My Caffeine Addiction

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Denial
I blame my job for my caffeine addiction. Starbucks gift cards appeared on my desk regularly. Am I supposed to ignore them? No way. Free coffee! And not just any coffee. Starbucks Coffee. Starbucks! Fill it up, please!

That’s where it all started. My job. And my commute. It wasn’t my fault. I needed caffeine. Needed it! I did not have a problem! I woke at four thirty in the morning, left the Kenosha metra station at five fifty-one (yes, exactly that time!), arrived downtown Chicago at seven thirty, had training from eight in the morning until six in the evening, got back on the train at six thirty, and arrived back in Kenosha just before eight at night. To top it off, I still had to drive back home to Racine, which took a half hour, and then shovel my face with some leftovers for dinner. Alone. Because, really, how could I expect anyone to wait that long for dinner? But then, yes there’s more, I had to do homework. Yes homework! I averaged roughly five hours of sleep.

You’re exhausted just reading that aren’t you?

I’m exhausted from reliving that.

So see, clearly, it wasn’t my fault. The need for coffee surpassed any desires to work in the morning. And then, of course, again once two in the afternoon rolls around. Caffeine doesn’t stick around forever. Must replenish.

Intervention
OK fine. I had a problem.

After my move to Chicago from Racine, I drank coffee less often. And by “less,” I mean once a day instead of three. That counts right? . Month after month passed, each with an excuse to feed my coffee addiction due to lack of sleep:

I couldn’t put the book down!
The voices grumbling inside my head made me write poetry.
The dishes needed a cleaning.
Cramps. Enough said.
My laundry won’t wash itself!
Seriously, my dresser is this dusty?
My roommate kept me up.
Ugh, another migraine.
The car alarm sounded again. For the third time. At three in the morning.
But my nails need to match my outfit for tomorrow!
I swear there’s a boogie man under my bed…

But finally, I put my foot down. Enough was enough. With my hand upon my hip, I tapped my foot and shook my finger at myself. I wasted more money at Starbucks than I care to admit. I begrudgingly handed my coffee-addicted coworkers any remaining gift cards and stopped. Cold turkey. That was it.

Recovery
Fourty days later, I’m caffeine free. No coffee. No caffeinated tea. Not even excedrin migraine! Nothing. Okay, yes I still had chocolate. That’s an addiction I will never recover from, but that’s another story. But it doesn’t count as an addiction because I’m admitting to it, right? Besides, do you know how much chocolate you need to have the same amount of caffeine as a small cup of coffee? Way too much

Don’t think this was an easy-peasy accomplishment. Week one. Headaches. Caffeine withdrawal. I wanted that coffee. I needed that caffeine. Every. Single. Morning. It was a habit. I needed the headaches to take a hike and bother someone else. I couldn’t focus. I’d pop ibuprofen here and there. But I needed to just deal with it. Suck it up, Buttercup!

After many long and dreaded mornings, I just stopped wanting coffee. As a matter of fact, after the second week, I didn’t even want coffee. Those two weeks seemed like a month at the time! I never needed the 2pm pick me up, though. I drank caffeine-free tea so I could still fit in with the cool kids getting coffee every morning. But that was it. Never cheated.

So here I am, on the 41st day. I made a full 40 days… But wait, “it’s the 41st day but you only made it 40 days” you ask.

I had a cup of coffee today. I didn’t really need it. I wasn’t craving it. I justified drinking a cup because I hadn’t had any in 40 days. I couldn’t possibly be addicted, right? My heart raced more rapidly than I expected and soared above my comfort zone of level of “this is a normal heartbeat” thought. Regret sank in when I became too jittery to focus. I swear the office had shiny objects everywhere. I was uncomfortable with the effects of coffee.

And so begins the journey of another 40 days caffeine free. Let’s hope it doesn’t inspire another boring blog post.

Tea anyone?

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