A Few Thoughts on What Happened When I Quit Coffee

I’ve noticed something very interesting since I gave up coffee five weeks ago.

I better clarify that statement; I do drink coffee but nowhere near what I used to. When I say I gave up coffee, I did.

I stopped cold turkey one morning and went two straight weeks without a sip.

Then, after a series of personal accomplishments, I treated myself to an Eggnog Latte. Just the fact I treat myself these days is a huge improvement.

Since then, I have a cup about once a week…as a treat, a reward.

But I’m picky about that cup of Joe I consume.

It has to be frothy, chocolatey (or close to it), hot, sugary (I know, that’s not too healthy, but I have the barista use skim milk and hold the whipped cream—works in my head anyway), and most times, the barista does their creative gig on the head of my drink.

Like last week, there was this cool design of a cup with what looked like steam floating up.

How do they do that? I asked. She told me they watch a lot of YouTube videos. Cool.

Anyway, I noticed a few very profound changes in my psyche since I quit drinking coffee every morning.

Oh, and how much did I use to drink?

In my last vocation, law enforcement, I’d slam a whole pot of coffee before work.

Another three to four large cups through the night. So my coffee intake in a 24hour span was close to, if not more than, two pots of coffee. That included all the sugar and cream that went into it.

So, since I’ve quit…ahem…cutback, here’s what I’ve noticed…

  1. Headaches. I used to eat Advil like they were Tic Tacs. My head constantly hurt. Now granted there was mind-boggling stress involved from 9-1-1 calls to relationships failing. But the caffeine really jacked with my physical health. Later on, I noticed I had the jitters later on in the evening. I did my best to conceal it then. Once I stopped the coffee, I had a 24hour headache that was near the migraine level, but after that first day of quitting, I was fine. No more headaches. No more jitters. Only time I have a headache now is if I’m ill or don’t get a good night’s sleep.
  2. Sleep! I worked nights. That right there is detrimental to healthy sleep, which is key to a healthy life. But, I trashed my sleep with coffee, two pots of the stuff! For almost fifteen years, I rarely got more than six hours of sleep any one night. If I slept eight hours, it was because I was sick. And that occurred more and more the closer I got to retirement. Most days though, I slept three to five hours, even on my days off. I just couldn’t sleep. I remember the last year of my career; I used to wake up with my guts quivering. The only way I could stop that sensation was to hit a cup of coffee. Since I quit coffee, I sleep soundly. I can’t remember a better night’s sleep as an adult. I have more energy throughout the day when I get a good sleep. I feel healthier, and my guts don’t quiver anymore.
  3. Moods. I notice that when I have a cup of coffee, I feel up and seem to have this feeling that my plans are going to work out. But nothing in reality has changed. It’s like a false sense of all is well. Now that I don’t rely on coffee, I’m more aware of those times when my emotions swing during the day and make adjustments. With caffeine in my system all would be going good, but then as the caffeine wore off, I’d get irritable and would just allow that emotion to control me. With NO coffee flowing in the veins, I’m more of the master of my emotions without the vast highs and dips with mood swings. When something unexpected happens that’s not pleasant; I don’t knee-jerk a response like I used to and can quietly reflect on the best course of action. I don’t have the internal anxiety over such things as I did in the past.
  4. Anxiety. This could be stuck in #3 above. After the fourth cup of coffee, I would get anxious. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was like a little spin wheel that would get ramped up inside me deep down. Without the coffee swimming in my veins now, I am by far more at peace inside than ever before.
  5. Not only feel better but look better. Aging has its way with all of us. That process is quickened with certain substances we consume and put into our bodies. Like it or not, caffeine is the legal speed. Ever see those photos of people hooked on meth after five years? That’s the extreme example of the aging process, but I do notice that since the coffee stopped, so did the dark circles under my eyes. Maybe it’s just me, but I can tell the difference in the mirror.

I realize that there are two different arguments on the effects of caffeine, but like any other research out there, one can spin the numbers and data to suit their interests, or in this case, consumption.

Yes, the negative drawbacks are some of the above I’ve mentioned. Then there’s the hypertension, heart disease, bleeding disorders, diabetes, IBS, and osteoporosis; to name a few.

Now then, on the flip side, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a finding in August 2018, that there’s potential evidence that coffee drinkers may outlive non-coffee drinkers by ten years!

That certainly will help the coffee drinking cause for sure!

Well, I hope the cutback on the coffee doesn’t ruin another ten years for me.

In the meantime, I must say, I appreciate the deeper and better sleep, and the more level emotions these days. All in all, it seems to be a better quality of life lately.

And, maybe I shouldn’t be too worried about the extra ten years it can add; I’d rather have a better quality of life anyway.

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Posted by Christian Martin Jr.