Quitting coffee

I’ve made the decision to start eating better.  The timing of this decision is coincidental – I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions.  But it’s time to make some refinements to my daily practice in the interest of self preservation.  For the bulk of my adult life I’ve gotten away with treating my body like a wood chipper / garbage disposal.  But in my 40’s the engine seems to be breaking down a bit more frequently and it’s time to switch to premium fuel, my engine doesn’t run well on cheap gas anymore .  That means a whole lot of things are getting moved to the “do not eat” list.

For some ungodly reason I’ve chosen to include “coffee” on that list.  The decision was a tough one – I *LOVE* coffee.  I’ve used it like a drug ever since freshman year at college, when I first started incorporating it into my morning routine.  I didn’t even like the taste back then, I just liked the effect it had on me – with coffee I was amped up, faster, sharper, etc.  Over time I actually grew to appreciate the taste, and became more of an aficionado of finer blends, graduating from street trash to pharmaceutical grade.  I loved the stuff so much I even joined a bicycle racing team sponsored by Starbucks!  Coffee is everywhere in the house of Lockhart.

But things have gotten out of hand.  As my tolerance for caffeine increased, so did my intake rate.  One or two cups a day?  Hah!  Try one or two cups an hour…  Over the past 20+ years, I’ve gotten to the point where I probably drink equal amounts of coffee and water in a day.  Totally hooked.  And totally stressed out.  Ugh.

Last week, I began to wean myself off it.  I went from 8 cups a day down to 4.  The next day?  Down to two.  Then one.  Then none.  The timing was horrible in that I’d inadvertently sequenced things to occur at the tail end of the Christmas – New Years vacation break, and my first day back at the office had to happen on only a single cup of coffee.  Ohmyfuckinggod that was a long day – it wasn’t even a busy day, the first day back to the office after a long break is mercifully slow. But for someone going through coffee withdrawals it was even slower, and instead of being peaceful it was painful.

Yesterday was my first day with no coffee at all.  The headaches and general feelings of sickness had reached their crescendo the previous day (the 1 cup day) but my first day “100% clean” was somehow even harder because I didn’t even get to tease myself with a single cup.  Instead, I’ve reduced myself to drinking non-caffeinated tea.  And not just any old tea, mind you.  We’re talking organic pretentious herbal fancy-assed Yogi brand tea.  And when I say pretentious I’m being kind – I kid you not, check out this fuckery:

From the back of the package – “Ingredients: A blend of mountain peppermint and spearmint leaves, tarragon leaves, and the mumbled chantings of a certified tea shaman.”

Made in Portland, Oregon.  Perfect.  If this whole scene wasn’t so blindingly, painfully real I’d laugh and assume it was straight from the set of Portlandia.  I swear to god if I ever get the opportunity to meet the certified tea shaman who chanted at my tea, I’ll slap the shit out of him (her?) until those chantings get clearer.  Hey shaman: maybe if you had a few cups of friggin’ COFFEE you’d wake the fuck up and stop mumbling!

I’ll get through this.  Somehow.


Posted by Brian


  1. When I go off caffine I find it takes a good week for not just the latent caffine to drain away (they measure effect time using a half-life) but for my body’s alterations to the regular dose to un-alter. And then another week to really feel great about it. Although my maximum regular dose is one latte a day, so your experience may be rougher. I’ve known more than one person to kick it after being onthe brink of using drugs to solve sleep issues and when they tried caffine free they were almost giddy about the difference that made.

  2. Hi Brian,

    I came over here from your FB post, as I too have started to wean myself off of coffee. I found myself asking what the hell am I doing this for? I don’t even feel anything from it anymore and I don’t know if I even like it.

    So I stopped altogether drinking it in the morning.

    And what I am doing now is having 2 cups of decaff in the afternoon.

    I am really enjoying the coffee now? And it is something to look forward to in the afternoon, makes me appreciate it more.

    I have also been drinking the Yogi brand tea for quite awhile in the afternoon…..what do you think of the teabag quotes? Some of them are quite goofy, but some of them I actually like.

    Good luck with the changes!

  3. The great thing is, I can feel your caffeine withdrawal emanating from this post.

    I’m still at one americano per day, and it’s almost more of a social thing than anything else. For me, the big move was getting rid of diet colas. Took a couple of weeks, but after that I felt much better.

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