This is the second of a three part series on addiction covering Nicotine, Caffeine and Alcohol. There will be some who try to take on addiction in the new year and as such, wanted to focus my blog so the reader knows they are not alone! Whether you shout it proudly or you want to tackle it alone.

Its been about 5 days since I switched to the decaf and the first three days were the worst. I didn’t go cold turkey. I went from about 16 ounces to about 10 ounces over 3 days, and then every two days or so I dropped down a few ounces. I figured I was lowering my consumption at a reasonable rate but once I went down to under 12 mg of caffeine (Instant-Decaf) I started getting the withdrawal symptoms.

I started the decaf on a 4 day weekend and I am glad I did. My withdrawal symptoms included feeling a dull headache for the first three days and during that time I felt extremely tired. The first day I ended up napping in the middle of the day, the next day I also took a mid day nap, the third day I went to sleep at 7pm at night, the fourth day I went to sleep at 8pm. Gradually those symptoms got easier to handle. I went back to work on Monday and made it through the day without any withdrawal symptoms except that I went to sleep by 9pm. (My normal is about 10pm)

I mentioned that I switched to instant/decaffeinated coffee. Decaf still has some caffeine in it. Mine has approximately 6-10 mg per teaspoon. I started Day 1 at two teaspoons and each day I cut it back about 1/4 teaspoon. Today I only had one teaspoon. Although I think it’s pretty safe to cut it all together, I will likely continue to cut down 1/4 teaspoon per day and now lower the ounces of water. I don’t want to go through the sleepiness and headaches again!

If you are cutting down on caffeine, you also need to watch other things you eat and drink. For instance, many soft drinks have caffeine in them. I was given chocolate for the holidays… chocolate has caffeine. Some headache medicine also has caffeine such as Excedrin Migraine.

For as long as I can remember I was either a coffee drinker and in my adolescent years, I drank a ton of Coca Cola. Strangely, I also suffered from headaches in my pre-teens and teenage years. In hindsight, I wonder if these could have been caffeine withdrawal headaches??

Caffeine can cause some health issues. 15 years ago I had some issues with anxiety/panic attacks. Before I knew it was anxiety/panic attacks, I had a ton of diagnostic tests done, when I visited a cardiologist, he asked me about my coffee habits…

7am: Cup of Coffee
9am: Coffee Break at Work
11am: Cigarette and Coffee Break at work
Noon: Large soda with lunch
3pm: Cigarette and Coffee Break
6pm: Home, Dinner and a soft drink.

That’s a great deal of caffeine! In fact, back then I drank decaf and quit drinking coffee all together. I can remember, even after figuring out I had a panic/anxiety disorder, the month that followed was really tough. Perhaps it was also due in part to caffeine withdrawal.

Some people may wonder, since caffeine seems such a minor addiction why I am cutting it out all together. Firstly, I want to be in control of my mind. Secondly, if it is minor, why not try to cut it out for an entire week and see how it effects you? Once you get past that week, talk to me about it being minor! 🙂 Thirdly, I equate it to the Buddhists Five Precepts. (My previous blog about it). While this does not necessarily match the Precept of avoiding intoxicants,  that’s exactly how I am going to look at it. I just want clean living in 2016!

…Did I mention, I’m unusual? 🙂