My addiction to coffee was at an all-time high earlier this semester. I went from drinking a half of a cup a day to drinking up to five cups.
This year for Lent, I decided to give up coffee: the only thing that could keep me awake throughout the day. It would be a challenging, yet rewarding, experience to see if I could survive without it.
As Lent was approaching, I knew it was that time again to give up something you love for a month. Living in the sorority house had honestly limited my options of what I could give up. It was Monday, and I was pouring my first cup of the day before my 9:30 am Marketing lecture. I thought, why not give up coffee? What could go wrong? Little did I know this would be harder than expected.
I started after Ash Wednesday to see if I could actually take on the challenge of not drinking any type of coffee for 40 days.
This was one of the harder weeks for me throughout the process because I was in such a routine where I would wake up and drink coffee. Breaking my routine and drinking water or tea was just not the same as my fresh pot of coffee. My coffee gave me energy and got me ready for the day. I just didn’t feel the same as I did every other morning.
Looking back now these weeks were a blur, but I know that all I wanted was a cup of coffee and a cappuccino with a double shot of espresso. All I remember is not being able to sleep and/or sleeping on a different schedule than usual because my body was confused and craving. I needed coffee and I needed it bad. I just missed my daily cup of coffee…or five.
At this point, I just wanted to quit and say F it, but I remembered that at the end of this week I was halfway through this seemingly never-ending challenge.
I knew that if I made it this far I could finish this challenge with a bang. The smell of fresh coffee brewing in the morning and throughout the day was beyond tempting. The one awful thing was that I was getting headaches from drinking little to no caffeine at all. Water and Advil honestly became my best friends during this week.
The number of times I got asked to go to Starbucks in this one week was probably more than in my entire life. My friends have an addiction (#basic). Not my day…not my week. I probably missed coffee the most during this week.
This was the home stretch. I knew that if I made it this far I could have probably made it another month, but I didn’t think that was necessary. I barely had any cravings because:
1. I knew that a fresh cup of coffee was so close and also,
2. My routine was broken and I was used to not having it on the regular.
The time had come and I got to sip on a steaming hot cup of coffee for the first time in 40 days. It honestly never tasted so good. I felt whole again. Angels were singing the Hallelujah Chorus in the background.
What I learned:
As much as I do love coffee, I can drink it in moderation and not consider it a food group. I also realized that I wasn’t wired 24/7 because I wasn’t drinking coffee throughout my day. This led me to sleep better and longer during the week. I honestly was doing better in school and I was more focused in class because I was well rested.
PRO TIP: Caffeine is found in a lot of other drinks that are good for you such as tea. Some varieties have as much as 135mg of caffeine per serving.
If you have a real addiction to coffee, like I did, try to not cut it cold turkey. Coffee withdrawal is a real thing. Try drinking your normal amount, then slowly decreasing what you drink and moving to a coffee substitute.