Monday, June 6, 2011

Quittin' Coffee


It’s been two weeks since giving up coffee and booze. The coffee is the hardest to give up. I smell it brewing and want to drink the whole pot. By 10:00 there is a dull sensation in the middle of my forehead and behind my eyes. I didn’t give up caffeine all together. I drink tea now. Earl Grey in the morning and some Malawi tea at work. It’s not like a kick in the pants that coffee gives, especially the strong stuff I (used to) brew. I used to call it a cup of life, very appropriately named if you’re legitimately addicted. I was probably drinking a pot a day. I would have a cup in the morning at home. Get to work and make a French press of very strung stuff, drink most of that. By the third cup in the morning I could feel the acid rolling around in my stomach, eating the lining. Then there was my afternoon cup to get me through the nshima coma that hit after lunch. Now I think my body is going through withdrawals, if you can have withdrawals from coffee.

Two evenings in a row I ventured to the French Alliance for an art opening and then an Italian film about African Immigrants. Both nights at 21:00 I hit a wall, completely exhausted and no inner strength to get through it gracefully. I remember arriving at the second to last check point of my 200 mile race dead tired. I had been running dogs for about 36 hours on maybe 4 hours of sleep. All I wanted to do was crawl into a nice warm bed and sleep for 10 hours. I had nothing to be happy about I was cold, miserable, tired physically and mentally, I had to deal with the formalities of a race, feed my dogs then myself. For those less insane it might have been your idea of hell. Instead I started joking with the checkers who were making sure I had all the necessary equipment. I was laughing and chatting with my handlers and my mom. I ate a huge hamburger and passed out for about 2 hours. My mom and Uncle Wayneo told me about the Northern Lights they saw in pink and blue. I had never seen that before, only green ones. I was upset they didn’t wake me up. Wake me up? Was I mad? I had 8 more hours ahead of me and I wanted someone to wake me up to see pink and blue Northern Lights? But that was me on coffee. There is good reason to drink a lot of coffee in Alaska in the winter time.

Being off the coffee is getting easier, I think. I did just ride 30 km round trip to ride on a horse for less than an hour. The mood swings are stabilizing more. Hopefully the dull sensation deep in my skull, behind my eyes will go away...

My fantastic friends here in Lusaka are talking about starting a pool about when I am going to break and given to one of these vices. They should have one for the coffee and one for the booze. They are saying that they can’t let me know the dates because I could strike a deal with someone for part of the money and throw the bet. I asked if I make it to the end if I get the money. Nope. Incentive for me to finish. Seems as if this bet wants me to fail. Funny thing is I feel great today. I went out last night dancing, had a coke or two. Danced. Not quite with the same moves that I have with liquid courage, but decent enough to have a good time. I was home around midnight, crawled into bed with no worry of a terrible headache and no need to down a liter of water and aspirin. I woke up clear headed bright and early Sunday morning and got on with life in a productive manner. Skipped the coffee for my earl gray, cleaned up the house, started laundry, cooked all morning, cleaned up again, and wrote this afternoon and evening. The coffee isn’t eating my stomach lining and the booze isn’t drowning my brain cells or eating my liver. I am only two weeks into my new program but I could see this being a semi-permanent/ permanent change. That is why I chose 3 months instead of one, to give my body time to actually feel the benefits of new life choices.


  1. Oh, it's definitely an addiction and you are definitely detoxing! Have you tried decaffeinated coffee at all? That might fool your brain into thinking your drinking the real stuff!

  2. I haven't tried decaff. Just quit cold turkey. Well that is not true, I drink a lot of tea now and it still has caffeine but not as much I dont think.