Quitting Coffee

The idea came to me a few days before the end of September. I fixed October 1 as the start date in my mind. The universe, however, conspired to make this as difficult as possible.

I drank a cool glass of water with breakfast. Everything seemed fine.  I dropped the kids off at school and settled in to spend the next 3 hours on conference calls.

My jaw started to spasm a little bit midmorning.

By noon I was listening and staring blankly at the wall feeling my head throb.

This particular day happened to be the day when KB’s mother went in for a  check-up and was put immediately into the hospital for surgery, so while KB went to be with her I was up to manage the kids all afternoon.  Hanging with the little ones isn’t a big deal, but not at all the way I had planned to wade into the decaf waters.

At 2pm I took 200mg ibuprofen.  My head felt somewhat better.

At 4pm I took another 200mg ibuprofen.  The headache largely went away.

The rest of the day went normally. Surprisingly, I did not feel unusually tired or run down.

I went to bed at 11:30.  I knew it was too late, but the movie was intriguing.

The next morning at 6:30 the idea of getting out of bed was fiercely unpopular.

For day 2 I planned to hydrate better and keep active, rather than sitting down and staring at the screen.   This worked really well.   Although I thought I might have the beginning pangs of a headache, it never materialized and I kept the ibuprofen in my pocket all day.

Through the morning I felt strange muscle tension in my jaw and shoulders/back.  Like yesterday but more discernible.

Around 2pm when the kids took naps I laid down for 30 minutes or so of very needed sleep.

For the most part, the day went and felt normally, but several times throughout the day I found myself wishing to have a little – you know, something – to pick me up.  I recognized these as junky thoughts.  What alternatives could I think of?  Red Bull, perhaps?

At 10 pm I went to bed, confident that day 3 would be as cope-able.

In the morning on day three there are no headaches, the muscle tension is still in my jaw and back, only less so there and more so in my neck.  What I’m really missing, though, is the feeling of having an energy reserve or afterburners that I could tap into if I wanted to jump quickly on something.

Again in the afternoon I took a 30 minute nap when the kids went down.   I know that’s quite a luxury for a working man, but for me it’s been worth about a pot of coffee over the last two days.

The muscle tension has gotten worse and spread to my legs now.  Is this because I’m out of shape?  (yes)  Is this because I’m exerting far more physical effort to keep up with these kids than I normally do schlepping data around a webex all day?  (yes)   Is this because I haven’t had a bit of caffeine in three days?  (YES)

I will say that the morning routine is a bit simpler without it, and walking out of the house with my hands full of misc. is a lot easier without having an additional mug of hot liquid.   I haven’t notice irritability, constipation, depression, lack of concentration (no worse than before), insomnia or – for the most part – headaches.   Staying hydrated and eating when hunger first comes knocking keeps that at bay, at least for now.

Day 4 – Saturday wasn’t the same making pancakes without coffee.  Although it did seem a little faster since I had both hands and didn’t stop at inopportune moments to pretend to enjoy a sip.   Tiredness doesn’t really come into my consciousness except during down times where I’m sitting.  And even then it isn’t really tiredness so much as inertia.    I didn’t nap today but instead watched baseball on the couch.   I still register muscle complaints in my legs and a bit in my back but again, who is to say if that is from the extra exercise or from the caf-clense?  Into the nigh watched most of a baseball game I don’t really care about while reading Amazon reviews for products I don’t really care about until about 11:15, maybe an hour (maybe more?) later than I would have liked to get up and go to bed.   Is that the same as insomnia?  Once my head hit the pillow I was sleeping like a machine.

Day 5 – I woke up with a pretty fierce headache.  I think it was the way I slept.  So I took 200mg ibuprofen.  That knicked it but a little remained so I took another just before leaving the house around 10.   I would guess the medication to be the reason, but I haven’t felt any muscle soreness today at all really.   Maybe if I concentrate I can feel a little near my knees or if I clench my jaw.   Stayed active all morning and through the kids’ nap time.  I can only say I wish I had been able to eat better (more, too) today.

Day 6,7,8 – I feel 99% normal.   I drink a glass of water at breakfast and I have another glass of water during the morning work hours when I would have previously been drinking coffee.  The muscular weirdness has subsided.   Although I get tired, it isn’t worse than before.   Going out to breakfast to our favorite diner it was a bit rough when our friendly waitress showed up with our usual order drinks, including my coffee (in a to-go cup, no less!).

I think I’m done here.   It was easier than I thought, actually.   I’m glad I tried it during a time when life was a little topsy-turvy anyway and I could sneak in a power nap (days 2 and 3 were most important for this).   I don’t think I’ll have any problem not drinking it for a month due to not being able to get going, but I do like drinking coffee (for some reason).  I also like knowing exactly how tightly the leash is around my neck.

I’ve been craving chocolate for the last couple of days, too.  Might be unrelated, just a footnote.