Leaving what I love

love-beans-caffeine-coffee

Do you remember your first cup of coffee? I do. I was 21, living in Sydney, Australia, working in a cafe. One day the bartender, who I thought was quite cool, offered to make me a flat white. In a failed attempt to mature and worldly, I took it and drank it. I spent the next three hours buzzing around on a wave of ecstasy. It was amazing. And I’ve enjoyed 1 to 15 cups of coffee every single day since then.

Until about a month ago. On May 21st I did it, I gave up one of my most favourite things and definitely my most favourite habit–coffee.

Crazy people all over give up coffee for all sorts of reasons–tummy troubles, anxiety, etc. For me it was sleep. I’ve kept my struggle with insomnia no secret. For about a year and a half I thought I had it all under control, but this spring insomnia reared its ugly head again. For a month I slept only 4 hours a night. My left eye twitched constantly. When it come to dealing with insomnia, giving up coffee was pretty much the last thing I had to try, so I made the choice to quit cold turkey.

I wanted to write this post for those of you who are considering giving up coffee for insomnia or any other reason. Let you know that it is possible. It can be done. It’s not fun at first but there are actual benefits. Here is what you can expect, or at least how the how the whole thing unfolded for me:

**When I quit I was drinking about 3 large mugs of coffee a day

Day 1-5. I felt like my head was in the sand. Or in the clouds. Or filled with cotton balls. It felt like there was a haze between me and my reality. It sucked, but don’t worry, it didn’t last. If it did I certainly wouldn’t have stayed off caffeine. Fortunately for me, I did not get headaches. My bowel movements remained the same (I know you were wondering). I started sleeping slightly better immediately. And here is the interesting part, I started feeling less anxious. When I drink coffee and I’m in the midst of a bout of insomnia, life feels like a crisis. But as soon as I quit, the crisis ended. I was simply just tired.

Day 5-10. I finally began sleeping better. My eye stopped twitching. I was still in a crazy, hazy fog, that didn’t change. I noticed I was overall less anxious and more calm in every area of my life.

Day 11-25. I’m no longer hazy, not at all. I wake up good to go. I am more even keel than I have ever been. The highs and lows that I thought were parts of my personality don’t happen. Turns out it wasn’t my personality, it was the caffeine. It’s a really, really good feeling. On day 12 I slept through the night which is not something that happens to me regularly.

Today. Straight up, it’s been one month. It’s still new so I’m still feeling righteous about it, but I think I might be a convert. You should be too. Don’t get me wrong, I miss coffee like crazy but life just seems so much easier without it. For example, last night I slept from 10:30PM to 4AM (work is stressing me out). While it wasn’t enough sleep for me, the quality of my sleep has improved so much that I didn’t feel that terrible. I also didn’t have the caffeine-induced sense of urgency that I didn’t know existed until I quit. I’m tired but I’m good.

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2 thoughts on “Leaving what I love

  1. I’ve never really been a regular coffee drinker until the last year or so, but I definitely had a lot of caffeine in my diet thanks to pop. I’ve started having some stomach issues, and so far I think I’ve traced it back to my morning coffee (maybe it’s the creamer though?). So, I stopped drinking coffee – but now I’m getting migraines again. I know this is a cycle that can be broken, but I think I need to wean myself off of it opposed to quitting cold turkey.
    Glad to hear it’s working for you!

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