Quitting coffee ☕

The last coffee I had was a strong decaf cappuccino on Monday January 13th of this year, or 123 days ago (to 2020-05-15).

Before that I had a regular coffee mocha on January 6th. Not that I'm counting.

Over the last 4 years I've slowly been eliminating the drug Caffeine from my life. Like any addiction it's been a tough uphill struggle. For me that struggle was not so much the caffeine itself, more so the coffee that the caffeine hitched a ride with.

My morning ritual when I sat at whatever customer or office desk I happened to be at was the same: take a quick overview of the world through my RSS feeds across various categories from cloud to Chelsea FC and everything in between. All the while enjoying a small cup of paradise. I did heart coffee for the taste considerably more so than the neurological effects. Though I admit I used caffeine as a means to kick start my day for more than a decade.

With every cup came short term gains back to a baseline I made up for myself of a normal state of being. This short term thinking lead to long term problems- namely migraines.

So, from around 18 to around 30 coffee fuelled my social life and professional life. I started a daily ritual around coffee. I often consumed numerous cups per day without thinking of the consequences.

I sound like the average person. That's probably why you dear reader have gotten this far. You're an average person, drinking coffee, but also considering some of your choices.

I made some choices sometime in the spring of 2016. After going on a health cleanse of epic proportions (due to a health scare) I ate nothing but vegetables and fruit (only!) for a couple of months straight. I drank only water and kombucha (at the time, it was not my own home brew).

For that 8-9 weeks following the diagnosis I followed the strict diet. That also included going cold turkey on coffee. Though, me and old mate were not quite done yet.

That is to say, giving up a ritual or an addiction that's gone on for over a decade can't be as easy as that. Cold turkey as a means to quit anything is not only flawed, there's ample Google-able articles that state willpower can only go so far.

So when asked recently what I did–

–I quickly answered, but have since felt that this needed some more wordage to articulate properly. So, @JesseLoudon this ones for you.

The last coffee I had was a strong decaf cappuccino on Monday January 13th of this year, or 123 days ago (to 2020-05-15).

I don't recall the exact day or date I started drinking de-caf, but it was for sure around late 2016. However, lets round it to September 2016, it's been 3 and half years of back and forth with drinking de-caf to not drinking any coffee. The current run from Jan 13th until now is the longest I've gone without coffee since I was 18. That's a weird thing to think about.

In my case cold turkey, but with a shift to de-caf to continue the ritual, was the means to an end that made the overall process easier. I honestly think if anyone's considering a pivot in such polar opposite directions, there is no “do X, Y and Z” process. It's a matter of ripping off the band aid and making that paradigm shift a reality.

My goal was never to “quit coffee”. The smell of a freshly brewed cup still brings a smile to my face. I think for sure I'll drink coffee again in the future. However, now that it's not part of any routine, I'm no longer dependant on it, I think I'll have a different relationship with coffee.

Moreover, when I think about the following, there's some significant changes that won't have me running back to that cup of java anytime soon:

Look, I don't hate coffee now that I don't consider myself a drinker. This also isn't a ‘stop drinking coffee because of x, y and z reasons’ kind of a blog. I just wanted to go more in depth on this than 280 Twitter characters would allow. However, how much can I put into a blog post about quitting coffee? How long is a piece of string? How annoying is answering a question with a question?

My experience here is limited to one example to kick coffee. So, with that said, there's only one important piece of advice on quitting coffee that I can say would achieve success if that's what you want: you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.


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Follow or start a discussion for this blog (Quitting coffee ☕) on Twitter. If you're after something more in depth, or want to ask me an expanded question: raise an issue in my open GitHub AMA repo.