If you’ve read my work for a while, you know how much I love my coffee. So much so that some people have even said that I may have an addiction. When one person says it, you don’t pay any attention, when two people, you still think nothing of it. But then when 10 people tell you this and you realise that you’ve just consumed your 6th cup of coffee for the day, just maybe… just maybe there might be something I need to consider.
13/5 at 12pm marks 30 days since my last cup of coffee. If anything, this was a momentuous occassion for me, because I proved to myself, unequivovally that I am the master of my own destiny and have nothing have control over me.
But first, here’s what got me started down this journey in the first place.
I came across this photo on Facebook and later found more data on Wikipedia. Basically, the webs of a spider changes based on the influence of the psychoactive drug that it’s under. And whilst spiders and humans are way different, and there are no definitive studies on this apart from scant articles like this. At the end of the day, coffee is a stimulant and once you have some, it then becomes a sticking point where you need to keep increasing the dosage to get the same effect. A few years ago, I remember forcing myself to make “a” cup just as a means to remind me to get up from desk. Next thing I know, I was having 8 cups of coffee and was wondering why when I needed it most, it had no effect on me. That’s when I started slowing down but never gave it up completely. Fast forward a few years and unknowingly I had gone back up to 6 cups and lucky for me, my work colleagues actually noticed. Guess the long working hours were taking it’s toll on me and I just never paid attention.
And here’s how to go about getting off coffee (or any addiction for that matter)
1. Have a replacement
I first used plain black cups of tea to replace the coffee. This works but it’s the taste of coffee that I have missed. And no amount of decaf will ever work. EVER. So please don’t even try. It is one of the worse tastes I have encountered when it comes to any beverage. I moved to water, taking the stairs somewhere and eventually moved to peppermint tea to help overcome it.
2. Prepare for the withdrawls
The first two days are the worst. The headaches are phenomenal. And when you live in Melbourne, coffee is everywhere. Literally EVERYWHERE. And when you walk into places, you get the smell of coffee and it’s ever so tempting. Those first two days, I just wanted to be around coffee at any given opportunity. Take an aspirin as and when it’s needed, but try not to get too attached or you may develop another addiction. Sometimes it’s good to go through a little pain so that you can enjoy the sweet taste of victory later.
3. Keep busy
Once you know the why, when, what of (insert addiction here), in my case drinking coffee, you can then go about looking at a proper solution. That is, if it’s a bad thing and you need a solution in place. Turns out I needed to call out when I was overworked and ensured that if I did intend on working hard, that I also had the appropriate measures in place so that I got the necessary downtime to rejuvinate. Once I started putting more checks and balances in place, the longer hours dissipated and the need for coffee went along with it. Besides, once the caffeine was out of my system, I could no longer sustain the long hours and was falling asleep almost way too easily. Not that falling asleep as soon as I laid my head on the pillow was a bad thing.
And there you have it, in 3 easy steps you are able to beat almost any addiction.
The upside? Better sleep, increased productivity because of increased focus (yeah, who knew) and speaking up for myself. Plus, no coffee breath, stained teeth or wasting money and time standing in line. It was amazing.
But I am definitely looking forward to my first cup of hazlenut coffee. One a day, isn’t going to hurt.