How to Quit Coffee and Other Addictions, a Personal Experience

Having conquered my bad eating habit and having lost thirty pounds in the process, I was feeling good about myself. However, at back of my mind I knew that I still had some addictions to face. My coffee drinking habit is one of them. It is an obsession and it sucks. I had all the signs of coffee dependency. I drank daily for twenty-one years. Every morning when I wake up at 5am, my body immediately signals for coffee. I was among the first to knock on Starbuck’s door for a large cup. This cup follows me on my way to work and it keeps me company throughout early morning. By office break time, which comes at noon or 2 pm, I am rushing out for a second cup.

Coffee is often used to mask fatigue and ward off sleep. The problem is that without the expected prop up from it, people feel more fatigued. Soon it becomes a cycle of high and low energy engineered by coffee power.

So, what made me quit?

One Saturday morning, I wandered into a food store to buy groceries. The store has one of those free automated blood pressure measurement machines. I sipped down the rest of my coffee, sat down in front of the machine, rested my feet on the weight scale bar beneath and submitted my left upper arm to be squeezed. In less than a minute, my blood pressure, weight and pulse values were displayed on the screen: My Blood pressure and weight were normal but my pulse or heart beat was high. I blamed that on my chronic coffee drinking habits. Moreover, my coffee stained teeth weren’t a comforting sight either. Now, I had enough reasons to give it up.

Coffee might not be nearly as addictive as alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or gambling, but shaking off any addiction must start with a resolution in the mind. We often forget the depth of human willpower. Learning how to develop a strong willpower that will help you combat your addictions takes patience and practice. Begin by taking responsibilities of the choices you make. Then continue to take control of your life and actions in a way that serves your need. No addiction is impervious to breakage. When the mind is made up, the body follows. When I made up my mind to stop drinking coffee, I did so completely and in total. I do not believe in the gradual reduction as preached by other experts in the field. I wanted my penance all at once.

The Hallmark of Addiction

The hallmark of craving is the revolting bodily response a subject goes into when they attempt to stop their addiction. Have you seen infants go through weaning from breast-feeding? They scream, they fuss and they go on hunger strikes. But they eventually give it up if the mother remains resolute. Anybody who attempts to quit any of their addictive habits suffers a similar fate. Bodily reactions upon withdrawal may include headache, nervousness, fatigue, and agitation, a feeling of abandonment, depression and even suicidal ideation. The more addicting the item is, the more violent the withdrawal symptoms are. My experiences were comparable to those of others who stopped.

The night came and the morning broke. Upon awakening, my body signaled for a large cup of Starbucks coffee. I ignored it. Twelve hours later a throbbing headache descended on me with vengeance. It pounded my head for hours. Nothing could stop it. 600 mg of Motrin was not making dent on it. The headache clutched my temporal and frontal scalp tightly. I held off. I was not going to give in. It was not until the third day that my headache began to subside. Fourteen days have gone by since I last tasted a cup of coffee. The headache is gone and my body has stopped craving. I still have the occasional urge, but the thirst is so feeble that I can quench it with the stomp of my foot. Another prominent aftermath of my withdrawal was a loss of focus, especially in the first week. I have since regained my focus and mental balance.

Replacing my early and late cups of coffee with bottles of water, as well as having breakfast at home, helped in my effort to quit.

Even though, coffee is marketed as an antioxidant, people hardly drink it because of that property. It’s proclivity for addiction far outweighs its benefits as an antioxidant. I prefer to get my antioxidants from other non-addictive natural food sources such as vegetables, grains and fruits.

To read about how I quit all my bad food habits and how you too can do the same and regain your health, check out my latest book: How Broccoli Head Lost Thirty Pounds, A Handbook to Healthy Living.


Leave a Comment