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.
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.
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
- 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.