I wasn’t going to do this now. I love my morning coffee. Love, love, love! The promise of those mornings has been such an important part of quitting alcohol. I drink dense French press coffee, half caff, with heavy cream. My god, it’s good. My morning sit-and-write drink.
But. A few days ago I was driving along the highway and some small part of me said it wanted to talk. It wanted to talk about my alcohol situation — the quitting thing. (This is a part of me that’s vehemently on my side, so I wasn’t worried that my inner addict had some brilliant plan to get me drinking again.) Okay, what? I’d been feeling vaguely edgy or rigid, was waiting for some softening to occur and have been just going along, focused on the not drinking. She said, quit coffee.
Really? Yeah, quit coffee.
That Adrian, she really knows how to keep a reader wanting to know more. I can hear all of you clicking away to Google news 🙂
I’ve quit coffee a few times before. Each time lasted just a few days, but for those few days I felt fantastic. I always slid back to the stuff, for reasons I now think have to do with not being able to tolerate feeling really good… for those contentment-as-discomfort reasons.
Coffee seems like it helped to save me from a binge-eating disorder in my twenties, though I’m not exactly sure why. In any case, I clearly have a bunch of gut/addiction/mood stuff going on. So leaving coffee has always felt kind of fraught. While I may feel awesome without it, I feel fine with it, so there I’ve stayed.
But something about this suggestion to cut out another protective (blocking) device made sense and so I did it. The headaches came, the headaches went, and I was left with this new caffeine-free mind and body. Turns out there’s a whole new layer of ways I protect myself from discomfort — I’m discovering it by watching my inner movements as I get the urge to reach for coffee.
You’d think that quitting coffee just after quitting alcohol would make me feel supremely deprived. (That’s why I had had it only in the farthest, most distant, hard-to-see-unless-you-really-squint back burner.) But, surprisingly, I don’t feel deprived. I’ve long since stopped feeling like not having alcohol is any kind of deprivation (despite the fact that I do still have tugs toward alcohol when I’m stressed), though I notice the absence and the vague effort it still takes to stay away. Now my focus has moved to this other thing I’m not drinking, and it’s kind of nice to have a substitute preoccupation. And one “rule” I’m fine breaking if I want to! A little bit of exploration of that area between black and white.
This all types out so nicely because again I feel so damn good without the caffeine. My energy is more even, my concentration is better, and I can hold nuances and complexity better in my mind. The footings of my foundation feel deeper.
And I still have my lovely morning time. Nobody’s gonna wrestle my hot mug of dense, dark decaff (with heavy cream) from my beloved, still-have-my-hang-ups-but-I-love-them little hands. But I’m slowly sinking down, down, down into my body, my instincts, my mind (wherever it may go on a given day)… slowing down. Yum.