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I Gave Up Coffee For a Month

I thought my life would be more stable if I didn't have the morning spike of energy, afternoon comedown, and urge for the next morning when I could get another fix. But, three weeks of no coffee felt more monotonous than stable.
01/14/2016 01:47pm ET | Updated January 14, 2017
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I committed a mega-mom-atrocity and gave up coffee for one month.

Giving up my morning fix of caffeine, mixed with creamy sweetness, made me realize I need a minor vice to methodically dip into to avoid drowning in juicier vices.

I abandoned coffee for a month because I needed to know I was capable of doing it.

I had been drinking one cup of coffee every day for nine years when I began waking up at 2:00 a.m. with mental cold sweats and the word "addiction" floating in my mind. I like coffee, but I like control more, so I decided I would will myself to give it up -- for 30 days.

Cold turkey was my modus operandi, and it made me a cranky serial curser. Everything enraged me my first coffee-less week, and I had a pounding headache so powerful I was convinced my eye balls might pop out of my head.

My mental cold sweats over addiction turned in to actual cold sweats as my body released its final reserves of caffeine.

I traded my morning coffee for hot honey lemon water, thinking my desire for a morning coffee was more about habit than physical dependency. I was wrong -- and I resented the honey lemon water for trying to take the place of my beloved latte.

I made it though the 30 days only because I triple dog dared myself, and knew the let down to my ego and will power would be worse than the withdrawal demons.

Mentally, I felt like a conqueror of proclivities at the end of the 30 days, but physically, I felt no different. After I pushed past the week of the cold sweats, headaches, and random bouts of yelling I felt like I did on pre-coffee-withdrawal days when the morning caffeine rush wore off -- buzzing with moderate energy, and semi-mental-clarity.

I thought my life would be more stable if I didn't have the morning spike of energy, afternoon comedown, and urge for the next morning when I could get another fix. But, three weeks of no coffee felt more monotonous than stable.

The day after I ended the coffee-cleanse I went to my favorite coffee shop and spent an hour savoring a large vanilla almond milk latte. That hour is on the list of the top ten best moments of my life.

I'm glad I gave up coffee for a month -- I proved to myself that I could do it without internally combusting or having a mental breakdown. I also discovered that I'm quite happy with my coffee dependency. The joy of having a ritual that ends in a sweet rush of energy every morning makes me hate waking up a little less.

Having a baby made me relish my morning coffee even more, and shaped me into one of those moms who talks about her love for coffee ad nauseam (and has a t-shirt to back up her coffee inspired soliloquies.)

Coffee has also filled the position of "vice" in my life. I have an addictive personality, and if coffee wasn't filling that addiction slot something else would eventually slither its way in there. Sure it's possible to have more than one vice, but I've made the decision to allow that daily coffee high, and my neurotic drive to get that high every morning, be enough for me -- for now.

If I couldn't curb the urge at one cup, and was a "two pots a day" drinker, I might be singing a different tune (likely a high pitch fast tempo tune.) Maybe a drastic life shift (another baby) will push me into the arena of over doing the coffee, and I'll write an article about how coffee slowly ruined my life by turning me into a compulsive foot-tapper.

But until that day, I'm going to preset the coffee maker every evening, ensure I have a steady supply of Thin Mint flavored creamer, and ignore/ wince at everyone who tries to talk to me before I suck down that first sip.