Hi, my name is Beth and I am a caffeine addict.
When we first ventured off on this continent-crossing journey, I drank coffee everyday. Not in a causal way, either. It was a necessary part of my morning. I had to have coffee preceding or with my breakfast, and it had to be before noon. If this didn’t happen, one of two things would happen.
If I was feeling optimistic and well reseted, I would go ahead and have coffee whenever. This would then prevent me from falling asleep that night. Yes, I am a caffeine addict who some how is still susceptible to its effects so much so that if I had any after 12pm, it would keep me awake at night. This obviously would lead to a vicious cycle where I would sleep in late because I couldn’t fall asleep, but still would be tired and in dire need of coffee to be a functional human being.
This is where the second scenario comes in. If I were especially tired and in desperate need of a normal night’s sleep, I would forgo my daily caffeine fix. No bid deal, right? Wrong. Twenty-four hours without caffeine would leave me with a horrendous withdrawal headache. Caffeine being the only thing that could make it go away. No ibuprofen, cold rags, or white willow bark would do the trick. I would accept the agonizing pain and eventually succumb to my tiredness. Finally awaking the next morning at a normal hour and promptly downing a cup.
This was a problem for several reasons. First, this need for my morning fix made me an uber bitch to my poor SO until my drug was safely coursing through my bloodstream. When we were living in Alabama and he’d go off to work at 6 and I would have a few hours at the house on my own, it wasn’t such a big deal. He would head off to work before I was solidly awake, then I would get up and immediately have coffee. My cranktastic self stayed dormant. But traveling, when most mornings are up for grabs and we are on the same schedule, made for more than the occasional pre-breakfast skirmish. Not ideal.
The second issue was how powerless I felt under its influence. I was physically worthless without it. Not a good feeling. I didn’t like that the first thing I had to think about in the morning was when and where I was going to get caffeine.
So, five months into our travels I decided to give up coffee. Not just coffee, caffeine altogether. This was not the first time I’ve cut it out of my diet. Six years ago when I first attempted Kris Carr’s 21 Day Detox I cut it out and was able to stay away from it for around 6 months. I’ve tried a few other times with varying levels of success, but never longer than a couple of months.
I just love it so much. I have a problem.
Because I’d been through it before, I knew what to expect over the next few days. At least, I thought I did. This was by far the worst caffeine withdrawal symptoms I have ever had. Right around twenty-four hours the headache creeped in. It’s that really horrible kind of headache that sits right behind your eyes and pounds harder and harder with any kind of movement. Dark, stillness is the only thing that brings any relief.
The second day the headache proceeded and continued to worsen. At this point I was having a normal caffeine detox. Everything changed around dinner time. J was being very sweet and made a little pasta dinner with a side salad. I wasn’t very hungry but ate as much as I could. Soon, I began to feel nauseous and not half an hour later that lovely dinner was in the toilet. I brushed my teeth and shamefully crawled myself to bed to pass out.
The entire next day I couldn’t keep anything down. Not even water. The headache persisted and I tried my best to just stay still in bed. Finally, around dinnertime again, I felt a small pang of hunger and J brought me a burger and fries – the best food when you feel like shit. I ate about half of it and… nothing. After that day the headache started to gradually wane and around the 5th day without caffeine I felt great.
This was a month ago and I feel so much better. I wake up in the mornings and don’t have to think about coffee. If I’m hungry, I’ll have some breakfast, if not, I can hold out eating till whenever. Not having to freak out to find a caffeine fix. We’ve definitely saved a bundle skipping the flat whites in cafes and passing over the coffee aisle in the market.
I feel as though my overall mood has stabilized, and I’m much less prone to crabby outbursts. (I sound like such a wonderful spouse, I know). My sleep has certainly improved. I still have the occasional insomnia, but it is much less common and every night I fall asleep much faster than before.
Now, I’m not saying I will never have coffee again. I love it too much. So far, I haven’t had any and am not sure when I will imbibe again. Perhaps a PSL when we touch down at LAX in December? Certainly whenever we make it to Italy I will down an espresso standing in one of those hectic cafes. When in Rome.
Presently, however, I am happy with a caffeine-free life.
Have you ever cut out caffeine? Were your withdrawal symptoms as bad as mine? What’s the longest you’ve gone without it? Let me know in the comments! Needing some solidarity inspo as my SO isn’t a coffee drinker 🙂