It was 4 cups a day in high school. When I was 15, I discovered Starbucks. Who knew coffee could be cold, creamy, shaken and with whipped cream? Yum. When I lost my sweet tooth senior year, I went straight black. “In your biggest size, please!”
In college it was just plain awful. The stress of being in a new town, with new people, and so much more work than I was used to. This is when my comfort food became a really bad habit.
I’d drink so much coffee that I couldn’t sleep at night. No matter how tired I’d get I was too wired to rest. My mind would race and I’d stay up all night worrying about the things I had to do.
The scariest part was when I would get sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis (in a nutshell) is when your body is asleep but your brain is awake. It feels like you’re wide awake, but you can’t move your body at all. It’s almost as if someone has tied you to your mattress. This would happen a few times a night sometimes. It was horrible–but that didn’t stop me.
I drank so much caffeine that I gave myself a stomach ulcer. A stomach ulcer is by definition a hole in your stomach. I was able to cut back out of fear, but that wasn’t the end. As soon as I was better I just did the same thing all over again. Yep, another ulcer. Then I’d slow down with the cups of joe, heal, and then again, another ulcer. Insanity.
On top of it all this was seriously costing me the big bucks. I am totally embarrassed to say this but at one point I was spending around $75 a week on coffee. No, I definitely could not afford it.
I know there are people out there with pretty serious, dangerous addictions–I’m not trying to belittle those. Coffee, for me, was this familiar comforting thing that (at first) made it easier to cope. It was something I once shared with my family and friends, it made me happy, and when I was down it reminded me of those nicer moments.
In moderation it’s fine, but for me it became a severe disruption and health issue. I wasn’t sleeping and I was hurting my body. It stopped being comforting and became the source of a whole lot of discomfort. The only probably was: I love coffee. I love the taste of it. I love the experience of going to a coffee shop with my friends. I love trying new bolder or exotic blends. I didn’t and don’t want to give it up. But just like with most addictions trying to cut back doesn’t work–you just end up at square one again.
So I compromised. I can have one fully caffeinated cup, large sized even, in the morning, once a day. Then if I am craving the taste (which I tend to) I can have decaf. As much decaf as I want! It’s not exactly the same, but it gets the job done.
Do you have any vices or addictions? Let us know in the comments.