Notes from the Land of Withdrawals

Apparently, I vastly underestimated the impact of quitting coffee and caffeine cold turkey.

When I wrote earlier this week that I was going to post later in the day about the women’s retreat, I forgot to mention that the post wasn’t going to appear here, but rather on the blog for my very cool church.  I also failed to realize that part of going through withdrawals for caffeine addiction would be (A) extreme loss of energy and (B) crazy headaches, both of which make churning out a decent blog post (or doing anything that requires movement and cognitive function) rather difficult.  

So I drafted my post, sent it off to the lovely web fairies who no doubt will post it on Travelblog soon.  

Thus far, I’ve learned quite a bit from giving up coffee. 

I’ve learned that I was hardly alone in my addiction.  It’s been a little shocking, the reaction I’ve gotten from folks when I tell them I gave it up.  

I’ve learned that in addition to the crazy headaches, quitting caffeine cold turkey will result in a brief, couple of days, period of being a TOTAL SPACE CADET.   Like, “I walked off without my cell phone twice,” space cadet.

I’ve learned that I can’t fake feeling well very well.  A friend at work walked past me and instantly asked “Are you tired?” in a concerned tone of voice.  Up till then I thought I was faking it okay.  Maybe not.

I’ve learned that giving up an addiction is very like breaking up with a bad boyfriend.  I had the weird experience of feeling like dedicating songs to coffee.  

The digital coffee application on Facebook, while filling the social need void, is not the same.  

I’m sure there will be more insights, now that I’m starting to feel like a human being again.  And I’m sure I’ll overshare them here.  

Have any of you reader friends given up a bad habit?  Similar experiences?  Different ones?  Feel free to share in the comments.

3 Comments


  1. ·

    I wasn’t a coffee drinker, but over 60 days ago I gave up all forms of soda pop. The first week was the toughest, but I don’t think my withdrawal was as bad as yours seems to be. I haven’t had any cravings for the stuff for the past few weeks, which is good.

    One thing I did when I first went cold turkey was to take a couple of extra-strength Tylenols on the first two days. I still had some headaches, but I’m supposing that it could have been worse.

    I know it must be tough but more power to you!

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  2. Kat
    ·

    Mark,

    That’s what I keep hearing–that the first week is the hard part.

    I already feel a bit more like myself today. I tried the extra strength Tylenol, as well as Advil, the first couple of days, and they pretty much failed to make any impact on the headache.

    I did a quick calculation today, and I was probably averaging around 800-1000 mg of caffeine per day. According to the Mayo Clinic website, people have adverse reactions at around 500-600 mg per day.

    Yoiks!

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  3. ·

    Been thinking about you this week, wondering if I should offer support, or stories of my own failure to give up coffee or tea.

    I failed, but experiment introduced me to lose leaf tea, which rocks. You can control the caffeine by running water through it once, then re-watering to get a bit of caffeine, but not a lot.

    Anyway, nice work. Keep up the good fight.

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