My Week Without Coffee: From The Diary Of A Caffeine Addict

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My name’s Caitlyn and I’m a self-confessed coffee addict, it is my drug of choice. It’s my first thought when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. Coffee, coffee, coffee. Lorelai Gilmore could be my mother.

Starting the day on the right foot requires starting it with a hot cup of coffee. I am not a morning person and you wouldn’t want to bump into me without caffeine pumping through my veins, hence why I have decided to do my coffee detox during the intra-trimester break. I think it’s time to start googling if Coffeeholics Anonymous is a thing.

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Before I start this detox, it might be helpful to give you some background on my caffeine drinking habits and why I have decided to try and give up coffee for the week.

In my eyes, my coffee consumption is normal- I drink three cups a day, sometimes four depending on my workload. Those three to four cups are not barista made beverages either and most of the time I’m drinking Moccona Medium Blend as after all, I am a poor Uni student and the price of lattes now is becoming ridiculous.

So why, oh why have I decided to quit and put myself through what I foresee as an absolute nightmare and something I’ll most likely regret in 24 hours? 

The challenge – I want to challenge myself. 

No one thinks I can go a week without coffee. Not my family, not my friends, not even my editor thinks I will make it.

A small part of me is concerned I have become too heavily dependent on this magical elixir and need to give my heart and my brain a bit of a break. 

An article published by TIME in May 2017 examines the pros and cons of drinking coffee and the potential downside of becoming too dependent on caffeine.

Regular coffee drinkers who opt for a caffeine detox will often experience headaches, irritability and fatigue- withdrawal symptoms likened to those coming off addictive drugs.

Great, I better keep the Pandaol at arm’s length.

So, what could the benefits of a coffee detox possibly be and why did I think it was a great idea in the first place?

According to the website Caffeine Informer, there are several benefits gained from a coffee detox.

You will save money, sleep better, decrease your anxiety levels and boost your mood.

Well, I could do with some more sleep and lower anxiety levels…

…but I really don’t think this detox is going to alter my overall coffee consumption.

I’m already anticipating that first cup of coffee in a week’s time.

Okay, wish me luck!

Day One: Denial

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As per usual, my first thought waking-up was coffee. It’s Sunday, the day of the week where I spend the morning in bed with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. Except for this week, I’ve (stupidly) decided to give up coffee. Why did I decide this was a good idea again? The coffee jar was taunting me as I walked into the kitchen, within my reach right next to the kettle. This is going to be a long week.

By midday, I’ve already had two cups of tea (though I’m going to say three as I put two teabags in my second cup) and I feel sluggish already- I could easily go for a nap. Each time someone mentions coffee my heart stings a bit. 

By 4 PM my energy levels are drastically low. I can’t concentrate on the book I’m reading any longer and wind up falling asleep and having a 2-hour nap- I’m like a child who’s crashed after eating too much sugar at a birthday party. I never nap. 

Why am I doing this again?

Day Two: Pain & Guilt

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It’s day two of my detox and I’ve woken up thinking of coffee yet again. I’m very tempted to just inhale the aroma straight from the jar without actually drinking it. Today is going to be a struggle as I have a fair bit of work that needs doing and coffee is usually my saviour and the thing that keeps me going. I wonder if I’ll crash again and need another nap…I’m not going to rule it out.

It feels like I’m going through a break-up, only that break-up is with coffee. I’m becoming bitter and resentful towards anyone I see sitting at the café enjoying their afternoon caffeine hit. This is painful. I wonder if there’s a rehab for people detoxing from coffee because it’s a ‘Girl, Interrupted’ type situation unfolding in my house right now. 

Day Three: Anger & Bargaining

Last night I dreamt about coffee. I had a dream that someone gave me a latte I couldn’t refuse and the challenge was over- I was a free woman! Then I woke up.

I started the day drinking a hot cup of tea, hoping that it might give me some of the energy I am missing from my caffeine hit. I was fooled once more. At least I’m getting some caffeine, I guess. There’s no way I could go cold turkey and deprive myself of all caffeine- that would prove a danger to me and for those around me. As one of my dear friends pointed out to me today, I am not me without my coffee. She was, of course, making an association between me and that Snickers commercial featuring Betty White. 

I don’t know if I’m going to make it through until the end of the week. My brother keeps trying to bargain with me, telling me if I stick it out until Sunday he’ll shout me a large coffee. I didn’t anticipate it would be this difficult- I’m clearly more dependent on coffee than I initially thought. I always thought my need for coffee was more psychological, and that it was only in my head that I couldn’t live without it. But now, I’m starting to wonder if my body does physically need it. I’ve never felt exhaustion quite like this. By the time the mid-afternoon hits I’m back in bed and ready for a nap. I went to bed tonight with a terrible headache- the lack of coffee is starting to catch-up with me. Gross.

Surely, I’ll start to feel some of these ‘amazing’ detox benefits tomorrow…  

Day Four: Depression, Reflection and Loneliness

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One of my greatest fears in life is a world coffee shortage, like legit. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. 

I have now officially passed the halfway mark in my week without coffee, so it seems fitting that day four be a day for reflection.

In all honesty, I am feeling quite down this week and I think that’s because coffee is my go-to when I’m feeling stressed. While some people tend to avoid caffeine when they’re feeling anxious, I find drinking coffee keeps me calm. I’ve been very irritable this week, even finding myself getting into bed in the late afternoon to have a nap and avoid doing work. I am a completely different person without coffee.

I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint anything positive about this detox, however, I will admit that my sleep cycle has changed for the better. I often drink coffee in the late afternoon or early evening, something that is generally discouraged by doctors everywhere as caffeine consumption during this time should be minimal to ensure a good night’s sleep. I’m a night owl when it comes to getting work done and find myself more productive in the later hours, hence why I will sometimes indulge in an evening cup of Joe. However, since I have not been drinking coffee at night (or at all) I’ve found my sleeping schedule has altered and I have been sleeping solidly through the night. But like I said, it’s the only positive thing to come out of this detox.

Day Five: (Not) The Upward Turn

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Ah, day five! The end is near, praised be! 

Am I feeling energised and refreshed by this detox? Absolutely not. I feel awful, and am struggling to see how anyone thinks there’s an upside to cutting out coffee from your diet. Yesterday I went to a café for an interview and was surrounded by people enjoying their afternoon pick-me-ups. I stared at them with much envy- why can they drink their coffee and I must be deprived of it for another three days?! * insert temper tantrum here * The temptation to give-up early was strong and I almost caved. But I will make it to Sunday! Hopefully…

It’s almost 3 PM and I’m very close to giving up this challenge. I’m on my laptop trying to do work and I can barely keep my eyes open, which is ridiculous because I’ve been getting adequate sleep. I’m currently googling ‘highly caffeinated beverages that aren’t coffee’. Someone help me.

Day Six: Reconstruction and Working Through

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This nightmare is almost over and I can smell the coffee.

This morning has been dreadful- due to a faulty smartphone that needs repairing, I am travelling on the early morning service from my hometown back to Melbourne. Usually, these cold, early morning starts are made easier with a hot cup of coffee but not today. The forecast for the city when I arrive is raining with squally winds. A cup of coffee would be so warm in my chilly hands. Ugh. 

Last night I had another headache and was slightly nauseous- whether the latter is a result of no coffee I’m not entirely sure, but it’s a possibility. My eyes feel heavy despite the increased amount of sleep I’ve been getting and I’m finding it hard to stay awake on the train. I hope I don’t miss my stop. 

Working through this week has been much tougher than I predicted. I’ve gone without coffee before, sure, but not to this extent. I didn’t realise I would be this exhausted (both mentally and physically). I don’t think this detox is going to alter my future coffee consumption- I really don’t…

Day Seven: Acceptance, Hope and Final Thoughts

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Today is the day, the day that this awful detox ends!

I honestly don’t remember the past week, probably because I was asleep for a lot of it.This week has been such a challenge, and I’ve almost given up several times. So, am I feeling amazing and refreshed? Would I recommend this detox to any other coffee addicts? Has this detox been anything other than a waste of my time?

So, am I feeling amazing and refreshed? Would I recommend this detox to any other coffee addicts? Has this detox been anything other than a waste of my time?

No, no and NO. 

Was there any upside to this crazy exercise?

I will admit that my sleeping did improve and I felt more well rested when I woke up each morning. Perhaps I will think about ditching my late afternoon cup of coffee for a better night’s rest after all. 

I also lasted the full week, much to the surprise of myself and those around me. 

Will this change my overall caffeine assumption?

Highly doubtful. I’m certain I’ll be back to my usual caffeine fuelled-self tomorrow morning! 

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