Back in 2007, I gave up drinking coffee. My daughter, 12 at the time and brutally honest, kept complaining that I had coffee breath. She would scream at me to open a window every time we got in the truck. My cold turkey quit had more to do with a Starbucks visit though. I went in , ordered a tall Americano and took a big gulp as I got back behind the wheel. I felt something foreign in my mouth that jabbed at my throat as I swallowed. In a panic I tried to spit the coffee back in the cup thru that little drinking hole and ended up instead, spewing coffee all over myself, all over the dashboard. It was pretty disgusting and a great big mess! So, I quit. The culprit was a bristle from the brushes they use to clean the machines….nasty? Yup.
I gave up coffee for about three months. I don’t remember many side effects, just a few headaches from the caffeine withdrawal. This time? This time? oh man! I felt so miserable. Here’s a list: Body aches, stiffness, moodiness, irritability, IRRITABILITY, inability to focus, sleeplessness, (yes, ridiculous) and of course the headaches. This time the headaches were minor, but at the height of symptoms I felt like I was getting the flu. I was so out of it that at one point I was trying to unlock my car by pointing my phone at it. I looked up symptoms on line and of course all of the above were listed. Interestingly, caffeine withdrawal now has it’s own diagnosis code in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Seriously. At least that’s that the internet tells me. I could see how you could go to a doctor with the symptoms because really, I felt pretty awful.
It’s been about three weeks. No cold turkey this time. This time I had to wean and cajole, talk myself through it, sit on the couch and stare into space. But I am over most of the symptoms and feel a bit normal (that’s a stretch for me always). Here’s why I decided to give it up:
1) Nutritionally, coffee was messing me up.
My normal routine would be to get up have coffee and a banana and go for a run. Bananas started to bother me, made my mouth itch ,upset my stomach. I tried to find a substitute but nothing else feels right. So coffee took over. One cup became two, more coffee at 10 when my daughter got up, then of course more or a big mocha/latte/flavored thing for that afternoon slump. and hey, it’s the Pacific Northwest, so why not have MORE? We do love our coffee here….In fact we survive the rain with coffee, it’s a KEY ingredient in NW life! But all this coffee was not helping me nutritionally. My stomach was not enjoying the ride either. Food seemed to pass though my system on a coffee flume, few nutrients staying behind to fuel me.
2) I never sleep well.
I tell people i have’t had a good night’s sleep since the 80’s and I mean it. With age and stress and hormones (?) it’s gotten worse. Caffeine is a known sleep enemy so, why not eliminate it? it’s good to eliminate enemies right?
3) I am sick of bladder irritation and having to pee on runs. Or actually just peeing while running.
Have you ever peed your pants running? Some of us have worse experiences I know. Even famous runners! But it is a problem that can be made worse with coffee, a known bladder enemy too. And of course age and hormones (dang). I’ve had it happen more than once and it’s not very comfortable!! It has to end.
4) The coffee habit was taking up too much of my budget.
It’s simple math. A monthly massage may be a better way to spend?
I will give you an update soon. I am already sleeping a bit better. I wake during the night but can fall back to sleep and last week, twice, I spent over 11 hrs in bed! I’m hoping eventually to reach an agreement with caffeine, moderate amounts, good coffee, good friends.