Coffee, Life

The Impossible Task Of Quitting Caffeine.

I am, by my own definition, a coffee wench. By no means am I an expert in coffee — I leave that to people truly passionate about the creation of the stuff. No, when I say I’m a coffee wench, coffee slinger, or any variation of the sort, I merely mean I’m the conduit through which many of the good businesspeople of downtown Toronto fuel themselves throughout the day.

As previously mentioned, I’ve been in the coffee biz for approximately six years now. I only started regularly drinking the stuff about two years ago, when I discovered the joys of having a morning coffee. When it’s free, it’s even more difficult to control your consumption.

I’m all about routines. I adore them. Some people retch at the thought of having a set schedule, doing the same things at the same time every day, but for me personally I’m in chaos when I don’t have that.  Waking up in the morning, brewing a pot of coffee and slugging it back while I read, draw, write or wander around the internet wasteland, then getting ready for work where I also have a set schedule makes me indescribably happy. I seem to thrive on structure, as much as I’d like to pretend I’m chill as fuck and do what I want when I want to do it, schedules be damned.

My problem lately has been insomnia with a heavy dose of lethargy. I don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone doing anything creative. This fuels my depression, which fuels my insomnia, which fuels my lethargy. Vicious circle of badness, there. I’ve taken it upon myself to attempt to haul myself out of that by having my precious set bedtime and waking time. To help with regulating my sleep, I’ve also decided to quit caffeine.

Yes, quit.

Anyone who’s ever been addicted to anything knows that it’s basically impossible to completely eradicate your need for whatever poison you choose. When I worked at Second Cup, more than one former alcoholic told me they had replaced booze with coffee. I replaced weed with cigarettes and cigarettes with whatever snacks I could get my hands on. Coffee was my replacement for the five-energy-drinks-per-day habit I developed two summers ago. Now the time has come to try to grapple with my dependency and wrangle it into something a little more manageable.

I started maybe a week ago with baby steps. All the caffeine I could handle before 2PM, then a mandatory switch to decaf for the evening. I found it easier to go to sleep at night. Having tackled that hurdle successfully, I moved on to phase two: half-caf in the mornings, then decaf at night. I’ve been doing this for several days now.

My body is beginning to catch on. It knows something’s up.

Last night around 7PM, I started having a headache. I still have a headache today. My body knows its stores of caffeine are depleting and it’s begging me to stock up on the wonder drug again. I feel shaky and off-balance. I also feel wonderful. I don’t want to be dependent on caffeine because it takes the joy out of a really good cup of coffee. It’s the same way with cigarettes — there comes a point where it’s just not enjoyable anymore and you’re only doing it so you don’t rip someone’s head off in a fit of withdrawal rage. I’ve heard that once you cut out caffeine, your body begins to produce natural energy again. I want to remember what that’s like.

It also means my tolerance for caffeine will drop and the next time I have a cup of full-strength coffee it’ll have one hell of an effect. And who knows, maybe beating caffeine means I’ll finally be able to quit smoking!

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