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Resilience: Kicking an Addiction

September 16, 2010

Ceasing an addiction is SO VERY DIFFICULT.  In order to succeed, I think you really have to want to do it.  It has to be on the heels of a transformative experience – you know, one of those experiences that causes you to sit back and take a good hard look at your life.

I’m trying to stop with the coffee.  Not caffiene – but coffee. It’s been the bane of my existence since my early teaching days back in the mid 80’s.  That’s where it started actually, with that horrible Folger’s type of brewed coffee the school provided.

There is so much evidence out there that coffee just isn’t that good for you, though, if you look. Some researchers contend that coffee is good for you.  I would question that assertion.  I also wonder who is paying for those studies.  I know it’s not as harmful as say, cigarettes or cocaine or meth or something like that, but are we sure about that?

“just one caffeinated drink – whether it’s a soft drink, caffeinated tea or coffee – will put your body on the caffeine rollercoaster. When you consume caffeine, the drug begins its effects by initiating uncontrolled neuron firing in yourbrain, according to Stephen Cherniske in his book, Caffeine Blues. This excess neuron activity triggers your pituitary gland to secrete a hormone that tells your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin.”  excerpt from The Hidden Dangers of Caffeine

So while I know that coffee causes me no end of stomach problems, and certainly hypes me up, making me talk like Twitchy the Squirrel from the movie Hoodwinked when I have the caffeinated variety – the plain and simple fact is, I like the taste of coffee.  I like the social aspects of meeting a friend for coffee.   I have no end of emotional attachment to pie and coffee.

Yet, it really torks me off when Starbuck’s refuses to brew decaf in the afternoon (isn’t that when most people want decaf?)  and insist instead on giving you a decaf espresso drink? Think there’s more caffeine in that?  You bet there is.  A few years back Starbuck’s was in hot water for spiking their tea products with extra stimulants, so I don’t put anything past them. They are as bad as the cigarette companies when it comes to addicting people…..  and when coffee houses in general started charging about $4 for lattes.  Another good reason in the ‘quit’ category.

So, how can I go about this in the most successful way possible?

The first part, I”m finding is behavioral.  I have to stop habitually going to coffee houses.  There are enough tea houses in this area that if I really want a suitable place to get out and visit with my friends, a tea house will suffice.  And, I can start limiting my coffee intake at home, by being really really disciplined, and making a smaller pot of coffee the night before, setting the automatic brew feature on my pot.  Maybe I should get one of those “coffee for one” setups.

The second part has to be mindfulness.  I have to be attentive to the way I think about coffee, and the way I treat coffee.  Think of all the money I would save if I do not drink it at all.

And the reason I’m putting it out there for you all to bear witness to?   If you all know about it, then I HAVE to hold myself accountable.  I don’t want one of you to catch me drinking coffee now that I’ve told you I’m trying to quit.

Have you ever tried to quit an addiction?  How did that go?  What was successful for you?  I’d love to hear what you experienced.

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