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.
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