25 reasons to kick caffeine

cup of coffee

Cup of coffee. Another cup of coffee. Another… © Laura Eades 2013 all rights reserved

One brilliant thing I did last year was limit my caffeine intake. If you have mixed feelings about yours, read this: 

I wrote this one day when I was wrestling with myself. I still wrestle with many of my habits, but it’s great to look back and think, if I can conquer one, in time perhaps I can nail some others too.

Recognise yourself in this?

So why don’t I want to consume (too much) coffee any more?

I’m high on caffeine RIGHT NOW and …

  1. I’m noticing that I’m easily distracted
  2. I’m noticing that I’m awake right now (it’s 2am – my usual bedtime is 9:15pm)
  3. I can’t unwind physically
  4. There’s an invisible wall between me and my loved ones – they can’t get near me
  5. All I want is to be productive and get things done (at the expense of being/being together/just chilling)
  6. My surfeit of plans and schemes turns to immense pressure on myself as I feel overwhelmed and confused about what’s the priority
  7. I start planning futures that would take lifetimes to accomplish
  8. I view my capabilities with a giddy, arrogant optimism (I really NEED that optimism, that hopefulness sometimes)
  9. I feel my present life is holding me back, moving too slowly. I look for shortcuts, but the real shortcut is to step back, breathe, and find focus. Caffeine gives me a deluded sense of momentum
  10. I forget about another, inner desire I’ve had, to know deep relaxation
  11. There aren’t enough hours in the day (“I have no time”= “I have failed to prioritise” – Tim Ferris)
  12. I crave alcohol to bring me back down (but that compulsion, thankfully, has released me for the time being)
  13. During my caffeine binge, I crave pain au raisin, or rosinenschnecke (raisinsnails) as they are called here – and other sweet stuff. Suddenly lunch looks like cheesecake
  14. On the other side of my binge, I’m knackered, and fuel my caffeine hangover by eating and eating
  15. I get stressed easily and feel anxious – caffeine fuels worry thoughtpatterns
  16. I abandon my plans for the day in favour of impulsive actions that feel urgent but may, in Tim Ferris’s words, be just things I’ve invented to keep myself busy (I fear writing this blog may in fact be one of them). In other words, caffeine inhibits my ability to prioritise.
  17. I’m sketchy. I left my laptop somewhere while doing an errand.
  18. I have horrible comedowns. A migraine “like a blazing sunrise” by about 5pm
  19. I’m a snippy bitch and far too impatient to chase my daughter round the playground (anyway, I’m too busy, can’t you SEE? Just play quietly while I write this blog…)
  20. I become a capricious internet reader, and surf wildly and haywire and longwardly, until I have information overload, and am jaded – there’s too much out there and nothing out there for me etc etc
  21. It’s basically an advance on mental energy, at the expense of physical energy. It drains my immune system and I usually get tonsillitis
  22. The worst thing is this: I want MORE. Compulsive behaviour. This is like being on liquid black cocaine. If I could only just have one, and then stop… But that doesn’t work well with me. In the end, it’s this more than the actual substance that gets me down. Being a slave – the compulsion taking up all my time, attaching itself to every little move I make. This was the same with cigarettes. It was the argument with myself which was so depressing. I didn’t actually smoke that much – under 10 a day – but the to-and-fro process took up my whole life!
  23. Not every day on coffee feels like the first day. At first, it’s wonderful. Then I get progressively more tired and sketchy, until total burnout sets in.
  24. Because I feel actually quite tired underneath it all, I make excuses and bail out of exercise
  25. Coffee in coffeeshops costs a freaking fortune

Mixed feelings

One of the problems with trying to clean out this scruffy rabbit is mixed feelings. “Why are you giving up this great pleasure?”. People can’t see it. I make excuses about blood pressure. They extol coffee’s virtues and its deliciousness. But they are probably only drinking one coffee each morning; are finding it easy to be moderate. Or they can have three, no problem, and still feel sane and functional.

Not me. By the second cup I’m already going into overdrive. So I find myself saying: “I’m giving up because I’m too weak of character. I’m a hopeless addictive personality. I too weak to use this drug; it uses me. It’s Sauron’s ring and I’m a grovelling Gollem.” etc etc. I’m sure it’s not helpful to think of myself this way either – it casts me as the hopeless victim.

Of course, this isn’t the whole picture. There are plenty of advantages to a cup of coffee, and payoffs for being stuck in a caffeine rut too. But, for now, let’s just think about what we’d ideally like to be free from. Delve deep into your motivation and understand the important impact of a small habit on your state of being – or being numbed up – in the world.

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Read the whole series on toning down caffeine here

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