You know what makes a bad day better? You know what lifts the spirits when all else fails? Chocolate. Coffee. Pick one or the other. They both do the job.
All I wanted tonight was chocolate. Endless pieces of chocolate called my name from the Enjoy Life bag, sealed and unopened since I purchased it several weeks ago. It called me on the drive home from work and it calls me now as I sit here at 8 p.m. typing. Cue Usher, 'You got it, you got it bad.' I feel like it would do me so good, the deep, dark sensual flavor melting in my mouth. Yet, I will not go there. Over it. Okay, not really, but at least I'm making an effort, so that counts for something, right? I'm eleven days into this thing. Eleven freaking days without a single sip of coffee. A few whiffs, yes, but not a single sip.
If I had chocolate, it would undo all the good. After the initial delightful high I would experience while eating it, there would be two inevitable negative side-effects: difficulty falling asleep and heightened anxiety. What I have noticed as a result of doing without chocolate and coffee, is that I feel much more emotional. I have noticed in the late afternoon at work, I feel a surge of anxiety and feel depressed and on the verge of tears. As mentioned before, I still have anxiety and lately I have felt a desire to escape my emotions because they are so intense. Without the caffeine, I'm realizing I used it as a sort of crutch. Feeling emotional or having a crappy day, reach for the bag of chocolate. Eat as much as your heart desires. Feeling on edge after lunch and need something to make it better, go to Wawa and get some coffee. You deserve it. The only problem is the benefits are short-lived. It's a band aid on a scar that needs air to heal. Sure, I'm on top of the world as I savor the 12 oz. Wawa regular and yes, each bite of the chocolate seems to soothe my soul. In reality though, I'm merely suppressing the unwanted emotions that I am supposed to let be. Maybe that's why caffeine makes me so tired, irritable, and anxious later. My body rejecting the suppression. It wants me to feel, no matter how uncomfortable the feelings may be.
While I still feel awkward when talking to some people at work and anxious for the most part when forced to speak in front of others, there has been an improvement. I'm more communicative and not as apt to run away from conversations that I would otherwise if I were jacked up on caffeine. I'm still waking up early, but it's only about an hour early, which is not bad and is much better than waking up at 2 a.m. and not being able to fall back asleep.
No one said it was going to be easy to quit caffeine cold turkey. For me, it was the only way to do it as I don't do moderation well. No one said the positive results would be instantaneous. I almost caved tonight due to my impatience. I thought to myself, 'Why not enjoy life and just have some chocolate? You're not that much more energetic and it's been eleven days. If there hasn't been much of a change by this point, why not just resume eating it.' Yet when I reflect on how awake I felt on my way to work this morning and the fact that I was singing and dancing to Chaka Khan on full blast and having a good old time... when I think about how I initiated more conversations at work today than usual... when I think about how my appetite has returned to normal... I realize I want to continue on this path.