This week I decided to quit drinking coffee.
Considering the fact that I have lived on coffee more than food, this is epic for me.
My life has orbited around it like the sun since I was 16.
On the farm where I grew up, coffee was the center point of the breakfast table. In college and grad school, I traded sleep for the promise of a jolt found in my trusty Mr. Coffee pot. And, post school, I even formally trained at the American Barista and Coffee School in Portland, Oregon and later started a coffee company.
I think to say I’m a coffee enthusiast puts it lightly.
But, recently, I have felt like it is time for me to confront my extreme dependency on coffee.
I’ve noticed that my temperament without it is like Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Incredible Hulk), a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, who must find a cure for the green monster he emerges whenever he loses his temper.
At times, I feel like I need a warning label tattooed on my forehead. “Do not approach if I’m not holding a cup of coffee.”
I even feel naked without coffee. It’s like underpants or a shirt… you don’t leave home without it!
Coffee has been more than trusted friend that I turn to when I need a little pick-me-up. It’s more like an unhealthy co-dependency.
Who needs God, family, or friends when you can replace them with a swig coffee and almost instantly feel better?
Who needs to feel their feelings when they can chug-a-lug a latte and deny that they even exist? Who
needs the natural energy found in sleep, when an instant alternative is at their fingertips?
I used to think… Not me!
It is time for me to confront my addictive behavior.
You may be wondering what changed my mind. So, here’s my rationale.
3 Reasons I’ve Decided to Quit My Coffee Vice (for 30 days) to Find a New Source for Energy
ONE: I don’t like the person I am when I don’t drink coffee.
I’m short, sometimes mean, and overall unpleasant. It’s not the lack of coffee that is making me a horrible person to be around… It’s the dependency on coffee.
If I could kill my dependency, then I’m believing I will find my energy source in the natural energy God has given me.
TWO: I’m a chain drinker.
I’ve been known to sip coffee all day long, summing up to about 4 – 5 grande-sized cups a day.
I did a little research about what this was doing to my body and according to Medical Daily, there are 3 very real side effects I’ve been experiencing as a result of my daily coffee overdose.
SIDE EFFECT 1: Coffee tricks my brain into thinking I don’t need rest.
So, even though I can truck all day long at a crazy pace, my body isn’t telling me that it needs breaks. This results in fatigue and irritable… just like a whiny little kid that hasn’t napped.
(It hurts a bit to admit that I basically turn into my 2-year-old daughter without coffee.)
SIDE EFFECT 2: Then, when I do lay down to rest, my Central Nervous System (CNS) refuses to allow my body to fully relax, even if I go to sleep.
In the same way coffee makes my brain think that I don’t need to sleep, it also tells my CNS it doesn’t have to slow down. For years, I have gotten eye twitches regularly. It turns out that this is a direct result of CNS overactivity, which also impacts my heart and muscles.
SIDE EFFECT 3: I become a bit erratic and nervous.
(Ok, very erratic and nervous. You got me.)
I always thought this was an endearing part of my personality. I’m fast-paced by nature and quick-witted. And, while that may be true, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment tells me that excessive caffeine ingestion can result in a psychiatric disorder. The symptoms are virtually “indistinguishable” from anxiety disorder.
All that to say, I think my “one more cup” mentality is increasing my anxiety in my real life.
THREE: Coffee has been a source of solace, my comfort in a time of distress.
This means I’m often not allowing myself to experience my true feelings. Instead, I grab a cup of coffee and ignore that my feelings exist.
Today is day 2 of my coffee-free journey and I’ve got to admit I’ve been a little scared to have to engage with my true feelings without coffee. It’s not fun.
I’m seeing this as an opportunity to address what’s really happening within me and invite God to help.
I love how the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians says God is the God of all comfort. He’s not deficient. He can give me the comfort I need… without the coffee.
I can’t help but wonder… Am I the only one experiencing this struggle?
For some of you, coffee is the perfect complement to life… and if that’s you, then I applaud you. Sincerely. I hope you heard me loud and clear when I said that I love coffee. (Just a little too much…)
But, for others of us (myself included), coffee is a crutch. It’s something we replace our authentic emotions, relationships, and energy with.
Are you choosing the adrenaline buzz over the realities in which you live?
I’m not making a declaration here against coffee. That would be very hypocritical.
But, I’m wondering as I give it up this month, if there’s anyone reading this who feels they may need to join me?
I’ve been even thinking about creating “30-days of Affirmations & Guided Prayers for Coffee Quitters” as I’m working through my process of quitting. Who’s interesting?
I want to hear from you.
Tell me what you think about my 30-Day goal to quit my coffee vice in the comments below.