My Copdendent Relationship With Coffee

Three days ago I decided to say adios to my soulmate, coffee. Not forever, no I’m not that strong (or stupid?). Rather, it’s just something I am trying out for a week and then I will evaluate whether or not we should break up for good. 

Unfortunately, our love affair has reached a codependent status. For years, I have convinced myself that I’d be unable to function without my morning cup of 100% arabica drip coffee. Boy was I wrong.

Now don't get me wrong, I love everything about coffee—the smell of a freshly opened bag of grounds, the bitter, smoky taste of a strong cup of joe, the steam permeating from my piping hot mug directly into my nose, and of course, the pep of energy I feel afterwards.

After my first cup, I am finally ready to start my day.

First I will check my email, then I will start crossing things off my to-do list. No, wait, after I finish this article on the link between processed meat and cancer, well never mind, I will just read the title. Oh shoot, I forgot to book my flight home. Would be nice to check out Airbnbs in Fiji, you know, just in case. Who is texting me? I haven’t checked Instagram for a while. I’ll start on my work after I grab a bite to eat. Oh crap, I’m out of eggs. Guess I will head to the grocery store now. Well, as soon as I throw in this load of laundry, then I’ll come home, and get to work...

Was coffee my friend? Or a terrible temptress in disguise? Coffee wasn’t making me more productive. It was causing my mind to wander a thousand different ways so that it was impossible to focus on just one thing. 

My parents are coffee addicts. As a child, I used to despise the taste of coffee and don’t get me started about the damp coffee grounds that always ended up on the floor no matter how carefully I took the trash out. “I will NEVER drink coffee,” my judgmental 12 year old self declared. But like most of the things I swear I’d never do, drinking coffee quickly became a favorite pastime in college. I had a few hours to kill between classes and instead of making the trek home I just found a hip coffee shop to slink around in. My favorite jaunt had the best iced coffee and even offered one free refill. Needless to say, my addiction started spiraling out of control from there. Suddenly I found myself with a belly full of anxiety and a hard time falling asleep. I was lucky if I got 5 hours, 4, 3. “Hell, I’ll be fine”, I’d tell myself, “I’ll just grab some coffee on the way to class and, one sheep, two sheep, why the hell can’t I sleep sheep? Don’t just stand there, help meeeeee.” 

The First Step to Recovery is Admitting You Have a Problem

The weeks leading up to my recent prohibition, I was evaluating how I felt upon waking up in the morning. I felt lethargic and not well rested. I tossed and turned throughout the night, often waking up several times to use the bathroom, or sometimes I’d just lie here, desperately urging myself to fall back asleep. The bags under my eyes were getting heavier every day. “I’m sorry ma’am, you’re going to have to check those, they won’t fit in the overhead compartment.”

This morning, however, I woke up feeling refreshed.

I had arisen with a new outlook on life. I remembered my dreams. I slept like a baby. No, more like a bear, I was waking up from a hibernation. My bed, it was delightful. The sun was shining both figuratively and literally. I was happy. I was bouncing. I was…ENERGETIC? My body needed to be stretched. Wow, that felt marvelous. Calm, I was calm and happy. Really? Me? Happy in the morning? Who was this person? 

Coffee should come with a warning label, since it’s a drug after all: Caution: This cup of coffee may cause bags under your eyes, anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, and codependency.

If you find yourself with any of the symptoms above, I urge you to evaluate your current caffeine consumption. Chances are, it won’t take long for you to realize how much it’s hurting your productivity, not helping it. And if you're lucky, you might just rediscover your childlike wonder. 

Missing Piece, COMA

*image by Unsplash

Nicole Paulus, Nico New Media

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