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Caffeine Dependence: Ready to Give it Up?

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When I first started college, it was a time before there was a Starbucks on every corner. My Mom never drank coffee so it wasn’t ever at my house.

As I grew more dependent on studying for classes and writing research papers into the latest hours of the night, I became more aware of the International House Coffee commercials that were flooding the television stations.

The marketing worked, I will give them that. The women that drank this foreign drink, to me, were sophisticated, confident and were always being noticed by handsome men. So it was around this time that my love for coffee began.

Now, I could never stomach the poor excuse for coffee that it was, but back then, I purchased a new travel mug and began taking the flavored packet added to hot water in to work with me most mornings. It was weak but it was my start.

Through the years, I moved on to real coffee and developed a taste for the bold, smooth beans that I would grind each morning to get the best coffee flavor. That first sip is always the best.

The way the decorated mug is heavy in my hand. The steam that rises so I can smell it before I can taste it. The rich flavor that warms my mouth, throat and down into my chest leaving me anxious for the next sip.

I like the alert feeling that I get about ten minutes after I start drinking it in the morning. I love how it warms me on a cold day like a favorite sweatshirt. I enjoy the memories that are attached to savoring each sip on favorite vacations.

Still, I know that too much, if any amount, is not really that good for me.

Although I like the taste and how it has become a daily habit, I would like to acquire daily energy without the dependence on a substance. I like how healthy I feel from drinking plenty of water and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

I have managed to find what I believe is the perfect balance for my body. I drink no more than two cups each morning and although I am many days tempted to have an iced coffee in the afternoon for a pick-me-up, I only occasionally treat myself to that.

I have recognized how much I don’t like the hyper and shaky feeling that too much caffeine gives me.

Three times I have been pregnant and have quit drinking coffee, cold turkey. I don’t recommend it and it was not pretty.

The headaches and irritability were severe. Still, from the moment I realized my test was positive I stopped drinking coffee and all caffeine products.

As much as I enjoy coffee, it is crazy that I have given it up three times for more than a year and a half every time. Still, I could never wait to give birth and finish breastfeeding so I could go back to my guilty pleasure.

I always know when I am sick because I don’t feel like having coffee. I don’t get sick often, but this is usually how I first know that I am coming down with something. Coffee just doesn’t sound good in the morning.

I got hit with something bad a few weeks ago that started as the flu and ended with a double ear infection and a bacterial infection. It took me down for more than two weeks.

As I started feeling better and gaining my strength, I wondered if it was a good time to kick the coffee habit since I already had almost three caffeine-free weeks behind me.

But before I could really think about it, my husband asked me one morning if I felt like coffee and without a moment’s hesitation, I answer “Yes,” while nodding my head and grinning from ear to ear.

I actually stood and watched it finish brewing, favorite mug in hand as I waited, teased by the sounds of the coffee maker.

It is hard to give up something that you love.

Edited by Jody Smith

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