I thought I was going to quit drinking coffee cold turkey this week. I thought it would be easy. I thought. I was only drinking two cups a day. Apparently I was underestimating how strong I was making those two cups.
I quit caffeine before when I was drinking two whole pots a day but I did the reduction method. I spent a month slowly making each pot with less and less coffee grounds until I tapered down to one weak cup per day. Then I quit no problem. No withdrawal symptoms I had heard about.
This time thinking I only had two cups a day I figured it would be too easy. The first day was easy. Until I got the headache around 10pm that night. I knew it was from lack of caffeine because I never get headaches. It didn’t stop me from sleeping. The second day I woke up and my legs would not stop bouncing up and down vigorously. It was so bad my calves hurt. I’ve had that happen before but never so bad. I looked online and found one reference to it. To test it out I went to the store and got an iced tea which has less caffeine. I drank it and within 10 minutes my legs were perfectly fine.
The next day my addicted mind started making “reasonable” sounding deals with itself. That’s what happens during withdrawal. Your brain plays tricks on you to get what it wants. This deal was no coffee in the morning but I could have tea in the afternoon to calm my legs. That sounded like a good deal. So I immediately went and bought some for “later.”
That went well for a couple days but it still wasn’t enough caffeine to feed my brain. I had cleared all the coffee from the house so I found myself shuffling over to the store first thing in the morning to get a good large cup. “It’s only for this one day” my brain told me as I put up an ineffective fight.
I am now on my third day of “just one day.” I have never had withdrawal from coffee before and thought I would avoid them with my small but strong two cups a day habit. My brain causes just enough pain to get what it wants. It tells me if I do it I can end the suffering.
I’m right back where I started a week ago. But now I am afraid to quit again. Do I really have to go so slow with my small habit? I feel silly having to cut down to one and a half and then one and then just a half cup until I can finally cut it off easily. It takes about a month to do that. I don’t have that much time or discipline.
The problem is I hate being addicted to any drug. I’ve been trying to quit stuff my whole life but I want it both ways. I want to enjoy it without being addicted. It’s always hard to see when you’ve crossed that line. I even try to quit my psyche meds but that never goes well. My anti-psychotics, anti-manics and anti-depressants. All of them are going to kill me but I am forced to take them. Not really, I could quit but I am one hospitalization away from being mandated to take monthly injections.
So I try to handle the drugs I am allowed. Nicotine was the most insidious. Alcohol has gone from being days to now I am racking up some months without it so I feel safer. I never imagined caffeine would be so hard. It’s only the middle of the week so I can only guess how I will handle tomorrow morning. If I write more you will know.
Last night I made sure I had two dollars to buy a coffee this morning. (Planning your next fix is a red flag for addiction.) I went back for another cup because I had a bad sleepless night. It made me feel horrible. (Using more than intended is another red flag.)
Now it is at the point where I am spending as much money on single cups as I would on a whole container. I decided I am going to buy a whole container and make it myself. (Protecting the supply is another red flag.) My cold turkey attempt to quit caffeine failed miserably. I have vague plans to try slowly reducing the dose until the container is empty.