Monday, April 21, 2008


I gave in and I felt shame.

For six years I was caffeine free. From 2001 to 2007, decaf coffee all the way. I was not encumbered by my cravings, no longer a slave to my addictions. I was free.

And like Prius drivers everywhere (not inclusive of, but a shout out to the brain tail nonetheless), I was pretty smug about it too.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with coffee these last odd 30. When I first started drinking it at the age of 12 (might have stunted my growth, but I’m a swarthy 5’2” and okay with it) I embellished my joe with 1.5 spoonfuls of sugar, and enough milk to give my beverage a caramel hue. One day, we ran out of milk (yeah, on a dairy farm. We didn't drink the stuff.) and I was forced to drink without its creamy goodness. I came to like my coffee that way and soldiered on without it. Not long after, I wondered what would happen if I ran out of sugar? (I thought these things at the age of 12, didn’t you?) How could I possibly drink my coffee? Panicked at the thought of no coffee, I determined to acclimatize myself to my morning java with no sugar. Not bad, not bad. So currently, and for almost ever, I have consumed my coffee “Black, no sugar”.

Coffee without caffeine? What’s the point you ask? Isn’t that like O’Douls? I had decided to try the Atkins diet in 2001 and was strongly encouraged to not consume caffeine. So 30 years after quitting on the milk, and having eschewed the sugar, I decided to see if I could manage life without caffeine.

Detox was an effing nightmare. I can now speak to what heroin addicts must experience without the itchy blood. Bring on the methadone. I remember getting up at 2am from my little cistern in hell, deciding I couldn’t bear the headache anymore and I started a pot of coffee. I stopped myself and after a week of headaches, severe fatigue and irritability, I was caffeine free. Can you hear little angels alleluiaing in harmony?

It was a delight to wake up each day and not need to have a cup to ward off headaches. Others painstakingly made their way to Starbucks to get their small, medium or large fixes (I still refuse to call anything venti or tall or whatever – its my method of rebellion. My daughter, who has espoused the language, views me with contempt).

It’s harder to live in a caffeinated world than you would think. If you went to a friend’s house for breakfast, you’d have to bring your own. Restaurant decaf tasted like hot water. Then came the marvelous iced coffee craze – outlets never added a decaf selection – you had to ask for it to be made specially. It would take longer for them to make and like asking for extra pickles on a whopper, I was certain they spit in it.

But aging takes its wretched toll; I’d wake up numerous times in the night, sleep patterns were interrupted and afternoons were spent trying to avoid and/or recover from my 3pm crash. Imperceptibly and in total denial, the masculine siren lured me back into his loving arms and on November 27th 2007, I surrendered and sank back into the dark.

The dark world of black no sugar.

1 Comment:

lace1070 said...

Welcome back ~ coffee rocks! It's the only thing on my mind first thing in the morning. Working as a barrista in college gave me a greater appreciation for the process of roasting coffee beans ~ the difference between a light and dark roast? The light roast has more caffeine!

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