I’ve Quit Drinking Coffee For Good: Why And How I Did It

Today I celebrate my 1 year and 5 months of coffee sobriety. ☕️

A lot of people ask me now when I mention this in a conversation after asking me over for a cup of coffee: why I quit or how I did it, given that coffee is one of the staples for breakfast and work.

 

It Started In College

Back when I was studying in university, I would consume 5+ cups of it to get me by. I was an interior design student studying in fine arts college then, and most of the time we would have to stay up late in order to finish our plates (aka homework) on a deadline.

I could barely function unless I consumed caffeine.

Plus, it was delicious you know?

It didn’t matter whether it was instant, iced cold, canned, brewed, espresso – I drank them all.

Work Called For Espresso

The situation even got deeper when I worked in corporate: even more pressing deadlines, paperwork and field assignments… and then a meeting 6:00 AM the next day.

Every board meeting the company’s cafe would serve up espresso to everyone in the room.

Of course, I took up that offer.

So along with the seniors, I took one sip.

And that one sip… led to many more espresso shots for the entire 3 months.

When Coffee Became A Problem

It came to a point that I was abusing and mindlessly drinking my coffee; I didn’t think the effects it would bring me that even a cup or two would give me palpitations in the time after college and work.

I thought the palpitations I felt in college were just normal. But I was also constantly lacking sleep and chugging it at the same time and that was bad.

Coffee has its benefits of course, but the lack of control and awareness is what makes it cross a dangerous border.

Coffee has its benefits of course, but the lack of control and awareness is what makes it cross a dangerous border.

I started noticing patterns of problems:

  • Aside from palpitations, I had trouble remembering things.
  • I would have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep and this led to taking another cup in the morning.
  • I would feel more anxious than normal, and despite the temporary focus I would feel after drinking, lethargy would come down like a landslide hours after the effect has worn off.

When I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder last August 2016, anxiety was one of the side issues along with depression. My psychiatrist recommended that I cut back on caffeine, and it was a good thing that I already did in March.

I also thought that it was a good personal challenge, as most people couldn’t live without coffee. So I took the liberty to just quit.

What Research Says

Technically caffeine is a stimulating drug (1) and as with any other drugs, it must be taken in moderation.

Healthline states that, “the average half-life of caffeine in the blood usually ranges from 1.5 to 9.5 hours. This means that it takes a long time for the level of caffeine in your blood to drop to half of its original amount.” (2)

Another research found that caffeine/sleep-deprivation interaction produces complex memory effects.

Another research found that caffeine/sleep-deprivation interaction produces complex memory effects. (3)

Sleep deprivation alone negatively impacts memory, eventually leading to deficits in the memory processes. But when caffeine is taken on top of this, the study showed the complex interactions with memory arising from this combination. (4)

Aside from this information, caffeine also directly and indirectly affect mood through several mechanism, particularly to those with mental health disorders such as Bipolar Disorder.

Caffeine use can trigger a mania and an onset of low mood through a disruption of normal sleeping patterns. (5)

How I Quit Drinking Coffee

I wish I could tell you that I did some sort of methodical process on quitting coffee, but I didn’t.

I quit cold turkey.

Cold Turkey Method

Cold turkey is when you just abruptly call it over on something you’ve been on for a while.

While it may be effective (to me it was), I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who’s been on continuous consumption. Doing so would risk withdrawal, heart and arm/leg palpitations, depression, anxiety and/or irritability.

How I Met Your Mother GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

Gradual Method

Through this method you slowly decrease your amount of consumption until you no longer depend on coffee.

Caffeine Informer recommends stepping down the dose at around 50 mg less every two days until the zero daily caffeine amount is achieved.

You can do this by reducing the amount of coffee you normally take for a day (most coffee pots have volumetric measurement so you may refer to this when decreasing).

READ MORE: Caffeine Detox: How To Quit Caffeine and Break The Addiction

How I Lived Through A Year Without Coffee

Once I decided I wanted to cut off coffee in my life, I made a conscious effort in making sure this happens.

Here are some steps I do to avert my coffee consumption:

  • Whenever I miss coffee, I just substitute it with hot chocolate (most of the time), tea or water
  • I avoid hanging out for coffee with friends
  • If I’m going to hang out at a cafe I make sure there is an alternative on the menu, like a strawberry frappe or a milk tea variant
  • I give my friends notice that I don’t drink coffee anymore
  • I decide to meet up for brunch or at an event instead of hanging out at a coffee shop. Not only is this productive, but I get to avoid the temptation too

My Recommended Non-Coffee Drinks At My Favorite Cafes

Conclusion

With the right mindset and moderation, you can make a choice on quitting coffee for long term health benefits.

Honestly, I don’t miss coffee now. I can hardly remember the taste.

Quitting coffee for me will save myself from heart and blood pressure problems later on. (6) I chose to quit drinking it so that I wouldn’t have a problem when I’m older and I need to cut back.

You can do it too with the right amount of discipline, support, and alternative choices.

If you need support in setting a goal for your coffee detox, join our support group on Facebook by signing up below.

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2 thoughts on “I’ve Quit Drinking Coffee For Good: Why And How I Did It

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  2. […] Avoid drinking coffee when you’re in this panicky state. I’ve taken up this solution and... earthloveskin.com/this-worldmentalhealthday-learn-how-to-cope-with-your-triggers

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