Twenty Days to Coffee
I accidentally just had my first sip of coffee since the beginning of March. It was good. It's not any kind of self-torture or penance. It's not a cleansing diet. I just want to kick the habit for a bit then I'll go back to it. I told myself 3 months, no coffee. Nothing too formal, not a big deal and I have some caffeine from pop or chocolate, though I'm not having anything like a whole cup of any caffeinated anything. It was really easy after the first week. I hoped to try to move more towards being a morning person for a bit there. I've always been a night-owl and envied the way some people start the day and get stuff done for hours before I'm even conscious. Not so much at night, when they crash early and I keep moving until the wee hours. So I was getting the mornings in hand until I had to go to Germany for a week or so and the mornings haven't come back since. The no-coffee thing was surprisingly easy most of the time. The last week or so has suddenly gotten really tough though and I've thought about just dropping the idea since there's no real benefit but to say I control that little bit of myself. I don't know if it's the fact that I know I'll be a coffee drinker again on June 10 (twenty days from now, not that I'm counting) or if it's some delayed addict thing. If you believe the caffeine addiction thing, then I've been hooked for about as long as I remember. I drank Coke pretty much every day from at least grade 7 or so. In grade 11 I worked as a co-op student in an engineering group at a local manufacturing plant. My boss there got me started with coffee that was mostly milk. I think it made me fit in better as one of the group although a lot of what I did amounted to photocopies and errands. High-school for me wasn't any different than any other geek, with copious pop and going out for coffee with the same group I played Warhammer with. And after that was University. Every accounting of the cost of tuition for engineers should include the cost of coffee. I'd drink a whole pot to stay up all night cramming before exams. Nothing really exciting or unique here, it bothers me sometimes that I feel like I depend on caffeine to function but I don't worry about it except when I have a coffee in the evening to keep going and it makes no difference. Oh yeah, that's why I decided to take some time off. So my little experiment will be over soon and I think that writing it out reminds me that sometimes it's worth doing something just because you said you would. Candace and I are at The Coffee Exchange and I got hot chocolate for myself and a mocha for her. I accidentally sipped hers and it was awesome. No penance, no self-torture, just said I was going to take a few months off coffee and I am. I can't help enjoying an accident though :) .
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So I'm confused - you still drink caffeine, but not coffee? I presume you've cut down on caffeine anyway... Well, Sunday is your day for returning to the fold, I guess. The only caffeine I get these days is from chocolate (in, say, cookies) and from the occasional cup of decaffeinated coffee if I indulge myself. Both of these are on the very low side of caffeine intact. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee#Caffeine_content.

"If you believe the caffeine addiction thing"

Are you saying you don't? I definitely see physical and mental effects when I'm drinking caffeine vs. not. Furthermore, after habituating myself with caffeine drinks, if I stop drinking them, I do suffer withdrawal effects (headaches, lethargy, general feeling of malaise). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine#Tolerance_and_withdrawal.

I thought "caffeine intoxification" was interesting too in that article. It says that after 400mg/day users don't suffer sleep deprivation effects, which explains to me why you used to be able to drink coffee before you go to sleep all those years.

Of course the National Soft Drink Association says that American Psychatric Association says that caffeine is not a "dependent substance" http://www.ameribev.org/industry-issues/healthy-balanced-diet/beverage-i...

I guess it depends on your definition of "addiction". I tend to think of it as when the body reacts physically to a withdrawal of a regularly ingested substance when that substance was not required for sustaining life. i.e. I don't consider myself addicted to air or food ;)

“If you believe the caffeine addiction thing” doesn't mean I don't or I do, I'm just tired of thinking about it. I know it affects me and I don't care what it's called.

I don't really want to give it up forever but I really hate feeling like coffee is a daily requirement or something. I've tried lots of different kids of tea and I can't find one that I like for a long time. I'll like some kind of tea for a little while but never really enjoy it for the long term.

As for the caffeine/coffee thing, I decided to give up coffee. Having a direct substitute for the thing that causes coffee to be a problem for me (namely caffeine) would break the spirit of the idea and it'd all be a waste of time. So I don't sweat it but I also don't get a bottle of pop that I know is caffeinated.

While we're on popular addictions, how about Theobromine?

"I don’t really want to give it up forever but I really hate feeling like coffee is a daily requirement or something. I’ve tried lots of different kids of tea and I can’t find one that I like for a long time. I’ll like some kind of tea for a little while but never really enjoy it for the long term."

I hear you all the way there, brutha. Nothing seems to have that "body" that coffee does for me...

National Soft Drink Association is probably a proud sponsor of the American Psychatric Association.