I’ve never been addicted to anything until I started drinking coffee. I didn’t even realise people could get addicted to things like caffeine. Which is why I quit drinking caffeine.
I mean, what is addiction?
Addiction was something I labelled for alcoholics, drug users and sex addicts. I look back almost embarrassed by how naive I was. I started drinking coffee for the social aspect. All my friends loved coffee and that was the “thing to do”. In the morning, during work, after work and sometimes even a late-night coffee shop chat.
My first taste of coffee was a Greggs Mocha… not exactly the top tiers of coffee. I hated it! The smell, the taste and even the after taste. What I enjoyed was the caffeine buzz I got for the following hour. I felt like I was motivated, productive and ready to go. No wonder people drank this all the time.
It took a few months for me to start enjoying the taste. After a year, the taste was the best part for me. Mad how things change.
I then started working in an office. The office environment was built around everyone having their coffee break at the same time. It wasn’t just about the coffee, it was the social aspect. So, of course, I participated.
Fast forward a few years. My anxiety was the worst it had ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t exactly doing anything to help myself, and that included drinking at least three cups of coffee per day.
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What changed for me?
My anxiety was becoming unbearable. I was sometimes unable to leave the house, which meant calling in sick to work along with missing out on events with my friends and family.
It was becoming a real pain in the ass.
I can pinpoint the turning point in my caffeine journey like it was only yesterday.
Monday lunchtime, there I was, drinking a Redbull and eating a chocolate brownie. I had stumbled across an anxiety playlist called “The Anxiety Podcast” by Tim JP Collins. I started listening to the podcast from the beginning and I was gobsmacked.
In one of the earlier episodes, he mentions the CATS analogy, which I’ve talked about a few times on my blog.
All the above things do not help anxiety.
There I was, sitting eating my brownie and drinking my Redbull. Well, you’ll be happy to know, they went directly in the bin. Maybe throwing the brownie away was a little dramatic but who doesn’t love making a statement.
Ever since that moment, I’ve not had a drop of caffeine. I’m officially two years caffeine-free!
I decided to email Tim back in 2019 to let him know how much I enjoyed his podcast. My claim to fame was Tim reading out my email on the show! If you would like to check it out, it’s on episode 371, 7:28.
How much has it changed my life?
I originally wrote the above title as “How much has it changed my anxiety?” but in actual fact, it’s helped a lot more than my anxiety.
My energy levels are a lot higher. Which sounds silly as the whole point of caffeine is to raise your energy. I was drinking large amounts of caffeine to the point that my body relied on it to function throughout the day. If I missed my morning coffee, I was a zombie to the world.
I no longer require those boosts of caffeine throughout the day.
With regards to my anxiety, it’s like night and day. I don’t feel shaky and I no longer have to experience my heart beating out my chest. After drinking a cup of coffee, I had the motivational buzz, but with that came anxiety, fear and worry.
Three things I really don’t want for no reason.
What do I drink now?
I really enjoyed a hot drink, especially living in Scotland. Yes, it really is that cold! I decided to move across to the caffeine-free herbal teas. My favourites are:
- Lemon and honey
There are endless alternatives for hot drinks so I won’t go short for choice.
I even ensure that any paracetamol that I take is caffeine-free, just to be on the safe side.
Final thoughts – I quit drinking caffeine for two years
I can honestly say that the best decision I made was to quit drinking caffeine. I never see myself going back to drinking caffeine. Having now stopped for two years, I don’t crave it anymore. Caffeine can be a catalyst for anxiety. I’m not saying you have to go hard or go home, but think about your caffeine intake and if there’s anything you can do to minimize it.
Our bodies trick us into thinking we need the caffeine to function when we really don’t.
I am officially two years caffeine-free and I am extremely proud of myself.
What are some habits you would like to change?