Hot and strong, with ice cubes or garnished with warm soy milk: I am crazy about coffee! Despite my passion I didn’t drink any coffee since November 2016. Why not? Keep reading and learn more about my journey from a coffee addict to someone who starts their day with cold water. By the way: Black as midnight on a moonless night is my absolute favorite coffee quote. Agent Cooper said it in Twin Peaks 🙂
I tried my first cup of coffee during my time at primary school. I must have been between six and eight years old. I enjoyed my first coffee with 200 ml of milk and unbelievable four spoons of sugar. It was love on first try! At the age of 13 I already knew how to use a coffee maker. Coffee became one of my everyday rituals. At the age of 17 I discovered traditional Turkish mokka. I fell in love again and used mokka as my fuel. I still believe that my caffeine consumption made me pass my driver´s license test. How did I afford my driver´s license? Yeah right, I worked part-time in a coffee place. And coffee was of course for free! After, I went to college and started a job that made me get up every day at 4.30. I bought an Italian espresso maker and started to drink even more coffee. If I thought about quitting? Never! I knew every study by heart that proves the advantages of coffee by. Additionally, I just drank fair trade coffee. Somehow I needed to get rid of my guilty consciousness
At the age of 25 I left Germany and traveled to Greece. I got a job at a local radio station and planned to stay for seven months as a volunteer. Drinking Frappé, Freddo Espresso and Elleniko became my new passion. There was nothing more relaxing than hanging out in a coffee place, drink shit loads of coffee and enjoy a good conversation. The stressful job in a Greek hotel that I started after didn’t really help with my addiction issues. After that I moved to Portugal and started working as a writer and translator. As you can imagine: Long hours in front of the computer and night shifts go very well with Portuguese meia de leite. My flatmates, who are also highly addicted to coffee didn’t really help me…
Last spring I traveled to Algarve. I took my body board, my skateboard, my computer and a coffee maker (!) with me. The plan: Relaxing, surfing and writing. Unfortunately my coffee maker broke even before I reached my destination. And even more unfortunately I couldn’t find coffee places in the remote place where I stayed. One day after I started to feel the withdrawal. A can of energy drink provided first aid. After that experience I checked into a hostel with a coffeemaker. Camping on the beach and enjoying nature? Not with me!
An average day last autumn looked like that: A cup of coffee before I worked out in the morning. Two cups after workout. One cup after lunch. Two cups in the afternoon and coffee at night, if I planned to go out. And if I am talking about coffee I mean 250 mm of solid, thick filter coffee. The stuff that anxiety is made of basically! Transpiration and fear were constantly parts of my everyday life. My breaking point was actually an article I had to write about the advantages of running. Various studies proved that running can cure anxiety. In order to make the probands of the study anxious they had to take caffeine pills before going for a run. During my research I started to think: Maybe anxiety wasn’t part of my personality. Maybe my anxiety was even linked to my habits. I decided to stop drinking coffee. I had my last cup during my research. It was 22.11.2016, a sunny Tuesday afternoon (yeah this blog entry is in need of some serious drama.)
The withdrawal symptoms started next morning at 11. Since I follow quite strict routines in my everyday life I would normally have my first coffee of the day at 7 ´o clock. The withdrawal started during a walk. I got a serious headache, I felt dizzy and like throwing up. The symptoms reminded me of a very strong hangover. My hands were constantly shaking and I had problems to focus. I took painkillers that didn’t help me at all. The next day I didn’t feel any better. And the day after I didn’t feel any better. In total my withdrawal symptoms lasted for around one week. Sunglasses and loads of water helped me a bit.
I am still tempted to drink coffee and I am crazy about the smell of fresh coffee beans. The one thing that keeps me from drinking coffee are my memories of the painful withdrawal. Generally I feel better since I stopped drinking coffee. I got a lot of energy throughout the day and I am not getting tired after lunch. At six in the morning my body and mind are in the same condition like at six in the afternoon. Especially in situations or when I have o focus a lot I feel a lot more relaxed. I breathe deeply and don’t feel any anxiety. That goes especially for my yoga practice and for surfing in waves that are out of my comfort zone.
If I look at my new life without coffee, it makes me feel more minimalist. I got rid of one more thing that in the end is just clutter. The fewer needs I have, the more freedom I got. I safe money and my teeth look better. In the first months after quitting I kept drinking green tea. I also ate chocolate. Both contain small amounts of caffeine. I stopped with tea and chocolate and feel much better. And I know: As much as I never wanna eat meet again, coffee is nothing, that adds pleasure to my life anymore.
Leave a comment and share your opinion about coffee and addictions with me! I am curious abou the stuff you have to share!
I am Julia, vegan by heart, traveler and minimalist based in beautiful Portugal. I love simple but delicious food, ashtanga, skating, surfing and having a nice conversation over snacks and a glass of wine. I am blogging about vegan food, my minimalist journey, life hacks and my experiences as a traveler.