06 January 2014

I quit coffee (again).

Day 1:

Yes, I have decided to quit coffee for the umpteenth freaking time. I'm a freak. Okay. I definitely am doing it this time. I almost caved though. Day one was a struggle, let me tell ya. It was torturous having to abstain. Having several Wawa gift cards in my wallet made it harder because I kept going back to the fact that essentially the coffee was free and just a short walk from my office. My willpower wore thin by early afternoon and I was thisclose to sprinting to Wawa to get my fix. I searched my phone contacts. Who to call to talk me out of this? My mom ended up being out when I called home. I tried explaining my plight to my dad and the conversation went something along these lines:
  "Should I go to Wawa to get coffee."
  "Yeah, why not?"
  "Well, today is day one of my quitting and I don't want to go there, but I have these Wawa gift cards."
  "Well what else can you buy there?"
  "Nothing. Only coffee."
  "Well isn't there something else you can get instead."
  "Well they do have soft pretzels..."
  "The problem though is I have fifty dollars in gift cards and that means I could go on fifty separate occasions to get coffee as it's only like a dollar. This is why it's so hard for me not to just go there and get it."

The thought of the soft pretzels distracted me just enough as I walked down the steps from the second floor of the office building back to my desk. After searching frantically online for reasons to continue onward with my goal to give up caffeine entirely, I came across this funny article, wherein this woman outlined her feelings throughout a thirty day period of withdrawal. Her withdrawal symptoms very closely matched mine during my three week effort in November. Her cravings went in ebbs and flows and then by the third week period, the cravings resurfaced. Then I typed 'quitting coffee' into twitter to see how others fared in their attempt to give it up and came across several posts about quitting coffee and smoking. That wasn't as inspiring as the article written about a 30 day coffee free trial period. What's funny is at the end of the thirty day period, the author gave in and didn't have just one, but three cups of coffee. Yep, sounds like me. She ended by expressing the fact that her mind was spinning from caffeine overload and she concluded that she really needed to give it up for good.

The fact that she made it thirty days and reminding myself of the fact that I did feel calmer today than I would have otherwise, helped me to persist. There were some other forum posts that I found regarding a woman being encouraged by her doctor to give up caffeine to benefit her anxiety and panic disorder. She mentioned the fact that her doctor had told her if she truly had hopes to improve her well being, she needed to cut out the caffeine. She wrote a progress update after three weeks, noting how proud she felt that she'd stuck to her goal of giving it up. It motivated me as I thought to myself, if she can do it, I can do it.

So here I am, the night is drawing to a close and I consider my first day a success since I resisted the ultimate temptation despite the voices inside my head urging me to give in all damn day. I do have a slight headache, but am comforted by the quietude of my mind. I can at least focus on writing this blog post and don't feel edgy, jittery, and with thoughts spinning. I'm tired but it's a good kind of tired. I'm not masking my body's natural response by giving it an artificial jolt, but rather letting it do its thing. Feels good. I'll take the temporary headache over the permanent state of hyper activity and restlessness (as well as panic, anxiety, and loss of appetite, among other negative side-effects).

My plan to stave off the craving is to keep myself busy, by exercising and by nourishing my body with nutritious foods. Sadly, I used my quitting coffee as an excuse to indulge in an entire box of pecan shortbread cookies and nearly an entire bag of kettle chips, but as long as I'm keeping my mouth away from the java, I'm making progress. If I can make it through today, I can manage the rest of the week. I'm thinking of maybe having some chamomile, so as to satisfy my desire for a sweet, soothing drink without the side effect of skyrocketing anxiety. Day one, done. Now off to take a nice warm shower to further relax me....

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