Image from jessicaNdesign’s Etsy shop. And now I need these spoons.
So I gave up coffee for Lent, and it was beyond difficult, and now I’m drinking it again, and things are again fantastic. That is the short version. Now for the full story:
I used to hate coffee. I thought it was too bitter and I just couldn’t get it down. I didn’t really have a need for extra caffeine for a long time, and I was proud of that. Water and good sleeping habits saw me through.
Then I became a nurse. My shift began at 6:45 a.m. and I was having to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get there on time. I still drank lots of water and went to bed super early, but even though I was a morning person, I wasn’t THAT much of a morning person. The main thing that caused me to seek “help” was the fact that I was routinely falling asleep while driving to work, followed by a complete lack of energy for the first half of my shift.
It was my dad who encouraged me to try coffee. I continued to refuse, because ew, until things got desperate. I started with the free stuff they had at work, dumping in the cream and sugar. I forced it down and noticed an immediate effect. It was magical!
Over time I branched out. The first step was to get my own brewer at home so I could have my cup when I first woke up. I discovered that the free stuff at work was actually crap. At this point I still didn’t like coffee, but I didn’t hate it either. It was tolerable. But I kept drinking it, and after awhile I noticed that I looked forward to it. Sometimes the thought of it was enough to get me out of bed in the morning, or even into bed at night.
By the time I graduated to French Press I was a full-blown coffee lover. I had the equivalent of two cups every morning and then I was good to go for the rest of the day. This is how it went until I got pregnant, when I somehow managed to quit (or only have an occasional cup) until my third trimester when I took it up again. I don’t even remember how I got through that, but probably it had something to do with the fact that my stomach was very sensitive and coffee irritated it more, along with the motivating factor of the health of my baby.
This year I decided to give up coffee for Lent out of solidarity with my husband, who was giving up sodas. I did no weaning beforehand, and the first few days were seriously miserable. Pounding headaches, sleepy all the time, no energy, and just an all around feeling of hopelessness. I had obsessive thoughts about it – I’m not exaggerating. I took Excedrin, then had to wean off that. I found out just how dependent on the substance I had become.
I drank coffee on Sundays because it’s the traditional feast day during Lent, and every Monday I had to “come off” it again. By the end of the 40 days I had gotten somewhat used to the lack of caffeine – no more headaches, not quite as tired, feeling more like my normal self – but I never once told myself that I was giving it up for good.
Yeah, I don’t really like being so dependent on something, and I’m sure I might be a little bit “healthier” without coffee, but I don’t think it’s really that bad for me and I know for SURE that I am a better person when I drink it. This week I have had so much energy! I am going above and beyond at work again. I’m way more on top of things which I believe is safer and nicer for my patients. Then when I come home I still have energy to devote to my family. I am happier, more optimistic, and more productive.
I fully admit that I am addicted to coffee. But you know what? I don’t care. It’s worth it.