How Doug Got His Groove Back

Hi all,

As you may have noticed, I have been writing actively again. For a while, I was feeling burned out and tired, and had difficult writing new posts.

So what changed?

I quit coffee. I finally, finally quit.

Long time readers know that I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. I love drinking coffee, especially iced coffee, but don’t like the caffeine addiction and withdrawal, plus it affects my heartburn. I’ve tried to quit many times, but usually don’t last very long. Maybe 4 days, maybe 5. Usually I miss it and start drinking it again for some reason.

Somehow, this time I quit. It took me about 8 days, but I was able to stay away from caffeine long enough that the symptoms and craving went away. After that, I started sleeping a lot better, and because I slept better, I wasn’t tired all the time. The coffee drinking was a vicious cycle:

  • Drink coffee to stay productive at work.
  • I stay up late because I drank coffee.
  • I was tired the next day because I drank coffee.
  • I drink more coffee to stay awake.
  • Weeks pass, now I need more coffee to stay “normal”, and so on.

So, you might ask, how did I quit?

In the past, I would quit cold-turkey, which didn’t work very well. The headaches and irritability were too much to handle.

So this time, I reduced my coffee consumption one cup a day. After about 3 days, I finally quit cold-turkey. Day 5 was the worse. I was stuck in a long meeting at work, and whole time, I couldn’t stop thinking about coffee, but I told myself that if I drank coffee I would repeat the cycle again.

Plus, I found I liked drinking certain herbal teas or hot chocolate,1 so I just drank a lot of tea and hot-chocolate. If you take something away, you have to put something else in its place.

That was 3 weeks ago, maybe longer. If you follow my Twitter feed, you probably saw the updates. Anyhow, now that the addiction is broken, I *do* drink coffee sometimes, but usually decaf. Or, if I *do* drink coffee, I don’t crave it the next day. I also drink green tea sometimes, but again I don’t crave it.

In other words, I’m free. 🙂

Now that I have normal sleeping habits again, I noticed that I often sleep 9-10 hours a day. I think I had built up a years of sleep-deprivation (5-6 hours/day average) and my body is now catching up to this. But since I sleep better, and don’t drink caffeine, my mood is much more stable. I don’t feel the highs and lows I did before. I think caffeine and fatigue caused that.

Point is, if you don’t take care of yourself and get enough sleep, you will build up bad habits that will make you miserable.

P.S. Apologies for the silly title. I just kept thinking of this movie for some reason (even though I’ve never actually seen it).

P.P.S. Sorry, double-post today. Scheduling mistake on my part. ;p

1 Yes, chocolate has a small amount of caffeine, but nothing compared to how much coffee I drank before.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

4 thoughts on “How Doug Got His Groove Back”

  1. hmmm…i’ve been having problems sleeping too (well, not sleeping, but i feel like my sleep is not a good sleep) and i’m tired during the day. I tried a month without bread, because I heard bread is bad for slumps etc. and it helped a teeny bit, but i think i might try a coffee break.
    I’ll still drink green tea though, because I love it, and the amount of caffeine is faaar lower than coffee.


    1. Hi Ruairi,

      I think I tried the “no starches” thing too and it didn’t help much. For me, quitting coffee (and by extension reducing sugar consumption greatly) helped me a lot.

      Good luck!


  2. For those sensitive to caffeine, be careful not to underestimate the amount of caffeine in green tea. One time I went to an early-morning job without eating breakfast. There was a green tea dispenser, so I had a couple of cups before and a couple more during the job. By the middle of the morning, I was feeling a bit hinky. I suspect there is a lot of variation in caffeine levels, depending on the source and type of tea, method of brewing, etc. In my experience, green tea is a bit more balanced/balancing than coffee, and I enjoy it frequently, but only `after` breakfast. I never did adapt to drinking coffee on an empty stomach–I wonder if this might be an important factor. Anyway, congratulations to Doug on getting over it! 🙂


    1. Hi Johnl, thanks for the “tea tip”. I’ve never heard the word “hinky” before, but I do know that tea on an empty stomach gives me heartburn a little. So even though I’m not really addicted to caffeine anymore, I still try to keep green tea to a minimum.

      I agree though: tea’s caffeine rush is much smoother, less of a jump than coffee. That certain helps matters. 🙂


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