Friday, 4 March 2011

Why I ended my love affair with coffee

It started off innocently enough. We would meet up every now and then and enjoy each other's company. I looked forward to these times, just the two of us. The whole world seemed to melt away for a moment in time when we were together. I drank him in and came away from our rendezvous feeling happy, alert and content. At least that's how it was in the beginning.

Over time the rendezvous became more frequent. I couldn't help myself. I had fallen in love. He was a master seducer and promised me the world. He told me he would help me through the day. I believed him. Instead of being once a week, we started meeting more frequently. Soon I invited him to come live with me and our encounters were daily. I convinced myself that he was good for me. I even convinced my husband. But soon it become evident, that this love affair would turn toxic.


Over time I became dependent on my lover. I couldn't go a day without him. Then it was twice a day, sometimes three. If I tried to stop, even for a day, my head would ache, I became tired and I wasn't able to think straight. It was no use, He had control over me. Many times I tried to break up, but he was too strong. He had a hold of me. I was a slave. I was addicted to the highs I got when we were together. I wasn't strong enough to let go.


This love affair went on for 6 years. I tried to break it off several times, but it was no use. I was so addicted that when I tried to say goodbye, I would end up back in his arms. I came to despise him, but I convinced myself I could never live without him. It was a love-hate relationship based on dependency, where he had all the power. His name was coffee.


A few years ago, I cried out to God in a state of darkness and depression and He answered. With His help, I fought depression and overcame this beast that had overtaken my heart. I emerged like a butterfly does from a cocoon and have been learning that I am stronger than I thought I was. When a butterfly comes out of a cocoon it must fight it's way out. It is a battle. Once I was out of my cocoon, I had to learn who I was. I was no longer a caterpillar. I was different. This I knew. But these wings were foreign to me. It was however, who I was always meant to be. I have been learning to use my wings and become all who He has destined me to be.

I have had a long battle with fatigue. I used coffee to get through the day. But guess what? It used me. My twice a day habit of drinking coffee was doing more harm than good. I convinced, myself that coffee was good for me. I told myself that the antioxidants were good for me. I told myself that it made me more alert. And although these things were true, there was also a dark side to coffee. My health was deteriorating. My hormones were out of control and my brain felt like it was constantly covered by fog, except for the brief relief coffee gave me. I hated the idea of being 'owned' by coffee. It dictated my day. I could not go without a coffee morning and afternoon. If we were away from home, we would have to stop for a coffee in order for me to function normally. I was addicted.

This year, God has been enlarging me. Opportunities to write articles and speak to groups of women have emerged. Because of what He has asked me to do on top of homeschooling my 3 boys and being a wife, I found that I needed more energy. This year, 2 cups were not sufficient. My body needed 3 cups to get by. I increased my intake, and noticed that by doing so, my fatigue became worse. I was eating healthy, I run around after 3 boys and was taking supplements recommended by a nutritionist - but I was still tired ALL THE TIME.


I decided to google 'Is coffee healthy' like I had more than a dozen times before over the years. I came across this article and was shocked to read that I had most of the nasty health symptoms that it had described. That was the push I needed. I determined in my heart that it was time to be free of coffee's control.


That was a week ago, and I'm happy to say that I am now starting day 3 of being coffee-free. The weaning process was horrendous. I experienced headaches, irritability and major fatigue. I told myself that it was temporary. Armed with panadol and many litres of water, I pushed through the withdrawal symptoms, where in the past I gave in to them.


The last two days where I have had no coffee in my system have been amazing. I have had more energy than I have had in years. My supplements now have a chance to do their job without coffee inhibiting them. I can think clearer, and I am no longer irritable and cranky. If this is what it is like after just two days, I can't wait until every last bit of the toxin is gone from my body.


I, like most people,were not aware of the hidden dangers of coffee. I loved my indulgence of the beverage, but it came at a great cost. If I am to become the best wife, mother and everything else He calls me to be, than I need my body, mind and spirit to be healthy. And so I ended my love affair with coffee. I won't lie to you - I'm going to miss him. But if it means I can now be all He has destined me to be, than it was indeed worth parting ways.


Goodbye coffee.
It's not you.
It's me.

Still taking lessons from the King,


17 comments:

  1. You are a brave soul.... I have 1 big cup every morning before I start my day.... I am thinking of giving it all up as you are... Ugh!!! Tell me how it goes for you. Perhaps you going first will be the strength I need to follow.

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  2. I enjoyed reading this! I can't handle much caffeine so I drink lattes but mostly decaf. I can understand the addiction though. Do you get to drink decaf ever or is it all or none?

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  3. Two coffee's Jo? Two? Are you for real? Surely you must be talking about 'real coffee' and not instant, right? My tally for caffeine drinks is between 8 and 14 per day :[ How sad is that?

    What do you think about dealing with the caffeine addiction yet and then later on, still being able to enjoy one or two latte's a week?

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  4. Lol. I won't even tell you how much proper coffee I drink, Susan!!!!!

    Well done, Jo. You must feel really pleased. I have no plans to follow in your footsteps any time soon though...

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  5. Great post! Well done! I do not drink much cofee but I do drink a lot of tea! So much caffeine in that too!
    Enjoy your day.
    Hugs

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  6. Jeanne, you have more than me? Wow! And you don't feel any worse for wear? Amazing!

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  7. I really...REALLY...like my coffee. All day...every day.
    I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.

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  8. You are da woman! Yay...and congratulations from me who has also given up the real beans (and all other coffee except decaf!). As you know, I'm going for tea and chai (including lattes) and keeping away from the beans. You are amazing! Let the healing really begin! xoxo

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  9. Oh Jo,
    So proud of you. Wow what incredible week you have pushed through, giving up ANY addiction is tough and can not always bring victory but you have done it YAY. Congratulations.
    you are an inspiration for breakthrough and overcoming the hurdles of life.
    So thankful for our (blogging,twitter) friendship.

    Kristie xx

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  10. Congratulations Jo (from a non-coffee addict):)
    Bold and brave step!

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  11. Really well written, Jo. I loved the way you wrote as if coffee was a person! I'm so glad that you are finding the strength to beat the hold coffee had on you and experience a life with more energy! I've found that I reach for a cup of coffee simply because I like hot drinks! Fortunately, there are a lot of herbal teas with no caffiene to help satisfy that desire.

    Blessings, Joan

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  12. Lol, great post. I am on the same road since for the past 3 months now. Every now and then a drift off looking at the expresso isle, but no, I keep it moving. Blessings friend. Keep it up!

    Dennis

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  13. In Costa Rica, we learned to love it. Back home, we have disengaged. Our coffee cups only snuggle with tea, preferably the green variety.

    Such a joy to visit you today. Thankful for the extra minutes to visit with friends in blogland.

    Be blessed bunches,
    Sarah

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  14. Love this post! Didn't get to read it all cos the family's leaving for church without me and I've gotta run but I'll share it and try to come back later.. love the way you've written it - very entertaining :) Well done by the way on conquering coffee! xx

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  15. Congrats Jo, that is really interesting. I was a bit post-natal with my first who was a terrible sleeper and I didn't relax enough during the day. I had way too many coffee mornings and often wondered if coffee was related. They do say your diet affects depression. Do let us know how it goes long term, because I used to hate coffee and I have at least two a day now plus tea.

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  16. I'm so glad to hear you have given up coffee. I'd like to encourage you to go further, if you haven't already, and give up ALL caffeine. That means all tea, chocolate, cola, "decaffeinated" coffee or tea (not totally caffeine free) and even white chocolate, which is supposedly caffeine free but can and does affect caffeine-sensitive people. And watch out for painkillers with added caffeine!!

    Caffeine most definitely worsens depression, as I've recently been finding out. Especially if your depression is adrenal-related as mine is. I've read that caffeine intolerance symptoms can even mimic bipolar disorder, resulting in some people being put on meds entirely inappropriately. And at least some ppl with genuine bipolar can reduce their symptoms by avoiding caffeine.

    Caffeine addiction/intolerance is surprisingly common, and can cause personality changes which can become extreme - dh becomes irrational and verbally abusive if he has caffeine, and one of our sons also seems affected. My Mum developed a caffeine intolerance, which affected her mood, probably when she was about the age I am now (40s). Around 10 years later, she decided to switch to decaffeinated bc she thought my Dad was drinking too much caffeine. He didn't change, but I got back the mother I hadn't seen for years. Unfortunately those years were my growing up years, and our relationship never fully recovered (she died when I was 30, a few years after giving up normal coffee). Mum had emotional issues, due to her upbringing, but I often wonder now how much of her actual behaviour was caffeine induced. Even off normal coffee she could be unpredictable, and I wonder what might have happened if she had given up caffeine altogether.

    Nearly a year ago I was diagnosed with depression. I immediately gave up all caffeine. Recently my son made chocolate fudge at school for mother's day, so I had just one (2.5 inch!) square. I felt terrible for a whole week :-(

    Please, please, DON'T fall into the trap of thinking you can cope with the occasional cup of coffee! It took Mum months to admit she was actually intolerant to it, and that even one cup as a "treat" was a no-no. In the meantime, the rest of us dreaded the few days after one of her "occasional treats".... One common symptom of caffeine addiction/intolerance seems to be unwillingness to admit you've got it. Before my current problem developed, I decided that if I ever showed any signs of caffeine problems, I would cut it out no question - my children's happiness, and my relationship with them, is far more important to me than that one, "tempting" chocolate button somebody left on the counter. And it really IS that cut and dried - even one mouthful can cause a reaction lasting several days. So remember who initiates temptation.......

    All the best. I've only just discovered your blog, but I'll be back for future visits xxx

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  17. I came over to thank you for visiting Homeschool Circus and for the heartfelt comment you left on the post about my Father. (Thank you!)

    This post hit me smack between the eyes --- and I can soo relate!

    I feel so much better not drinking coffee, but am 'seduced' by it in about the same way you described....I KNOW it's not good for me (especially for my adrenals)...think I need to give it up for good!!!

    I've enjoyed your blog and am following you via GFC and getting your posts via email.

    Have a great day!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo