I did the unthinkable. The one thing I thought I would never do. I let go of the one vice I ran to every morning. I quit caffeine.
I remember when I discovered the mythical powers of caffeine in college. I drank a cup of coffee and I magically had energy and focus to study late into the night.
Without its power, I am not sure how I would have gotten through graduate school, sleepless nights with babies, and hard periods of work.
So I put no limit on my consumption.
You need to understand something. I love coffee.
I love it not just for the caffeine, but for the coffee. I drink my coffee black. I would never pollute it with sugar or cream. The darker the roast, the better.I like it on a cold day or on a hot day.
But as I reflected over the last year, I realized that I had been really tired and agitated at night. Being a reasonable man, I thought, maybe… just maybe, it was a result of drinking enough caffeine in the day to kill a small horse.
So I decided to quit.
How I quit
Going cold turkey is an approach, but I really wasn’t interested in that.
For 1 week, I drank one cup of caffeinated coffee, and then made a pot of decaf. The idea is that I still get a little regular coffee, and then just have decaf.
The second week, I removed the regular coffee all together. I just brewed decaf. Interestingly enough I guess the 1 week transition period really helped because I didn’t even get a withdrawal headache.
At the office, instead of drinking coffee, I drink herbal teas, or I just drink hot water. Most people think it is pretty silly, but I quite like it.
Why I’m glad I did.
I didn’t notice it until I removed it, but caffeine was giving me an underlying anxiousness and jitteriness throughout the day. The stress on my body and emotions of being hyped all day was very obvious. In addition, when it would wear off at night, I crashed.
The end result is I feel more clear and have a lot less swings of energy and tiredness throughout the day. And as a benefit to my family, I have had more energy in the evening.
Why this matters
I’ll let the experts argue whether caffeine is a good or bad thing. But what I do know is that in some ways it had become a master to me.
I don’t know where the line is between enjoying morning coffee and letting it be a master of you, but I had crossed the line. I identified with the Paul when he said, “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Cor 6:21). So it had to go.
I am sure I will drink caffeinated coffee again, but for now I am caffeine free and operating just fine.