Friday, May 15, 2009

A Note About Caffeine

I need it.

I need it right now.

If I had a twitter feed, I'd probably spend the day typing "I need REAL coffee!" over and over and over. I suspect nobody in the Twitterverse needs that.

Three weeks ago I swore off caffeine.

Caffeine aggravates heartburn. I hate heartburn. Heartburn friggin' hurts. I've had to change my diet or suffer the consequences. I don't like the consequences.

My wife can't have caffeine either. So she normally drinks decaf coffee and has for a long time. Three weeks ago we stopped buying both decaf for her and regular for me and just went with the decaf. It's Folgers, so I don't notice a difference in flavor - though I do think it smells just a little different when it's brewing, not as good.

I drink a lot of coffee. I have for years. I was in the Navy, where we'd sooner do without food and oxygen than coffee and caffeine.

But I just can't do that any more.

The withdrawal symptoms have been unpleasant: lack of alertness, headaches, and I had a hard time concentrating for the first week. People noticed. I left a few online comments in various places that looked a lot like they'd been typed by a monkey with a head wound and decided I'd probably better not comment much anywhere for a while. I seemed to be past it though, now, mostly. However, this morning it's cold and raining and dreary and I hurt all over. I've got a pounding headache and I feel like some invisible force is squeezing my eyeballs in a iron fist.

Decaf just is NOT cutting it this morning, Kids.

I feel like a strung out heroin junkie. I caught myself rummaging through the cupboards hoping maybe, just maybe, I'd find a forgotten stash of Kona beans or some Blue Mountain Dark Roast behind the flour and olive oil. Hell, at this point I would settle for a two day old cup of endlessly boiled Navy midwatch sludge or whatever fell out of the back end of Juan Valdez's burro. No such luck.

I'm going to go take a boiling hot shower and a couple caffeine-free Excedrin and see if that helps.

Back in a bit.


  1. I have a little coffee mill so I can grind my own beans. Probably need to replace it, though.

    Oh. Sorry. The last thing you need to hear about right now is probably fresh-ground coffee. It's a real perker-upper.

    Wait, that's not helping either, is it? Sorry.

  2. I feel your pain.

    I'm still drinking the full-test, but I suppose it's only a matter of time until I have to quit, too.

    But I will procrastinate that time for AS LONG AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

  3. I'm closer, I can go down and kill Eric if you want. :D

    Though, you know, I don't drink coffee at all. :p

  4. I understand your pain, after I passed my first kidney stone, I gave up my mucho diet coke a day addiction, the withdrawl sucked, but I survived, and the headaches were nothing on the stone.

  5. I've been there, Jim.

    You can do it. I now only drink teas (wherein caffeination is slight at best).

    But I used to drink 4-6 pots of coffee. A day.

    While it made me productive, it also made me irritable and jittery.

    Hang in there.

  6. You probably should have gone the gradual withdrawal route and blended half caf & half non for awhile, instead of cold turkey.


  7. You do know that there's a demonstrated connection between lack of REAL MAN'S coffee and reverse-puberty, don't you?

    (Eric, if you drive up here real quick I'm confident we can take John together. Although he knows all that martial arts stuff---better bring swords with you.)

  8. Jim, my grandmother went through that about 20 years ago. She was miserable for about two weeks.

    Worst withdrawal symptoms? Not nicotine, but going of Paxil. I spent two full days thinking I was going to die.

    Make sure you're drinking plenty of water to help flush your system.

    And I'm pretty sure beating up Eric and Nathan will make you feel better as well.

  9. I switched to tea last year, and found that to be a decent compromise. And then there's all that vague research-like stuff that may suggest it could actually be healthy to drink it. I did notice that the subjective quality of the caffeine is quite different-- I didn't get the quick fix feeling and I felt withdrawl cravings for a while, but I noticed that I didn't get crashes, either.

  10. Caffeine's supposed to affect migraines as well. Any difference there?

    And you're better off without coffee (says the non-coffee drinker unctuously)

    Good luck.

  11. Sorry. I won't be much help here. Don't drink coffee and tea, but have a coupla Cokes a day. Spending around three hours a day driving back and forth, I don't want to deal with falling asleep at the wheel and all that.

    Does depress me that if I go without a Coke that I feel crappy and get headaches and am miserable to be around. Normally I'm just miserable to be around, without the bad effects on moi. No fun.

    Dr. Phil

  12. psst Anne, caffeine is sometimes used to alleviate migraines. So if he notices anything, it will be in the other direction.

  13. And that, your Honor, was the last message we had from him before the killing spree.


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