I taught myself to drink coffee when I was 16. That is 45 years of drinking coffee. I taught myself to prefer my coffee black. Even 45 years ago I was a practical gal, figuring that sugar and cream were not always available. Back then coffee was always available at every event. If there was a school function, church event, block BBQ, neighbor visit, store opening, shower, reunion or break room - there was brewed coffee at all times. In those days soda was not the ubiquitous beverage it is now. It was a kid drink, pop, and water was out of the tap and rarely the only beverage available. Yes, there was piping hot coffee even if there wasn't any cream or sugar.
My friends, twins Carol and Claudia, had just moved from a nearby town and they were my coffee buddies. After school we would come home and brew a whole pot (Glass pot by Pyrex) for ourselves. And, yes, we also lit up our cigarettes - spending the next several hours in deep discussion. (Those twins later were bridesmaids at my wedding).
When I was 23 or so I realized that I always had a mug of coffee and a cigarette going. I couldn't leave the house without making sure I had a pack of smokes and a mug of coffee. It made me so scared to realize I had to have these props when I'd been a camper an outdoor girl. I'd been proud of my prowess in the outdoors and my 12 years at summer camp. But, no more. Even having two children, I still hadn't quit.
I carried this guilt for 16 more years until I finally gave up smoking. It was relatively easy. It was a great deal easier to quit than to carry around guilt and anxiety for almost 40 years! The time was right and that's all I can figure.
Back to my coffee, I have switched to decaf several times in these 45 years - but I have never gone without coffee even a day unless I was violently ill. Thing is, when I get addicted, I seem to stay addicted. And, I know myself well enough to not attempt to quit anything when I am half-hearted. So, I have not had to struggle with the aftermath of many failed attempts. When I am ready, I usually know it is time. It was time.
Ten days ago I decided to quit drinking coffee. My digestion woes made me skip coffee one day almost 3 weeks ago. Besides falling asleep sitting up it wasn't so bad. M. suggested I should maybe consider quitting altogether, so I did. It has been absolutely painless - she says with great relief. My struggle is one that pops up now and then in the last 6 years - "poor me I am so deprived." That is bullshit of course, because my quitting anything in the past years (smoking, beer, sex, baby showers, convenience foods, carbohydrates, television, refrigerator, etc.) has been about gaining freedom. No props required for enjoyment, movement, conversation, concentration, creativity. This is spectacularly freeing.
Clarification. I had coffee at a restaurant breakfast M and I enjyed the other day. But, I didn't feel like I'd broken my new habit. I didn't quit because of caffeine as much as I needed to quit my dependence on using coffee every day - all day. And, having that restaurant coffee didn't make the next morning any harder - ergo I am still succeeding in altering my behavior.
I must remain vigilant in this goofy culture I am immersed in, so that I don't fall for the lie that I need stuff - must have stuff - must drink stuff. It is also terribly demoralizing to think of the years I was a virtual prisoner of habits. Ten days and feeling oh so good about it.
Cross posted make-a-(sun) plan