The Caffeine Reduction Effort

I love caffeine, I’m just going to come on out and say that.  I have, for years now, consumed a lot of it on a daily basis, and for a time I thought that that was fine and well.  Now my mind is changing on that front.

Caffeine, as is well known to many, is a drug, and it does in fact have addictive qualities to it.  While not a hardcore stimulant like cocaine or meth, it is still a stimulant nonetheless. Certainly there are worse things one can put into one’s body, and there are even reported pros of caffeine intake.  But there are also cons and those can have a range of averse effects.

Over the years I had been increasing further and further my intake of caffeine, until an all time high about six months ago of drinking about five cups of coffee every morning and then other caffeinated beverages throughout the day.  This wasn’t a problem as long as I got my daily dose.  It was a huge problem if I didn’t.

If I lacked some form of significant daily caffeine intake I’d at first be sluggish, then ornery, then down right grouchy.  Then would come the headaches and shakes. While I am sure it is mild compared to a what say a hardcore heroine junky experiences, I have no doubt whatsoever that one or two occasions were straight up withdrawal symptoms. It was unpleasant enough to get me thinking about my intake of caffeine. I decided I was going to work on some changes.

I’m not off the caffeine entirely, and really, am not looking to cut it out 100%. However I have made huge reductions.  Right now, at most, I am only drinking two cups of regular coffee a morning (I then switch to decaf, because I do just like to drink coffee while I work).  I may have a cup of tea or soda too, at some point in the day, but that is not every day.  Ideally I think I’m shooting for one cup of regular coffee daily, maybe a cup of tea in the afternoon (which, if I’m in the mood for an herbal tea is going to be decaf itself).  I’d be happy with that.

It is weird.  I’ve known a lot of folks who have quit caffeine, or reduced it in their lives.  I used to scoff and think “that’ll never be me.”  But then I have some unpleasant side effects and it clicks “oh, maybe that is why.” I don’t begrudge caffeine or people who want it.  I just recognize it a little bit more for how I had been using it and how it was effecting my body.  It’s interesting really. And truth be told, if I was going to be thinking about drug use and addiction, this was about the safest chemical to explore (also, a conveniently legal one).

I’ve been drinking a cup of coffee while I write this this morning, and I feel pretty good thinking “that’s enough for today.” So that’s something.


~ by Nathaniel on October 4, 2013.

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