The Caffeine Circus Cycle of Fail

I’ve noticed that every once in a great while someone will make a post about caffeine; perhaps ask a question, need reassurance, or maybe even wonder if caffeine is “bad enough” of an addiction to be here, to worry about, etc.

I can’t say that caffeine has been a monkey on my shoulder, but more like an annoying fly buzzing around me. I’ve finally decided to shut the window and go after it with a fly swatter.

So I figured I would create a thread for this. A little bit to report on how it effects me for other people to refer to, give some of my background and thoughts on it, and also to talk about caffeine in general.

I don’t see this as my thread (which is why I chose the ‘Life in Recovery’ tag), and I hope that anyone will feel comfortable posting in it. Post your own thoughts, experiences, etc., have discussions, or even post memes about coffee and tongue-in-cheek jokes about not being able to live without it.

So that’s it. I’m currently halfway through my own caffeine taper and will start posting about that, but I hope others hop in at any time, with whatever they want.

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Definitely will be following this! I probably drink too much caffeine and try to always monitor my intake but I feel like I still over do it frequently.

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I only started drinking caffeine about 8 years ago. I didn’t grow up with it. The occasional Dr. Pepper or two did nothing for me. Like with alcohol, I had a high tolerance right out of the gate. During the height of my drug use, I was taking in over 1600mg of caffeine a day.

Earlier this year I had about 2 blissful caffeine free months before the strangest insanity began in my life and I picked the habit up again. You know, with that all to familiar excuse of, “just for today because I’m dragging and I have to get through”.

But all addiction is a loan you’re taking out on the future, and it was never ‘convenient’ for me to be tired and dragging for a day to pay it back.

Today, I’m staring balefully and blandly at the can of Bang sitting in front of me as I type. It has 300mg of caffeine and a bunch of other shit my body has gotten used to in the process. I went down to one can a week ago. This inadvertently coincided with a drop in the weather, meaning my semi-annual temperature change sickness kicked in along with the exhaustion, headaches, irritability, etc., of depriving myself of the “potent brain and body fuel” listed on the can.

Next week, I’ll go down to half a can because today I’m still feeling irritable, achy, tired, and mentally stuffy. I still feel ‘off’ and this is not a convenient week to amplify that.

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I have the opposite problem. I have almost zero tolerance for caffeine. A small amount in the morning will keep me awake most of the night. The other day I drank 3 cups of caffeinated coffee before volunteering at my local museum. I was so dizzy I thought I was going to pass out. I still drink coffee. It’s decaffeinated though.

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The insomnia I’m currently experiencing is making me wonder if I need to ditch coffee to be successful ditching alcohol.

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Omg. I would 100% wind up in the hospital if I even had half that amount. I guess my tolerance isn’t as high as I think.

On my worst days I will have 600mg between 3 energy drinks but I haven’t done that in a couple of months. It makes me so jittery and horribly anxious. Right now I’m at 300-400mg a day. Usually my preworkout supplement in the morning and then one energy drink in the afternoon and that’s it for the day.

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@No_more_C2H6O Not necessarily a bad problem to have until someone accidentally doesn’t give you decaf! Sorry to hear you nearly passed out!

@Justracey My personal view would be yes. Sleep is part of why I have to stop using it. It messes with my sleep cycle like whoa. Even with everything else, once I started drinking caffeine, I also started taking otc sleep aids. Terrible cycle. You take an upper to wake up, a downer to sleep, and around and around you go. Without sleep, everything feels harder.

@Nordique Oh trust me, I worked up to that level of insanity. I had the ability to take any doctor’s breath away. :laughing: It was the only thing that kept me going during the day. I was taking a crap ton of other drugs at the same time and not really eating. My proclivity to abusing caffeine is what painted the hard line with cocaine though. I like to flirt with stupidity, but I’m not willing to tie the knot. 300-400 is still pretty high. I can see why you would want to reduce.

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Still dragging. Nothing new under the sun, so they say. However, I would venture a guess that part of this was due to my current overzealous decision to rid my life of taking medications too. I cold-turkey quit one and halved another. Not recommended, by the way. Don’t be me. Talk to your health care professional.

But that kind of leads us into an age old question, doesn’t it?

Taper or cold-turkey? (continue under arrow)

At this point, I’m sort of a professional at quitting caffeine and I’ve successfully done it both ways. Taper if you want to slowly suffer over a long period of time, like a voodoo practitioner lovingly sliding each needle into the doll. Cold-turkey if you’re a bloody masochist and you hate the people around you. :laughing:

My choice generally depends on my overall mood. Everyone is different, but for me emotion adds a little bit of unpredictability to my otherwise logically ordered method of thinking. Probably part of where my addictive tendencies have come from. How do I want to feel.

In general though, the choice of which tends to depend on several factors which include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Length of use
  • Amount used
  • Your tolerance acute suffering
  • Reasons for use and for quitting
  • Willpower
  • Relationship to source
  • Life situation

There is no “one best way”. Every person’s situation, body, and psyche are different. You need to know yourself, then create a plan that involves you being 100% honest with yourself.

I’d like to talk about all of these reasons, and probably more, in this thread. Research, discovery, consideration, and explanation is how I process everything. I’m pretty sure I was a hermit researcher in my last life.

Today, I want to focus on one’ relationship to the source of in giving up caffeine because I think it’s an important consideration. Is it just something you do, or is it a passion? Do you have an intricate habit built around it that has some emotional attachment, or is it simply a means to an end.

Coffee was a ritual for me; a beautiful lover that I greeted every morning with a certain amount of excitement. The lightly air-roasted beans jazzed up with a bit of blueberry flavoring from a local shop, the morning grinding of the little pieces of gold, smelling the grounds, the brewing, the scent filling the house, etc. Coffee wasn’t just a means to an end, it was an interest, a discovery, something I was connected with.

Energy drinks, on the other hand, do not hold such esteem for me. In comparison to my beloved coffee, they are little dirty whores I pick up and use without a thought (yes I know this analogy is crude and can be offensive, and yes I will still use it because it creates a literary point). They give me what I need in the moment with a somewhat okay taste that turns sour after the can is finished. I know they often come with nasty additions that I’m sure are turning my insides into some kind of disgusting goo that I’m sure will eventually kill me, but I try not to think about it too much.

It was really hard to give up coffee. Occasionally, I might have the very rare treat that has coffee in it, but I don’t bring it into my house, and I don’t ‘go out for a coffee’. There was a very real psychological barrier I had to work through and that could be very easy to return to. I have a similar, but lighter, connection with caffeinated tea; which, I’ve also all but given up except for the very occasional out of treat.

So, at the moment, I’m drinking energy drinks, and honestly I’m disgusted by them. There’s a love/hate relationship with these little cans of poison. They really are so bad for people, and that knowledge helps me give them up far more easily.

I’ve tried caffeine pills, and they’re not for me. I’ve had caffeine chocolates, and I loved those, but they were far too expensive and I could easily eat too many of them in one go for there to be a long standing use of them.

Admittedly, I used to have a pre-workout supplement that I was very fond of, but the company changed the formula and I never found anything quite like it. I didn’t have a ‘relationship’ with it, as such; but the company probably did me a favor by switching it because of how it made me feel.

The relationship to your caffeine source creates certain neural networks in the brain, certain patterns. You’re getting rid of those too when you quit caffeine, which is why I think this is a very important consideration. Just like when you’re quitting alcohol, you’re cutting out going out for drinks with friends, and adding it to certain events; caffeine can have a similar, if smaller, impact if you’re used to going out to your favorite coffee shop with friends, or cuddling up on the couch with a mug while watching the first snowfall.

Taking a caffeine pill isn’t going to be the same as a coffee aficionado’s loving passion for the bean. Decaff coffee/tea is generally an okay way to go if you still want some of the ritual, but for me it’s just not the same with decaff, so that didn’t work for me.

So for anyone reading this, is your source of caffeine something you’re emotionally attached to, or is it just this thing you do in order not to be a tired monster? I added a poll for fun (you can choose as many answers as you want), but I’d love to read peoples’ thoughts if there are any.

What is your relationship with caffeine?
  • None, I don’t take caffeine.
  • Occasional pick up.
  • Something light to do socially.
  • It’s a cozy ritual I’m emotionally attached to.
  • Motivation for working out.
  • An enthusiastic hobby.
  • A means to an end that I really don’t think about beyond getting it.

0 voters

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I should quit cold turkey. Tapering off never worked well, like controlled drinking. Exhausting and never worked out. I drink too much, often decaf. It’s a habit and I like the taste. It structures my working day and I hate tea.

It sucks.

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I’m emotionally attached to it, it’s a ritual, but also helps to keep my blood pressure in the ’being alive zone’, because I usually have 90/60 and it often drops. I don’t think I will cut it off in the near future, if something I should cut off sugar. Once I stopped drinking coffee for a month or so because I don’t like being dependent and it was pretty good though.

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I’m addicted to caffeine, but not an abuser. I am careful in the amount I consume, 1 or 2 cups of coffee, 1 or 2 energy drinks, 2 or 3 seltzer w/caffeine. About 730mg max per day. Most days it’s around 400mg. As long as I eat regularly, I don’t get jittery or dissociated.

When I quit drinking, I also quit nicotine and caffeine. I was successful for 6 months, until I got a job. I quickly turned to that sweet black nectar to get me going. I started adding energy drinks in the afternoon. And now, I’m drinking caffeinated seltzer in the evenings.

I liked not requiring a drug to function, even one as inconspicuous as coffee. I want to go back, I want to quit.

I want to go cold turkey, and I know the headaches will suck, but it’d temporary. I should just do it, get it over with…

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I quit drinking coffee regularly around 6+ years ago because I could tell it was a trigger for anxiety. I switched to hot tea (caffeinated or decaf, didn’t much matter), which I could have a mug of and not crave more. When I was working I was addicted to coffee and Diet Coke and went through an insane amount each day. I was an emotional mess, too. About a year before I quit my job I started cutting back on coffee and only drank a cup at home before I left for work, never drank any at my desk. But when I quit my job I quit coffee, too, and felt the effects immediately. I don’t really know the different caffeine content between different beverages, but a couple cups of tea a day doesn’t have a noticeable effect and I do enjoy the ritual. I drink far more decaf herbal tea than black or green tea, especially when the weather is chilly. Diet Coke is still an issue for me - I have gone years without drinking any in the past but since I started my sobriety journey I have replaced alcohol with sparkling water and to varying degrees with Diet Coke. I would like to cut it out completely but I’m not there yet (especially since I just stocked up big time). I don’t notice the jitters or anxious feelings after drinking it, but I do stop drinking caffeine at 4 pm latest each day to help with sleep (some say past 2 pm or even noon is better, but I seem to be doing okay with 4)

Long story short - I felt a lot better when I switched from coffee to tea and reduced my caffeine intake drastically back then. I still get to smell it every morning when my husband brews his pot. It’s a lovely fragrance. Good luck to everyone here who want to reduce the caffeine and when I’m ready to kick the Dirt Coke habit I’ll probably pop back in and tell you how it’s going.

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I am a Diet Coke addict, also in early recovery from meth pill abuse (69 days). I find I ‘need’ a caffeine pill (200mg) to get me going and motivated in the morning, then when feeling fatigue around 4-5 in the afternoon I take another.

I guess it’s bad and my psychiatrist certainly doesn’t approve, feeling a stimulant is a stimulant. However, she won’t prescribe me any kind of stimulant for my diagnosed adhd due to me being an addict, so what’s a girl to do?

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Y’know. I dunno if it’s getting sober or getting older or what. But my tolerance for caffeine the past few years has gotten much lower.

I cut out caffeine after lunch a long time ago just to sleep better. Only drinking the stuff in the morning, and if I got tired later I would simply suffer or go to sleep. I swear by this. I may get tired in the evening, but then I sleep, and wake up feeling great again.

But jeez. I’m now very aware I feel trashed if I have even one drop more than 1.5 cups of coffee in the morning. Like, I get caff withdrawal headaches, restless, even upset stomach by early evening. It SUCKS.

A sponsee suggested keeping decaf coffee pods (my thing does pods too). That’s actually helped a lot. I’ll still have my one morning cup, and if I feel like I want anymore I make a decaf instead.

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And left out the big part: Been thinking this month to try drinking only decaf.

I really do still enjoy the morning cup, enough that I’ll have a decaf too. But also, how much is any caffeine really adding at this point when I know any more makes me a wreck?

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I do the same timing almost exactly…I don’t have any caffeine after 4pm and usually it’s a bit earlier. It’s really helped my sleep immensely.

On an unrelated note, the different effect that different forms of caffeine have is interesting to me. Lately I’ve been drinking more energy drinks than coffee because I don’t like the thought of having stained teeth (I recently spent a f*ck ton of money fixing my teeth after neglecting them while drinking).

Usually two energy drinks per day. Maybe 2 cups of coffee per week.

The energy drinks I usually go for have around 200mg per can but one normal size cup of coffee gets me way more wired than one energy drink. Still haven’t figured that one out…I figured caffeine was caffeine lol.

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Yes! Thank you for this thread. I’ve been cutting back on coffee the last week and a half. I immediately noticed the difference. Mostly drinking black tea instead. If I do coffee I’m just having a half cup and that’s it for the day.

Has anyone here used coffee alternatives? I’ve had MudWtr for a while and I like it, but I was mostly just doing half cup Mud in hot water and the other half coffee. I like it on its own though. I just ordered another cacao/mushroom adaptage ln powder to try out as well.

I just feel way less stressed and anxious without coffee. The caffeine in tea is more of a subtle ride and doesn’t bring me up and down like coffee does so I will probably stick with that.

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Same with me and tea or Diet Coke vs. coffee I’d say…I wonder why that is?

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I’ve never been able to figure it out, maybe there’s a caffeine expert somewhere here who can help us out lol

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Really tired today due to lack of sleep. We had to vacate for 24 hours starting this morning because we’re getting new insulation put in and the fumes from the spray foam are toxic. This means finding somewhere to take a very particular 19 year old cat. She saw the travel bag being packed last night and so was very anxious and needy to the point where she kept me up for most of the night.

I stayed up all Saturday night in an effort to try and fix my sleeping schedule–something that always gets completely messed up with caffeine–so as tempting as it was to try and sleep in later this morning, I forced myself out of bed at the appointed hour. It took about 2 hours before I was a real human again. :laughing:

I’ve been a little drowsy all day though, so sleep will be very welcome. For me, it isn’t the headaches, the nausea, the body aches, or any of that which makes caffeine withdrawal hard for me–it’s the lack of energy.

I’ve been fighting the urge to pound energy drinks all day, so I’ll keep it short and sweet today.

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