Saturday, January 29, 2005

The great caffeine fade of '05

I remember a Far Side cartoon that showed a guy with a smoking rifle standing over the prone figure of someone he just blew away, while a third character says something like: "That does it! From now on, it's strictly decaf for you!" Ironically, this cartoon was emblazoned on a coffee mug I gave to my father for Christmas.

Well, like father like son, I guess. In an attempt to make New Year's resolution #53 (I will stop flying into homicidal rages) a reality, I have chosen to detox from the insidious clutches of caffeine. This is one tough addiction to beat - I am a hard-core coffee enthusiast. The aroma of a freshly brewed pot of java is enough to make me swoon, and knowing that an invigorating jolt is but a sip away makes me the worst kind of caffeine addict.

I've quit before, and may have to again. It's never easy; life without a morning cup of Joe has often felt like no life at all. There seems to be nothing to look forward to in the morning once caffeine is Xed out of the equation. Life becomes a drag, sometimes literally, and an even deeper depression than is usual for me sets in.

Yet, there is also a palpable quality of fear that informs my relationship to coffee: I know it's not good for me, and have had this knowledge for some time. That hasn't stopped me from consuming the stuff, usually with a massive infusion first thing in the a.m. Not that I needed that much, but I made a pot, and it was there, so what the fuck? It's as if I had fallen in love with the addiction, and the substance had ceased to be of any true import.

Furthermore, there was the issue of the agonizing headaches that resulted when I hadn't consumed enough caffeine soon enough in the day. This made me very ill at ease, knowing that I was a slave to coffee, that it owned my bitch ass. What if I were to be marooned on a desert island, where there wasn't a Braun 12-cup Brewmaster handy? How long would I last before a lack o'caffeine cranial brainache set in? I have been living in dread of such a thing happening for years. This couldn't go on....

I decided to implement the "caffeine fade," a technique I found somewhere on the Web. The idea is to cut back on one's coffee intake by half a cup per day. Naturally, being me, I didn't follow this plan to the letter. My caffeine fade log:

Wed. 1-12 1 cup 8:30 a.m.
2 Tylenol 11:00 a.m.
1 cup Lipton tea 3:30 p.m.
2 Advil 11:30 p.m.

Thu. 1-13 1 medium cup 11 a.m.
2 Bayer aspirin 8:30 p.m.
2 Tylenol 12:00 a.m.

Fri. 1-14 1 medium cup 7:00 a.m.

Sat. 1-15 1 Diet Coke (can)
1 cup 9:30 a.m.
1 small cup tea 7:30 p.m.

Sun. 1-16 1 cup 8:30 a.m.

Mon. 1-17 1 cup 8:00 a.m.

Tue. 1-18 1 cup 9:00 a.m.

Wed. 1-19 1 cup 9:00 a.m.

Thu. 1-20 1 cup 8:30 a.m.

Fri. 1-21 1 cup 8:30 a.m.

Sat. 1-22 1 cup 9:00 a.m.

Sun. 1-23 1 cup 9:00 a.m.

Mon. 1-24 1 cup 8:30 a.m.
2 Tylenol 10:00 p.m.

Tue. 1-25 1 cup 8:45 a.m.

Wed. 1-26 1 cup 10:00 a.m.

Thu. 1-27 1 can Diet Coke 8:45 a.m.

Fri. 1-28 0 cups

Friday, January 28 - My first day of 2005 sans coffee. Nary a sip. Slight aches in the nogging every couple of hours, but nothing I couldn't handle. I am free! Wish me luck as I attempt to navigate my way through life without any artificial stimulants (and anxiety inducers), and hopefully steer clear of death row for at least one more year.


Blogger MsHellion said...

Are you still allowed to write poetry if you don't have any addictions? Perhaps you will start a new trend in lucid poetry, one to rival the likes of Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk. ;)

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caffeine Addiction - Caffeine Effects and Withdrawal part II

Caffeine addiction shows up when a person cannot stop consuming caffeine in high amounts, causing his/her body to demand the substance and react negatively if that no caffeine is intake. Caffeine may not be addictive in the traditional sense, but the body builds up a tolerance over time; some people find it very hard to function well without at least one cup of strong coffee or tea in the morning. The stimulating effects of caffeine are caused by a central nervous reaction, the heart rate increases, blood vessels expand and the brain receives more oxygen. These caffeine effects can last for up to 8 hours, and once they go off then the body feels extremely lazy and slow as a side effect.

Caffeine addiction can even cause death, mainly because the abuse of any stimulant can cause high blood pressure or and heart problems, so if you abuse of it chances are you put yourself at the highest risk of a heart attack.

You need to be careful with caffeine withdrawal because it affects your overall health and therefore, you need to control your consumption of caffeinated products to prevent your body reactions to caffeine withdrawals. If you need more information about caffeine effects and caffeine addiction symptoms or prevention, please investigate a little further on this topics.

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6:25 PM  

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