I alluded in my first post for NaBloPoMo that there is lots of new with me since I last posted. I’ve covered the name change, the gym going, and here’s another big change: I am coffee-free. Some might not consider this a big deal, but for me, it was a process that took months, yes months, to get down to zero coffee.
How bad was my coffee habit before? I don’t know – it’s all relative. I had at least two cups in the morning, and usually a cup in the afternoon. I drink plenty of water, but I would mostly drink green tea throughout the day, so I was always on caffeine. It was easy to justify – I have a stressful job, a kid who isn’t the best sleeper, but most importantly, I love coffee. Love everything about it – the smell, the warmth, the way it can be hot or iced, the way our culture supports the habit with drive-throughs and coffee dates. I was always ready for coffee.
“I Like Coffee,” by artist Summer Pierre, summerpierre.com
Despite my constant stream of caffeine, I was always tired. Tired in the afternoon, tired in the evening, tired when I woke up. I wanted that to change.
What made it even more difficult to consider quitting is that my husband has a major coffee addiction. He would prepare a French press each night to, as he said, “make it from 7 to 9 p.m.,” or as many parents know, the witching hour of the final part of a day with a kid – they playing, bathing, negotiating, putting to sleep, etc. Come 9 p.m., Miss Red is always still awake, and he’d want to make art, read, or relax.
So starting last March – yes, that long ago – I started weaning myself. I’d allow myself one cup of coffee in the morning, then drink green tea. Then, half a cup. Then, a quarter cup. Until I was down to one cup of chai tea in the morning. It took me months. I don’t even know how long.
Want to know the dirty truth? Once I quit, I started waking up before my alarm. I was able to stay awake a little longer each night. I wasn’t as tired in the morning or afternoon, or if I was, I reminded myself that I would have been tired if I was drinking coffee. I’m not as irritable.
Other changes? My husband chose to cut down, too. And he started to feel better, too. Keep in mind that I am not caffeine-free. I still have one cup of chai tea in the morning and one cup of green tea in the afternoon, but I do my best to limit it to that amount. If driving for work, which I often do, I’ll have an iced tea, but that’s it. I’ve had decaf a few times to get the taste of coffee, but I’m doing my best to limit that, too.
Do I miss coffee? You bet. Coffee was like that guy in college I kept talking to for some reason, even though he never quite met all my needs. I still dream about coffee. When I head into a coffee shop, as I did with my family this morning, I drink in the smell. But I stick to tea. I really do feel better. It’s like I’m me, New and Improved, albeit with less caffeine.