea & coffee earlier this year because my blood pressure went sky high. The GP said I had to get it down otherwise she would put me on medication. No way I thought. So I gave up black tea & coffee for 6 months. Substituting them for herbal teas; carbonated water & tap water.
    Then hubby bought me some Woolworths decaf coffee pods. OMG! they tasted like the real thing & even have a creme. So that is what I drink now except when I go to a large shopping centre & I need a pickup to continue shopping.

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  • I’ve never been that bad and lately I can’t seem to enjoy a coffee. Not sure why. When I worked night shift I used to have anywhere from 6 to 10 coffees depending on how busy it was. Now I mainly have a coffee when we go out.

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  • I can’t stand coffee…although I do love the smell.

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  • I am in the same boat. And I never thought I will be able to leave coffee but then somehow you get the courage to leave and adopt things for your little one

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  • I don’t drink loads of coffee — 2 cups of Moccona coffee at home each day, and half strength lattes when I’m out – 1 or 2 a week. So I don’t feel that addicted to coffee. I have had headaches when I’ve not had coffee for a day or 2, but then return to it. I feel I’m more addicted to the habit of coffee and what it means to me eg. work breaks and social interactions, than the coffee itself.

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  • My daughter had dreadful headaches after giving up DARES they are full of caffeine. They lasted well over a week.

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  • I can’t even stand the smell of coffee let alone the taste.

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  • When I was at work I would constantly have a coffee in front of me – think I counted 30 cups of coffee one day and a few wines that evening. These days I am very happy with my short black espresso from my own barista style coffee machine – this I have around 10.30 in the morning and can manage the day without any more.

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  • Gee, that’s a lot of coffee for the start of the day. Sometimes when I have a really bad headache, a cuppa calms it.

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  • I get headaches real bad when I go cold turkey

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  • Yes, I used to drink 12-20 long blacks a day and was really hindered by bad sleeping. Since then I still enjoy the taste of coffee but only use decaf

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  • Weening off, like a baby to breastmilk (to put it crudely), is the way to go. Don’t drop it cold turkey, slowly get it out of your habit

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  • Never experienced a withdrawal, but went from drinking 20 coffees a day (2 of them from the cafe), to absolutely zero in my third pregnancy (thanks kid). I miss the taste 100% but I feel as I’m breastfeeding I’ll steer clear for the sake of not having too much caffeine in my milk for this little guy.
    I honestly don’t drink it for a wake up, I’ve never gotten a buzz from coffee, I wish I did though.

    Reply

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