I’m quitting caffeine

As soon as I finish this cup of coffee, I’m gonna go cold turkey. Wish me luck!

— Edit —

I’m going to post my experiences day-by-day in this post.

Day 1: Friday 8/24

Today was my first caffeine free day in over a year.  I’ve experimented with cutting back on caffeine for a while, but now that I’ve recently stopped working the night shift, I’ve ran out of excuses.

All-in-all, it wasn’t bad at all.  I had virtually no withdrawal symptoms today, with the exception of a slight headache.  It was the kind that you don’t really notice unless you’re thinking about it.

Psychologically, quitting caffeine was a bit difficult.  I went to dinner with a friend and I had a hard time deciding on what to drink.  I ended up picking Sprite, instead of what I would have normally picked, Dr. Pepper.  Eventually, I’d like to break my relationship with soda altogether, but it seems as though caffeine free soda is a decent crutch so far.  I also replaced my normal lunchtime soda with water.

Day 2: Saturday 8/23

Today I definitely felt some withdrawal effects.  Most of the day I had a bad headache in the area behind my forehead.  I also strongly craved soda.  Halfway through the day, I ended up getting a Sierra Mist from the gas station.  In the first five minutes or so, my body was happy that I ‘gave in’ to my soda craving.  However, after those few minutes of ease, my head began to hurt worse than before.  I suppose that my body wasn’t happy that I tricked it. 🙂

Psychologically, today was rough.  I had really strong urges, and I still had to use a non-caffinated soda as a crutch.  However, it felt really awesome to know that I had enough willpower to not cheat.  Hopefully by the end of the week, I’ll feel good enough to kick out the soda entirely.

Day 3: Sunday 8/24

Today I woke up with a bad headache.  However, as the day progressed, it calmed down and by the mid-afternoon, I was headache free.  I hope this means that I’m over the bulk of the detox.

I also had fewer cravings today.  My roommate offered me a Dr. Pepper at dinner time, and it wasn’t even appealing to me.  One of the things that helped was that when I got my sprite, I looked over at the DP and said to myself in my head “eww, that stuff is gross!”  Naturally, it seemed gross when she offered it to me tonight.

I’m ready to go soda free tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Day 4: Monday 8/25

I successfully dropped soda altogether for the first time, and boy was it tough!  I had a dull headache throughout the whole day, the kind that is just painful enough to not be able to be ignored.  I’m glad the strong headaches are gone.

I had class today, and a student sitting in front of me was downing a coffee.  I had this weird urge to ask him for some.  It was quite excruciating watching him drink it.  I also walked past a Pepsi truck on my way to my car, and I had a strong urge to get soda.  The psychological withdrawal is  much tougher than the physical withdrawal.

Day 5: Tuesday 8/27

Today I had similar headaches to yesterday, but they were off and on.  I feel as though I’ve definitely finished with most of the withdrawal.  I also didn’t have as strong of urges as I did yesterday.  After lunch, I was really tired, even though I needed to do schoolwork.  Instead of grabbing a coffee, I ended up taking a 15 minute nap.  It was nice to just pop on a meditation track on my iPod and a few minutes later feeling completely refreshed.  In fact, I was much more alert and focused throughout the rest of my day because of the midday nap.

I’ve determined that my caffeine addiction was a crutch supporting perpetual sleep deprivation.  In the past couple of days, I’ve gone to bed on time, knowing that I wouldn’t have caffeine to help me through my day.  However, I’ve still been woken up by my alarm, and I’ve still been tired throughout the day.  I’ve also taken more naps in the past few days than I ever have.  I’m going to focus on getting more sleep, and hopefully that will help out in school as well.

The emotional urges for soda are completely gone.  I drove somewhere with my brother tonight, and he opened a Pepsi when he got in my car.  I wasn’t even tempted.  So far, soda hasn’t had as strong of a hold on me as coffee, which is strange because I used to drink a lot more soda than coffee.  I almost never had coffee outside of school.

Day 6: Wednesday 8/28

Today I had just a few, infrequent, minor headaches.  I really feel as though I’ve finished the ‘detox’ and have no physical ties to the drug anymore.  I have noticed an increase in the intensity of how tired I am.  Before I quit caffeine, I used to get tired, get a coffee or soda, and stay up ridiculously late, usually to do something that wasn’t very productive.  However, now when I feel tired, I have a harder time staying awake.  I’ve also been sleeping a lot more.

To counteract not staying awake as long, I’ve found that I’ve been much more productive in my waking hours.  Instead of being in a sleepy fog, after I’ve woken up for the day, I have a much better stream of energy until late at night, except right after lunch.  I also feel a lot healthier, and my mood has improved.  It’s as though I’ve been stumbling through fog, and now I’m walking in sunlight.  I can concentrate much better, and quitting caffeine has definitely helped me in my school work.

I did have one “mess up” though today.  Since I’m no longer addicted, I felt as though a small ‘cheat’ wouldn’t do much harm.  I got sick of drinking water or gatorade, my replacements, and I thought it would be OK to drink a green tea.  However, before I did, I asked my roommate if it would be a bad idea, and she said that green tea has more caffeine in it than soda!  I quickly put it away, and so I didn’t truly cheat.  I did have a chocolate ‘fun sized’ candy bar though.  I don’t consider a negligible amount of chocolate to really be considered cheating, but I felt as though I needed to disclose it.

I bought a bunch of Capri Sun’s to add variety (they were on sale, and I love Capri Sun!)  I’m going to try to figure out some more alternatives throughout the next week or so.  I’d like to also buy a bunch of oranges and make orange juice in my Blendtec Total Blender.  I should try to make apple juice tomorrow when I get home from school.

Day 7: Thursday 8/29

Just one week later, I’ve completely conquered caffeine’s hold on me.  I feel much better, and more alert.  I strongly suggest you spend a week and improve your mental performance.

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