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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. Wow! Thanks for this blogbost. Very interesting!

    But ending my relationship with my beloved Coffee? Never

    I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs and don’t drink alcohol. I’m in the boundage of vice :)

    But I think with the effects you described I would stop it, too.

  2. Hello…Man i just love your blog, keep the cool posts comin..holy Thursday

  3. Greetings Tina Su!

    I’ve been watching our coffee addiction growing over the past two decades. It’s gone hand and hand with our addictions to energy drinks and, seems to be very predominant in what “I” would call our younger generation. (I’m 51.)

    About 3 years ago I underwent a massive release on inner density and one of the effects was…not wanting any coffee. Oh, I’d pour myself a cup, then drink about two sips and that’d be it. Now, like you, I drink herbal teas and freshly squeezed juices.

    Just for fun I share I was in Seattle last month and did TRY the coffee. I thought it horrid. It reminded me of trail coffee, that could hold up a spoon erect, while it dissolved it.

    If I may, I add that we are all addicted to certain emotions and this is where our substance use is coming from. A lot of us are addicted to stress and stimulants give us what we need to keep going, like litle hamsters running on a wheel, getting no place in the meantime.

  4. Danny Lucas

    This is a shocking blog!
    I recently wrote on the joys of coffee and coffee jargon. And now, this doubt!
    Oh my, I’m getting dizzy. Infuse me with java…fast…hurry..oooohhhh_____

    I see much pithyness after the original post. Is pithyness next to truthiness? For the love of coffee, I sincerely hope not. If you get tired of no coffee, give your cells a luxury spa with a full cup of Gold Coast. Each cell will give a standing ovation as the percolated molecules march by.

  5. Danny Lucas

    Oh my. First time in my life I have been so pithy. Excuse me.

  6. I’ve found my desire for coffee to be dwindling here of late. I LOVE my French Vanilla, but I’m starting to notice that I get half way through a cup and I’ve had enough. Maybe I should just start burning vanilla candles and call it good? LOL

  7. Steve

    it may not be the most healthy choice, but in moderation it’s all good… it’s just like weed… a cup of coffee goes very well a joint… my preferred way to spend a creative day :)

  8. I’ve been bean free for more than three years. I drink a fair amount of tea (herbal, black, and plenty of green). I rarely crave coffee, but the urge does it me and it is strong. I’m glad that I do not partake. At first, the toughest thing for me to get past was ordering tea at a coffee shop! In some strange way, ordering tea made it seem as though I was not getting the best life had to offer, if that makes any sense.

    After six months with no coffee, I did have an espresso rubbed steak salad one day at a client lunch. The “buzz” from that was very strong, instant and somewhat uncomfortable. I try to remember that feeling when I get the urge ingest coffee in any form.

  9. Gosh, Id give up a lot of other things before I’d give up my morning/afternoon pick me up.

  10. Man, i hate you! I’ve been wanting to quit coffee for a long time, but actually never found a reason tu do it, i didn’t feel that bad drinking coffe. After reading this, i really want to try it (i know i can, some times i’ve been months witouth coffee just to see if i could do it, but always went back since i couldn’t find a good reason not to drink it). I don’t know how you do it, but thanks for inspiring me :-)

  11. Matthew

    I’ve always enjoyed coffee at the office. Unfortunately since this summer I have been able to tolerate caffeine for some mysterious reason. If I have a cup of coffee I almost instantly get nervous, short of breath and all around freaked out. I used to drink how ever much coffee I wanted or red bull with no problems at all. I’m only 26 and find it wired that I can’t handle it anymore!! Anyone have any ideas why this suddenly occurred??

  12. I don’t know if I could ever give my coffee addiction. I love coffee too much, but I do know the health downsides of it. I am going to try and grab a glass of water when I feel like having coffee, like you said. I think I could do that … great post! Thanks again!

  13. Hi Tina,

    Sometimes I feel like that life isn’t complete without a cup of coffee a day. But everybody says that i have to stop and end it up drinking coffee. Being addiction into coffee can be say that is my habit. I maybe learned this to remove or not to love drinking it. But I have rather say that i really this thing but i have to ended it up. Thanks for Tina for this articles.


  14. jd

    Hey Tina –

    While I understand why you needed to go your separate ways, I can’t help but feel sorry for the coffee.

  15. Coffee has been one of my best friends for so long now, but I know it’s time to say goodbye. I wish it didn’t have to be all or nothing, but I feel like that’s what I really need right now. Perhaps we will rendezvous again another time. Thank you for sharing your story Tina, your strength and diligence inspires me.

  16. Brenton Bills

    I’m not addressing you specifically, Tina, or any one person who has left a comment. With that said, I believe that unless you a) don’t smoke, b) never have more alcohol per day than is found in one glass of wine, c) eat “fast food” less than once per month, on average, d) almost never eat candy, and e) never drink other beverages containing caffiene or guaranine, e.g. soft drinks, most teas, and energy drinks, to name a few, then you have no standing to tell me not to ever have another drop of coffee.

    I agree that someone who is addicted to coffee should stop, but so should anyone addicted to anything unhealthy. How many people out there who have sworn off coffee continue to overeat or not exercise?

    Some other things to consider: if you buy your coffee from Caribou, Starbucks, Dunn Bros., or any other non-chain coffeeshop worth its salt, then you’re buying arabica coffee beans. Arabica beans naturally have about half the caffiene than the canned drek you can buy at the supermarket, made with rubusto beans–which are also naturally more bitter and less flavorful.

    Also, the vast majority of people who walk into a chain coffeeshop and order their double-mocha-half-caf-low-foam-with-whipped-cream-lattes are not ordering “coffee drinks.” They’re ordering milk drinks, with a relatively small amount of coffee mixed in. I get a laugh from people who regularly order those and talk about the “buzz” they get, which is really a placebo effect. What they are truely getting is a larger waistline, and an addiction to their early morning desserts.

    I’m sorry if I come off as a curmudgeon; I simply wanted to add some perspective, and debunk some very common conventional wisdom. If you disagree with me, I hope we could agree to disagree agreeably.

    As long as you control it, and it does not control you, then go on enjoying your coffee.

    Kind regards to all.

  17. Interesting article. Very informative. But I love Starbucks…mainly for the Hot Choc though on a cold or cool day with a movie.

    My wife always jokes with my step-mom that everytime she is having coffee she is promoting cellulite.

    It always gets her worked up…soooo funny.

  18. It is going to be very hard to give up coffee. :)

  19. Jay

    Luckily, I was never a huge coffee drinking but I can see people who are addicted to it worse than smoking!

    I’ll drink it on occasions but nothing special… I drink more alcohol than I do coffee lol…


  20. Aha.. I’m in the ‘transition period’ of getting rid of caffeine as well. I now drink cocoa or fruit juice instead of coffee. And my real need is ‘to sleep earlier.’

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