A Week Without Caffeine
I’d like to think a header like that would speak for itself. That it’s possible to live a life without the constant consumption of soda, coffee and all the delicious sweetnesses of modern drinks. No glamor of an app(s) dictating which trendy multi-national chain or corporation to support in my desire, need really, to get that surge of energy that brought my brain online day after day. Month after month. As these words come across the screen I’m not entirely certain why, exactly, I went cold turkey on caffeine.
Perhaps it was waking up from another restless night of sleep to see my desk littered with empty cans of Pepsi. With a half-empty bottle of rum sitting nearby that’d usually add some potency after a long day working in the service industry; wondering just how I could drink all of that in less than a week. Or maybe it was that growing hole in my budget that’d go towards more pricey and harmful drinks like Red Bull or Starbucks. Drinking them down like water and never feeling the satisfaction of just one. Realizing that maybe it’s bad if you’re buying a backup just in case you get another craving later. It could’ve been the simple fact that my mouth and tongue tasted like syrupy blandness despite the best efforts to stay on top of brushing my teeth. No matter the reason I went cold turkey.
The way I saw it is that if I really wanted to break this sort of addiction I needed to suffer. To hurt, maybe bleed, to be in a state where the pain was so unbearable that I’d remember never to relapse out of fear. With that in mind I made sure I had no painkillers in my apartment.
Holy fuck did I suffer.
Migraines so severe for the first three days that I found myself wondering if this was how a victim of Vlad the Impaler felt as the wooden stake was thrust through the victims body: only instead of the mouth, the spike found itself pressed against my temple. Alongside my stomach twisting like the $50 Craigslist washer my landlord got us. Every footstep reverberating into an echo that only I could hear. Whispers sounding like primal screams. Coworkers and customers unbearable to the point where I’d simply walk away and find a quiet spot to catch my breath out of fear; fear that I’d snap in my state. Even something subtle like lighting inconsistencies within a space would feel blinding. As my eyes looked downward, watering, I was alone in this pain. Not so much as a laugh came out of me for the first three days.
I’ve read that it takes 72 hours to break a physical addiction. With the mental taking longer. What I didn’t understand was the aftermath; the fight you win leaves your body vulnerable. After those initial 72 hours comes the new dawn.
Having to adapt to the reality that I didn’t have the caffeine suppressing my hunger requires a more… aware approach to eating. That waking up and simply getting my brain online requires a desire to see the day through. My muscles aching for some sort of stimulation as they had to relearn a life of self-reliance. Hours felt like days I collapsed into a state of semi-hibernation. Sleeping for ten to twelve hours a night with a fan to keep me cool and snuggling with layers of blankets for warmth.
That sleep was worth the pain. A night of deep undisturbed sleep.
Did I just give up caffeine for a better night of sleep?
I guess I’ll find out next week.