I quit coffee a week ago. I bragged about it on Facebook, so now I have to stick with it.
Every few years, when I feel like it, I quit coffee cold turkey. I completely stopped smoking in a similar way, about seven years ago—two years before I gave up drinking and doing drugs. I’ve always been extremely smug about this ability of mine, as if it’s proof that I really can drop a habit whenever I feel like it. It gives me a sense of power, and a smidge of superiority.
…when I find a drug or activity I like, I develop an obsessive craving and compulsion to use it whenever I can.
I’m an alcoholic and addict. From credit cards to Candy Crush—when I find a drug or activity I like, I develop an obsessive craving and compulsion to use it whenever I can. The truth is, if I were to pick up a cigarette in the morning, I’d be Delaware-bound to buy cheap cartons by the evening.
Writing this makes me want a cup of coffee! I’ve gone to bed many nights thinking about the cup I’d drink in the morning.
Before sobriety, I used to not care what kind of coffee I drank. I wasn’t a wine snob either. I didn’t know Shiraz from Sumatra—I didn’t care where it came from or how expensive it was, I just wanted it to chemically alter me as quickly as possible.
After getting sober, my relationship with coffee changed.
Now I meet my friends in coffee shops instead of bars. Coffee culture is huge in NYC, and there are so many styles, varieties, and methods of preparation. The $0.75 bodega sludge I used to use to quiet my hangover has been replaced by an exorbitantly-priced cup of artisanal/organic/sustainably-farmed rocket fuel made from beans crapped out by a civet and poured over the Shroud of Turin.
The studies are all over the place: “Coffee is good for you!” “Coffee is bad for you!” “Drink coffee before cardio, it’s good for your heart!” “It stops Alzheimer’s!” “It rots your insides!”
There was no one impetus to quit. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution. For me, there was no “hitting bottom.” I didn’t even drink that much coffee, really, just a cup or two in the morning. Sometimes when I stop drinking it abruptly I’ll get a massive headache. I weaned off it this time with green tea; sometimes I do half-caf then decaf. My jaw has relaxed, it’s not clenched like usual. My skin is looking a little better.
There are some vain reasons to quit coffee: it stains your teeth, it makes your skin dry. I know a few models who don’t drink it for those reasons…
One of my main motivators for getting sober was vanity! I was bloated, tired, and unhealthy-looking. I knew the older I got the less cute it was to be a drunk. There are some vain reasons to quit coffee: it stains your teeth, it makes your skin dry. I know a few models who don’t drink it for those reasons, despite its appetite suppressant factor.
Part of my reason for quitting is the recent discomfort I’ve experienced in my liver/gallbladder area. I was diagnosed with gallstones a few years ago and coffee can exacerbate the condition. Since I stopped the java a week ago, the pain in that area has subsided.
I should probably see a doctor. But in the meantime, I’m content to diagnose myself with the help of Dr. Google.
The coffee-making commitment at a 12-step meeting can be a great way for a newcomer to learn accountability and meet people. The cliché of the alcoholic at a meeting with coffee and a cigarette is romantic, gritty and comforting.
But, just like with alcohol, I’ve had enough. Same thing with smoking—something inside just told me to stop, and I knew it was time. Maybe my caf-fast will be temporary. Maybe I’m in it for the incredible high I can get when I start up again…or maybe it’s for good. I may just be better off without it.
Related Reading: Do You Understand Your Addiction Rituals?
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