I decided to embark on the godless mission of giving up coffee.
Now, let me just tell you, this is not the first thing I've quit in my life, and hopefully won't be the last. And, if I'm honest, as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if I'll even give it up completely. But, despite the fate this tasty bean juice may have in my life, there's been a bit of enlightenment that's come from a week of its absence.
But first, my reasons why I decided to quit...
In short, gut health.
While I'm certainly not old yet, I can't say that I'm that young either. I've hit that magical time in my life when the body starts letting you know that it's looking for alternatives to one's familiar routines. Ah, yes...I'm a middled-aged woman now. And nothing makes me more aware than the regular gurgle 'n poos that arrive before I can even make it to the bottom of my cup.
This, my friend, made me sad.
I looooove coffee. I love the smell, the taste, and the ritual of it all. Every morning my guy freshly grinds those greasy dark beans and leaves them to do their magic in our stainless, insulated French press. I fill my favorite mug, a beautiful hand crafted gem created by an old woman who lives just about an hour away from here (and I'm so sad that I can't remember her name). But every time I hold this mug in my hands I remember chatting with her in her humble studio. I toss in just a splash of cream, and sip it slowly while the wee beast sits on my lap. Every morning, my guy and I sit, looking out the window, and witness the seasons change year after year. Our lives have changed so much over the past ten years that we've been together. But the one thing that's remained the same is that cup of coffee...
So, giving up coffee sucked. At least, it did the day I decided to let it go.
I decided to give up coffee while I was perched upon the porcelain throne. I thought, I can't keep doing this. So, I mourned the loss of my old friend for the rest of the day until I went to bed. While tucked in, facing a new day without my robust liquid friend, I knew I had to shift my mindset if I was going to make this transition as smooth as possible.
If I focused on what I was "losing" by quitting coffee, I was going to create my own hell. So, instead, I had to embrace the benefits that would come in its absence. I had to stay focused on the purpose, and not the past.
I certainly didn't have to give up the ritual of drinking a tasty hot beverage with my loved ones. So, let's focus on that...
I was afraid of giving up the caffeine cold turkey, so I made myself a cup of earl grey tea...with cream...and maple syrup.
It. Was. Delicious.
I was SO proud of myself for giving up coffee! Not only that, but I felt EMPOWERED by my actions. I was stoked to be an official tea drinker.
So, the next morning I had another cup. Then, another. And then, another. And then, I noticed I started craving more tea throughout the day. Normally when I have my cup of coffee I'm good with just the one cup. But suddenly I wanted my "tea" all day long.
Fuck. It wasn't the tea I was craving...it was the sugar.
Normally, I just put a splash of cream in my coffee. But in order for my tea to taste as delicious as my coffee, I felt it needed a spoon full of maple syrup.
This was not what I had in mind for a "healthier" transition. I was recreating a sugar addiction I've been working my entire life at managing. I'm good at eating sugar occasionally, but when I have it regularly (despite how little or natural it is), I end up craving it like a mad woman. It sneaks its way into my regular diet, causing inflammation, weird, unbalanced energy, and turning me into a cranky bitch.
So, today, I'm giving up added sugar, too.
But it's not that I'm giving up sugar, or coffee. I'm giving up the idea that I need these things to complete a ritual. I'm giving up the idea that these things will make me happy.
I don't know what I'm going to drink tomorrow morning. I'm not willing to give up that part of my routine. And that's ok. Having rituals and routines is a good thing (as long as they're serving us in a positive way). And I'm not going to beat myself up for reigniting my sugar addiction, or feel stupid for not recognizing that my surge of 'accomplished' hormones were, indeed, just a sugar high. No, no, no. Instead, I'm going turn up my determination and accept the challenge. I'm going to remind myself that I can do hard things, and that anything worth having takes a bit of effort. I'm going to know in my heart of hearts that I DESERVE to live a healthy life that doesn't include being controlled by the grip of something like sugar. I'm stronger than sugar...and caffeine. My gut will be happier, my will stronger, and my energy more balanced. And those things, my friend, will make me happier. Freedom = happiness.
I can do this. And so can you. You can do hard things.
I love you.
I appreciate you.
I'm so glad you're here.
To see snippets of this journey, follow the hashtag #crystalwithoutcoffee on Instagram.
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