10 Daily Notes From a Caffeine Addict Coming Clean

Day 1 – April 16, 2016

Consistently pounding headache. Fatigue. Utter sluggishness. Crazy appetite. This is exactly why I am attempting to kick my caffeine addiction. I’ve been wanting to do this for such a long time, and with about 1 month in which to unplug and write (while I search for freelance work nonstop!), I decided this morning that today would be the day. I will continue to write daily about the process, until the day I again feel “normal,” in the hopes that others who also want to detox from their dependence might feel compelled to do so.

For reference, I have always drunk a large cup of strong (intense) coffee in the morning, and depending upon how early I woke up, an additional large cup in the afternoon.

For further reference, I will begin each note in the morning and add to it throughout the day.

 

Wake time: 7:51 AM

Naps today: 1 (1 hour)

Energy level: sloth

Mood: hopeless

Appetite: raging

Bed time: 11:08

 

Day 2 – April 17, 2016

Slept for ages, though I don’t feel it. Even despite my poor energy level and consistently pulsing headache yesterday, I managed a solid two hour walk into the city in the late afternoon; yet the additional exercise seems to have done little to knock me out through the night. This morning especially, I realized that I ought to try substituting coffee with some other drink, albeit a sweet though healthy one; orange juice prevails.

I’ve also realized that without my coffee fix, I’ve lost a considerable amount of my daily sugar intake. With the combination of morning OJ, an apple, and a bag of fresh coconut juice, I predict that not only will my sugar needs be satisfied, I’ll also be making a much healthier step in the right direction long term. My “raging” appetite yesterday has subsided slightly; it’s unbelievable how much coffee and caffeine can stave off long-term hunger throughout the day.

In the morning, my chronic headache was back in full effect; however, throughout the day, it slightly subsided after another long walk. I still can’t seem to fully engage my brain to focus on 1 thing and my muscles ache (not just my legs from walking, but all over). I never thought such a simple substance could have such a serious impact on my body and mind.

Fact of the day: Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. Let that sink in.

 

Wake time: 9:24

Naps today: 0 (mostly due to sleeping late, though I certainly could have used one)

Energy level: old dog

Mood: hopeful

Appetite: larger than normal

Bed time: 11:29

 

Day 3 – April 18, 2016

Starting to feel a change, albeit a slight one. I slept hard throughout the night, and only had a minuscule headache upon waking, though definitely some general pressure throughout the day. My energy level is still pretty rock bottom, though I’ve still managed to push myself out for a 2 hour walk. As my headaches begin to fade, my overall fatigue and slightly cranky mood persist. The most trivial little inconveniences have been bothering me much more than they should. I’m going to go ahead and blame that on lack of caffeine, of course!

My appetite level definitely tapered off a bit today. It’s 10:12 and I can barely keep my eyes open. That is all for today.

 

Wake time: 7:51

Naps today: 0

Energy level: lazy cat

Mood: short tempered

Appetite: normal

Bed time: 10:28

 

Day 4 – April 19, 2016

This morning I needed to get myself up and into the shower as I had an interview online earlier on. Before, when I was working full time/waking up at 5:00 AM every day, a shower was the first thing I’d do after my morning joe. Since I’ve been out of work and trying to make it freelancing, I’ve tended to put off my shower until late morning. I seem to have inconveniently forgotten how alive it can make you feel to drench yourself as soon as you get out of bed! I definitely will be getting back into the habit of that, first thing in the morning. What a difference… at least for a couple hours…

Later on in the day, however, my energy level has continued to diminish like a deflating balloon. My headaches are more or less completely gone, but they’ve been replaced with sporadic bouts of temporary dizziness. I still can’t help but feel much more energy than that of an elderly man.

A night out with some friends is in the cards… will alcohol sooth my caffeine-deprived body? Heh, a guy can wish, right?

 

Wake time: 8:00

Naps today: 0

Energy level: old gorilla

Mood: forlorn

Appetite: normal

Bed time: 1:20 AM

 

Day 5 – April 20, 2016

After a late night out, followed by 6+ hours sleeping on a hard floor, I’m not sure I can blame lack of caffeine as responsible for my physical state today. Nonetheless, it is days like this when I would gladly welcome the coffee gods to come swooping down from the sky, like a gift from the heavens, and seep into every sleep deprived / slightly hungover crevice in my body and mind. It’s become very startling to see how caffeine has fallen into the remedy areas of my day to day life.

This has definitely been the toughest day since Day 1, as I very nearly gave in. Had it not been for the deep 2 and a half hour nap I had upon finally returning to my apartment, I surely would have.

Conclusion thus far: this is far more difficult than I imagined it would be.

 

Wake time: 4:00, 6:01, 7:15, 8:30, 9:00

Naps today: 1 (2.5 hours)

Energy level: zombie

Mood: indifferent

Appetite: hippo (the hungry hungry kind)

Bed time: 12:46

 

Day 6 – April 21, 2016

It actually ended up taking longer than I expected to fall asleep last night. I also woke up considerably earlier than I wanted to. Not only is my lack of caffeine messing with my daytime energy; it’s skewed my resting time also! Something I’ve noticed also the last few days that I forgot to mention is that by late morning, my eyes are getting slightly red; not really burning, but definitely a little tinge to them.

In an attempt to up my exercise game (in the hopes of somehow draining my withdrawal symptoms), today I graduated from long walks to short runs with medium sized walks. I’m hopeful that it will effectively knock me out through the night.

At this point, I can certainly say that although my symptoms are far worse than I expected they would be, I’m skeptical about caffeine’s overall significance. There’s no possible way that caffeine has taken that much control over my day to day affairs; it simply can’t be that influential! I’m quite tempted to have a cup tomorrow, just to see if all of these ridiculous symptoms will go away. Very tempted. Crazily tempted.

Tomorrow, however, will be 1 week.

 

Wake time: 7:46

Naps today: 1 (45 minutes)

Energy level: 3 legged-dog

Mood: skeptical

Appetite: low

Bed time: 10:55

 

Day 7 – April 22, 2016

My added exercise proved effective; knocked out all night long. My appetite was surprisingly way down this morning. Not sure if today’s a bit of a spoof or if this will be a recurring phenomenon.

It’s been a week, though my general sleepiness a few hours after waking persists. I don’t get it. Is this the way most folks normally feel without coffee in the morning? Is this the way I used to feel many years ago, and the reason for drinking coffee regularly in the first place? Regardless of how long I go without coffee, will I always feel such unexplained fatigue and general drowsiness in the morning? Why?! I’m having an existential crisis here.

 

Wake time: 7:49

Naps today: 0

Energy level: chained giraffe

Mood: inquisitive

Appetite: lower

Bed time: 11:55

 

Day 8 – April 23, 2016

I woke up actually feeling nearly completely rested and with no overbearing headache. My appetite has just about leveled out. I have found that it does take a little longer to feel hungry in the morning… but the way my days have played out, eating later actually works better for me. This entire day has fortunately been headache-free, even with a sweltering hour and a half walk through the 100 degree heat of the city. Although slight fatigue has accumulated throughout the day, I feel that the corner has officially been turned.

After yesterday’s utter frustration, it’s good to feel like I might be on the up.

This has certainly been the closest day to “normal” thus far.

 

Wake time: 8:11

Naps today: 0

Energy level: Yorkshire terrier

Mood: pleasant

Appetite: normal 🙂

Bed time: 1:05

 

Day 9 – April 24, 2016

Aside from the fact that I was up watching a movie/drinking, I’m certainly feeling a bit drowsy this morning, though I think had I had a normal night’s sleep, I’d be pretty clear. No headache or pressure ‘round the membrane to speak of.

I managed to push myself for a 2 hour walk and a bit of exercises in my room so energy wasn’t too rock bottom today. My appetite has returned to normal; if anything, I’m actually eating a little less in the morning. My head feels clear, my body much stronger, and my spirit has definitely been lifted from the ashes of that first day.

The battle has nearly been won.

 

Wake time: 8:16

Naps today: 0

Energy level: antelope

Mood: positive

Appetite: normal

Bed time: 11:12

 

Day 10 – April 25, 2016

Craig – 1

Caffeine – 0 (well, to be fair, caffeine technically won the majority of the days… but I won the war!)

It’s a truly liberating feeling to be able to express that today’s entry is my last. Why? Good question… let’s take a look back at that first day:

Consistently pounding headache. Fatigue. Utter sluggishness. Crazy appetite. This is exactly why I am attempting to kick my caffeine addiction.”

After drinking coffee literally daily for the past 5 years, those first couple of days were tough. However, 10 days later and my overbearing headaches are completely gone, my energy level has risen significantly, and my appetite is in check. My head feels almost totally clear and my body strangely calm.

To be completely honest, I genuinely didn’t think I’d follow through with this. Before I began, I imagined what my entries would look like, and even predicted that I’d eventually need to change the title of this article to “10 Daily Notes from A Caffeine Addict Sold to the Grinds” or something like that. It seemed like such a lofty and unattainable challenge to be overcome, which makes me all the more content and confident that I was actually able to pull through and do it.

Will I eventually drink coffee or ingest caffeine in the future? Probably. Definitely. However, limiting it to those very desperate early waking hours, long nights out, or scattered hungover days seems far more appropriate to me than being a daily slave.

So to you, caffeine, I bid adieu… one day you may visit me again; not as a tyrant… but as a friend.

 

Wake time: 8:00

Naps today: 0

Energy level: mustang

Mood: cucumber

Appetite: normal

Bed time: 11:05

__________

Keep pondering; keep wandering.

 

4 comments

  1. Super proud of you for pulling through, Craig. You definitely kicked that one. Maybe green tea could be a replacement?

  2. IF you miss the “coffee ritual” here are a few decaf hacks:

    1) Use good quality decaf (no Folgers).
    2) Use almost twice as much decaf as you would caffeinated for the same amount of water.
    3) Drink it immediately upon brewing–it won’t hold up for even 15 minutes on a hot plate.

    Going on three (maybe longer?) decades caffeine free.

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