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Breaking Up with Joe

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Ah, Joe. You're the reason I wake up in the morning. The thought of your smooth texture against my lips...your delightful, earthy smell...pure ecstacy the moment I put my hands around you. But you're not good for me anymore. I need to find a way to live without you...

Boy, has anyone else tried giving up coffee??? It feels like a serious breakup!

I love, love, love my cup of Joe in the morning -- especially on those cool, crisp mornings when I'm getting dressed. Or when I'm at the computer checking email for the first time that day. Or in the afternoon when I need a good boost of energy. Or after dinner with some chocolate and strawberries. I love the taste of coffee, and yep, I'll take it pretty much any time of the day. I am addicted.

Or should I be bold enough to say, "I was addicted"? You see, I decided to give up coffee. And why, you may ask? Why breakup with your one true love? Well, for a few reasons:

  1. My teeth were turning yellow.

  2. I was developing acid reflux.

  3. I was no longer experiencing an increase in energy from drinking it.

  4. It seemed like a good challenge for Lent (and a reminder of my human weakness).

  5. (most important) I knew I was addicted. Not physiologically -- actually, when I gave it up cold turkey for a few days, I didn't experience any side effects. It was more of an emotional craving. But like any addiction, I found myself chained to its cravings. I needed to break free.

Life is full of challenges. Challenges are good for us -- physical, emotional, and mental. Giving up coffee, I knew, would be one of the most difficult mental challenges I've had to face in a long time. That was why I knew I had to do it.

I admire those who can give up a substance cold turkey. My will was not that strong. Instead, I used a strategy from my ACE Nutritional Manual. It's a 5-step, 2-week taper strategy that can be used for any food or substance: coffee, alcohol, sweets. I highly recommend trying it!

The strategy:

  1. tally # mg of caffeine/day

  2. first week: substitute a caffeine-free beverage for 1 caffeine drink/day until total # mg = 100mg or less/day

  3. second week: reduce by 25mg each day

  4. quit cold turkey for 3 days

  5. And voila! The caffeine/coffee habit will be history!

It's all about getting out of crisis mode: Not every day, deadline, or life event should trigger the need for a caffeine boost to make it through. And the really great thing about giving up coffee for an extended period of time? If I decide to return to that beloved cup of Joe in the future, I'll receive the maximal effect at the lowest possible dose.

Whoohoo! No unhealthy, abusive relationship -- just a friend with benefits!

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