I Broke up with Coffee (Sort Of) and Didn’t Slaughter Anyone

Coffee and I, on our last days…you can see by my face I’m just not into it anymore.

So I love coffee. Love love love. I love the smell, the taste, the buzz, the comfort of it, the way I convince myself it’s good for me (antioxidants!), the energy it gives me before a long run. I love it. I usually have at least 3 (4) cups a day, which may not be a lot for some but is a lot for me, since I am petite and have a low tolerance level. By my third cup, I am banging out editorial deadlines and thinking in jittery half-sentences that make sense only to me. “Tiny spaces micro loft jumbo refrigerator BBQ tempeh party…” It’s the best!

But I hate being addicted to it. I hate being addicted to anything, because I am stubborn and I don’t want to need anything. ANYTHING. During my misspent youth, when I was a smoker (I am so sorry, body!) I quit cold turkey after I realized I needed it to function. And so, for months and months, I have been thinking about putting my love affair with my favorite bean on hold…It’s not you, it’s me. But also it’s you.

I have continuously talked myself out of ditching the brew with seasonal rationalizing like “but I can’t stop drinking coffee now, think of all the iced lattes I won’t get to enjoy this summer…” and “but, what is fall without pumpkin spice?!” and “I’ll never poop again!!!” No more. I put my pleather clad foot down and ditched coffee this week.

I guess technically we’re “on a break.” You know, that cowardly half-assed breakup thing you do when you aren’t feeling someone anymore but want to keep them on the back burner in case you change your mind. You can ease out of it with your tail between your legs, going “on a break,” which gives you the room to sample all kinds of chai and rooibos while coffee is stressing out and staring at its phone all day wondering why you don’t call. Because technically you didn’t really break up with them fully you can still come back to your old standby when you’re sick of sleeping alone. I mean…whatever, coffee and I are on a break.

It was pretty rough. On Monday, day one, I impressed myself with how well I was handling it. I had some chai tea in the morning and felt fine all day. But during my post-work yoga class, I was so angry I wanted to yell at my lovely Brazilian instructor mid-chaturanga. I stink-eyed her for 90 minutes. Poor thing. I was down-right livid for no reason at all. Then I went home and cleaned out my fridge with my mouth and felt better.

Now that it has been a week, I no longer open my eyes in the morning with coffee on the brain. So if you want to ditch coffee but are intimidated by the withdrawal, or scared you will slaughter your loved ones in a decaffeinated rage, here are some tips for you:

Drink lots of tea. This one may seem obvious but it helped me so much. You can go caffeinated or decaffeinated. Neither will give you the same blissful, jittery rush that coffee will (and obviously weaning yourself with the caffeinated variety is easier) but it’s a good way to temporarily trick yourself into thinking that the warm cup of chai in your hands is actually your old flame, coffee. Feel free to flaunt all your new types of tea like a jilted lover.

Double teamin’

Spoil yourself. Like I do after a breakup, I let myself indulge whenever I feel like it. An 8 dollar green juice even though your bank account is empty and you have a juicer at home? Sure. Cupcakes? You betcha. New boots? Yes please! You’re cranky, and it’s best to coddle your cantankerous, tweaked out system by distracting it with pretty, delicious, shiny things.

Psych yourself up. I went into the week thinking how bad it would suck. I imagined the raging headaches and my uber-bitchy behavior. I imagined wanting to scream and kick and throw things. Sort of like when you’re getting ready for an Internet date and you imagine the dude to be heinous and smell like yesterday’s sandwich you left in the car overnight and living with his parents at 32. Then when he shows up and he is just sort of balding but other than that, seems nice, you’re excited. When you imagine the worst, well the reality of it won’t be all that bad.

Tell everyone. If you tell everyone you know you aren’t drinking coffee for a while, then you will feel more accountable. My coworker Nick was incredulous (we’re coffee buds) and my boyfriend said he was turning off his phone for fear of my inner demon raging via text message. Also when you tell everyone before hand, they will understand why that showing of My Best Friend’s Wedding on TBS is making you weep and you’re slamming things in your cubicle.
This “no coffee thing” is most definitely temporary. I will start drinking it again, but not every day, and certainly not to function. I feel weirdly guilty for locking my mini french press up in a cupboard, stripping it of its knightly station on my counter, next to my lucky red kettle. (I have a weird attachment to my kitchen equipment. I like to think the toys I store in cupboards are secretly envious of the toys I use every day, like my french press and my blender, that get to sit proudly on the counter. They probably talk shit about me when I’m not around. I’m looking at you, immersion blender who only comes out during soup season… )

Maybe coffee will be reserved for Saturdays and Sundays, or when I’m hungover, or super tired, or gearing up for a long run, or cozying up in a cafe with a book. I don’t know! But right now, I’m glad to be off it.

About the author  ⁄ Zoe

Zoe writes about food and sex on SexyTofu.com.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    September 24, 2012

    tim made it more or less two weeks without coffee…and then this weekend we had city cabin guests who didn’t roll in til 8 saturday night and the last thing they asked me before they made their way to our River Houseboat was “You do have coffee in the morning right?” I caved and said “Of course” and then dug out the stash that I had hidden from Tim of an unopened 3 lb bag of Organic Beans….so of course Tim made a full pot when he woke at 7, and I think consumed most of it because by the time the guests appeared it was 10 am and he had to make a second pot…and then this morning he reheated the leftovers….and I have re-hid the beans….but i am telling you all this because it is so GREAT you are giving your body, especially your adrenals a break from it, but go for a month if ya can….cause for Tim, now that it is in his system he is jonesing for it all over again…..

  • Reply
    September 24, 2012

    i’ve been drinking white tea again… OOOH.. after having stepped all the way down to just herbal teas for awhile. i kicked coffee out years ago, and everytime i smell someone’s horrendous coffee breath, i’m super glad i did. you could also try decaf coffee?

    another good reason to ditch both coffee & black tea was for my little teeth. i didn’t like how it stained them after a while, and i hate doing the white strips.

    mostly i ditched it because it gave me anxiety and made my heart flutter. but i love tea. tea all day long.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012

    I did pretty much the same thing earlier this year when I realized I was starting to drink WAY too much coffee for me! I stopped drinking it altogether for a few weeks and it was really difficult at first, especially since others are always making it at home or at work. But I have a new found love affair for various teas, and now when I do drink coffee once in awhile (maybe 1-2 times a week, rather than the 2-4 times a day previously) I enjoy it much more. And while I still really love coffee, I also love that I don’t feel like I need it anymore!

    Good luck with your break from coffee!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2012

      Thank you! Yes, I like not feeling like I “need” a cup before I work on a project/go for a run/breathe. And I think now when I do drink it, having only one cup will give me a nice zing, instead of four…

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012

    Oooooh, yes, coffee and I are in the middle of a messy break-up right now but I love these tips and inspiration!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2012

      Glad you’re reading! Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2012

    I didn’t drink coffee for almost a month when I started Paleo. But I’m back to being addicted. I love coffee dot com backslash fuckyeahcoffeerocks. I mean. I support you. Yeah. That.

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