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How I Ended My Relationship with Coffee

Photo by jacob chen

Let me just start by saying that I loved my cup of ‘Grande Soy Latte’. But, I didn’t like how it made me feel after the ‘kick’ worn off. I live in Seattle, the home of Starbucks, where coffee culture is BIG, and coffee shops are sprinkled on every street corner. Every day, I walk past seven coffee shops on my short eight-minute walk to the office. Deciding to quit was a personally challenging one, and I am very proud to announce that I’ve been ‘clean’ for 8 months.

Caffeine can be a sneaky little pick-me-up. I hated how it made me feel afterwards and how much I was dependent on it. Here are other reasons why I decided to quit:

  • I was sweating more.
  • I would get nervous for no reason.
  • I would feel dehydrated
  • I felt mentally “numb,” less sensitive to my surroundings, less intuitive and less creative
  • It was hard to truly relax and be calm.
  • Headaches from lack of caffeine.
  • I saw my friend hospitalized from too much coffee on a regular basis.
  • I learned that coffee is highly acidic (I’ll cover acidity and alkalinity in food in another post)
  • Caffeine masks both our true physical and emotional states. Giving my body a false boost of energy made it harder for me to tell what I really needed: more food, more sleep, more calmness?

So, I decided to end my eight year ‘love affair’ with coffee (who I ‘saw’ at least twice daily). How did I do it? The answer lay in restructuring my habits. I started with staying off coffee for two weeks, and then another two weeks, which eventually turned into eight months.

There are four areas I focused on and found replacements for, which helped me part with my coffee addiction:

  • Drink – Replacing coffee with Tea. In the beginning, I drank black tea for two weeks during my ‘transition period’. Then overtime, switching to healthier choices, such as fresh fruit, water with lemon. I now relish herbal tea as a fragrant treat.
  • Thought – Replacing the thought that ‘I need coffee to stay alert’ with ‘I focus on the present moment, and in this moment, I have enough energy in me to stay alert’. The power of attention isn’t limited by what I drink. I am strong and healthy with keen mind.
  • Habit – Replacing the emotional dependency on the act and habit of ‘getting coffee’ as a form of break, with getting up to stretch, getting a glass of water and eating raw almonds. I realized that I was drinking coffee partly out of habit, “Oh look, it’s 2:30, coffee time!” Like any other habit, I just replaced it with a healthier one.
  • Need – Replacing the false energy boost with more awareness and care of my body. I learned to listen to my body more. I found it helpful to ask myself, “What do I actually need right now?“. Often, instead of “I need coffee.”, I found the answers to be: ‘I need water, my body is dehydrated.”, “I need to sleep earlier.”, “I need to take five minutes to close my eyes and regroup”, “I need to get up and walk around.”, “I ate too much at lunch.”

The first two weeks was the hardest. I felt unreasonable tired. But once the two-week period was past, I felt less and less tired, less and less coffee cravings. Also, if you are not able to make this last long term after your first try, don’t be so hard on yourself. My first attempt to quit last year failed after 3 weeks of hard work. But the second attempt worked like a charm.

After incorporating this change into my life, I am seeing significant benefit. I have uncovered my real energy. I feel healthier and I love the freedom away from being dependent on a drink. I’m not trying to lecture you into quitting, but merely to share my experiences with you. If cutting coffee out completely is too extreme for you but you’re still interested, you can benefit by reducing the amount of coffee you drink or gradually replacing it with alternatives I’ve high-lighted from the 4 focuses above.

How does your body react to coffee? What do you do when you are tired? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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67 thoughts on How I Ended My Relationship with Coffee

  1. fgao2

    I read somewhere that coffee is actually good for one’s heart…

  2. tee

    brentons post is absurd

    if you use caffeine you are definitely addicted, it is an extremely addictive substance with addiction secured at very low doses … most people on earth consume it daily

    it is very hard to quit caffeine which modern medicines is now realizing.. most people give up and then rationalize their addiction as not so bad…

    their have been very few quality studies done on caffeine…. things that confound this are the fact that it is very difficult to find people who do not consume it at all so most studies either compare low caffeine coffee users with higher ones or have people stop consuming which then triggers a 2 month withdrawal period that confounds results

    one study done with a religious group on caffeine compared most of its members who dont consume caffeine with the minority that do with all other variables remaining the same found that even one cup of coffee a day increased mortality…which surprised researches…

  3. Siri

    Now that you are free of the addictive effects of coffee, Tina, be sure to enjoy a cup every now and then, Tina. Balance is a wonderful state of being!

  4. sandrar

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  5. mike

    thanks for the article. i am giving it up and am very much looking forward to the benefits. it is hysterical to me how people blog here to “defend” their coffee habit. it reminds me of an alcoholic or heroin addict. i mean, why are they attracted to reading the article anyway and why do they get defensive unless it struck a cord with them. anyway, good article and good luck.

  6. I just might try this. I’ve been trying to cut out the coffee because of my kidney stones. I’ve only had one cup in the past 10 days. Maybe I’ll try replacing with tea…has to be better than water every morning…just doesn’t do the trick

  7. Awesome blog, awesome article. I recently quit caffeine, (I used to drink about 7 cups of tea a day and would get awful headaches from the lack of caffeine), and I agree with all of the things that you mentioned. I started running, which is giving me an alternate and more healthy form of energy.

  8. I hope you didn’t go with caffeine teas. Most teas have caffeine. If you chose teas with caffeine then, you really didn’t give up caffeine. You just replaced beverages with the same thing.

    I agree with many of the things you stated in your blog post. I noticed that I felt full after eating a meal. When I would drink caffeine, I needed to eat more.

    I’m on day 6 and I’m not as tired like last week. I gave up caffeine last Wednesday. Tomorrow will be the one week mark. I gave up sodas because they give me tummy issues. I have acid reflux.

  9. HaloStarbucks

    I have been drinking coffee almost every day since I was 12 years old, I am now 23, in my senior year of college, and I am a LITERALLY ADDICTED to coffee as anyone has ever been to Chrystal Meth or Heroin. By around 10 am if I have not had coffee, my head feels like it’s encased in concrete, I get irritable and I can’t think coherently. If I still don’t do anything about it by 2 pm I feel like there is a sharp piece of glass stuck in my brain,very bad.
    Honestly though, I just plain LOVE COFFEE and I don’t want to give it up even if I could. As long as i drink one cup in the morning im just fine. Unfortunately i spend $25 a week at Starbucks which has got to stop.

  10. Congrats.. One less coffee drinker in the world. We need more.

  11. I started drinking coffee again.

    To be honest, I always craved it. I had stopped completely for five years.

    I do feel like I can take it or leave it now, but I usually choose to take it!

    I’m drinking Hawaiian Kona right now.

  12. RevitaDerm

    I live in Seattle, the home of Starbucks, where coffee culture is BIG, and coffee shops are sprinkled on every street corner. Every day, I walk past seven coffee shops on my short eight-minute walk to the office.

  13. Lynn

    I quit coffee a few months ago on my first attempt. I was having one in the morning, and often one in the afternoon. I never realized how much the coffee affected my ability to fall asleep at night until I quit. My mom would always warn be about having it in the afternoon and I thought she was crazy. Anyway, I guess mothers ARE (almost) always right.

    So, I’m sleeping way better, I’m saving money (I drink tea instead of buying coffee), and ………….. I don’t sweat anymore!!!!!!!!!!

  14. redpillpuppet

    It seems to me that most people experiencing these unwanted side effects or withdrawal are addicted. So quitting seems the logical thing to do. But to banish it completely if you don’t need to, to me, is just as extreme and unsensible as drinking coffee all day long.

    I, myself, am very sensitive to caffeine and get sweaty and jittery relatively quickly but I love to drink a few cups a day. It’s the same as with alcohol (or even chocolate), modesty is key and on top of that, small portions seem to be good for your health.

  15. Maude

    You should most certainly do a 2nd part to this information.
    Many of us have unanswered questions and we absolutely
    would love you to answer them for us, am I wrong folks?

  16. Caffeine accumulates in the body as uric acid waste materials which causes a chronic poisoning. Read all about how it happens and how caffeinism induced health problems can be cured in hours or days.

    Everything you ever wanted to know about caffeine, but looked from all the wrong places.

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