Thursday, June 19, 2008

Coffee Tears and Adict Fears

Part of our day of silence included a good meditation for me. Lots of good things came up, things which I hope to blog about soon.

The first one I wanted to address was my realization of just how much of a caffeine addict I have become. As much as I concentrated on relaxing, controlling my breathing etc...I simply could not get my limbs to let go of their state of tension. I live in this state of tension to varying degrees. It occurred to me, like a bolt of lightening, that this tension was partly psychological and largely physical. You see, I drink coffee like it's going out of style. How can a body ever relax when it is always hopped up on stimulants? It can't.

For the sake of my kidneys, my heart and my overall health, I decided this would be a good time to quit my addiction. I know from experience that on days when I don't drink coffee (usually the days I have migraines) that I sleep, sleep, sleep. Since I'm not at work, I thought this would be a good time to kick the habit and do what I needed to do to get my body back to a new normal. (I have been drinking coffee every day since college and have no idea how to function without it.)

I decided to wean myself slowly and start with only a half a cup. Compared to what I normally drink, that is pretty radical. It is my vacation, though, and I didn't want to spend the day with a caffeine headache.

I felt weird, all spinny and dull, but it was tolerable. Until I went to the post office. The post office had sent back one of my books that I had shipped out to a customer. The label on it said the package was too heavy, over 13 ounces, and needed to be sent directly from a Post Office. This made no sense, my book is 12 ounces and I ship them out all the time. I thought it was a mistake and would get it sorted out and send out another book. The exchange with the post office guy went someting like this:

Me: "Hi, I got this package back. I send them out all the time so I don't understand why. It's 12 ounces right?"

(He weighs the package) "Yes, but you have the wrong postage on it. It's 10 cents more."

Me, confused: "Oh, ok. I guess I forgot to put a second 10 cent stamp on it." Pause "I could have sworn that was the right postage."

Him, sarcastically: "It was, last month. The postage went up in MAY!"

This is when the woman working next to him breaks out into "what an idiot" laughter and just keeps laughing. Apparently, the fact that I didn't know this is so ridiculous and funny, she can't control herself.

From that point on, I assumed the posture of my 6-year old self being tormented on the playground. I barely spoke a word as he told me over and over "It changed over a month ago. Yep, it went up 10 cents in May, that's over a month ago..." and on and on. I rushed to my car after paying him 20 cents and was able to hold back the tears until I got in the driver's seat.

I cried all the way home. I mean cried. Ugly cry. Not just a tear or two.

This may sound strange, but I knew it was the lack of coffee pulsing through my veins that made me so vulnerable. There is a wall of confidence and energy that coffee gives me. Had I had my normal dose of caffiene that day, my reaction to the post office people would have been either a passing annoyance or great amusement at thier superior attitudes about a 10 cent stamp. Without my coffee wall, I felt raw, vulnerable and stupid. I had trouble recalling my worth and was a 34 year old version of my child-self. The only thing that kept my head above the despair in my chest was knowing that I felt this way because of was withdrawing my crutch.

Since then, I have been listening to my thoughts and observing them. I have watched enough "Celebrity Rehab" and "Intervention" to know that a person trying to kick an addiction often thinks thoughts that are not really their own, they are the thoughts of the addiction.

Things like:
"Is it worth losing your quality of life for this? Let's say drinking caffiene does have a negative effect on your body--is it worht this? Wouldn't you rather die earlier than live like a zombie?"
"All of the women on your mother's side are lethargic. You get it from them. Of course you are adicted to a stimulant! You need caffiene just to function like a normal person."
"You will never be able to do a good talk again without coffee to pump you up."
"You will never feel passionately about anything again. Without coffee, you are bound to a life of mediocrity."
"Everyone has a vice. This is yours. What's the big deal?"

Pretty bpowerful stuff, huh?

I will admit, the adict thoughts make sense to me. Why bother with this? I'm not going to pretend I'm committed to this. I don't really know how important this is to me. I'm still working it out. Today, I had a half a cup. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I'll let you know how it goes...I just hope the days of coffee tears is over--that was annoying!

1 comment:

Dragonfly said...

Good luck!! I have cut down myself this year...I remember once going cold turkey and getting a frontal headache. The idea of getting withdrawal scared me into cutting down drastically.