I've been told by alternative health practitioners that it would be good for my health to quit drinking coffee. But I told myself that I like it. A lot. In fact, I talked myself into it being more of a need, a comfort food, my daily indulgence and my only vice. My ex husband will vouch there are others but the Starbuck's motto tells me different. "To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time." Hey, that's right up my alley, or down my alley and on the corner and the other corner and the other corner and oh, it's EVERYWHERE!! So, I switched to decaf, sort of. Even though the experts said it was not the caffeine that was the problem but the coffee bean itself. Yah, whatever. So, I switched to decaf. Sort of. My special brew of decaffeinated denial and advertising brainwashing was going well until someone bought me a huge bag of the real stuff, baby! Like a cocaine addict who had been substituting with powdered sugar, I thought it couldn't hurt to mix in some of the real stuff occasionally, after all, it tasted better. It was only going to be a little and only occasionally. Yah, right. It turned into a daily half-caf. That's why I said, "sort of" so many times. OK. The real truth is that I switched to decaf, then the half-caf slipped in and on really bad days I had full strength. When out in public, if other people were having the real stuff, I would, too. Hey, everyone's doing it. Sound familiar? Sound like anyone you know?
So, this week I decided my charade should end and I should just quit cold turkey because I wasn't feeling good and I didn't want to catch every illness I've been exposed to. So, I decided to substitute coffee with juicing and a new morning meditation. Replace the old behavior. Yah, that's it. I've been researching and interested in how the brain works and have been trying out various new forms of meditation and hypnosis, so this should be good. First day, check. Wow, this is great. I'm really motivated and energized. Second day, fell asleep during the mediation, took a nap and had a massive headache the rest of the day. Bummer. I got nothing accomplished, which brought on a depressing feeling. I wasn't sure if I was sick, needed the sleep and the headache and stomach ache were a result of the flu I was catching or the fact that I was hungry from only juicing. Maybe I was hypnotized in the wrong direction! The mediation was supposed to minimize the negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with new, positive desires. Had I fallen asleep before my dream life came in? Oh gosh, how do I get un-hypnotized? Who do I call? More worrying, more negative thinking. This sucks.
Day three. I woke up with the same unbearable massive headache. This really sucks. Do I take migraine medicine which is loaded with caffeine or suffer? What? Wait? What did I say? .... Caffeine? Hmmmm. Why does migraine medication have caffeine in it? Interesting. I'd rather have coffee than a man made drug. Do I sound like your average pot smoker now? Hey, the stuff is natural, it grows from the earth, dude. Yah, dude, there are toxic plants and killer mushrooms out there, too. Have you tried eating your Christmas Poinsettia plant lately? That will kill you. So, we know that everything that grows naturally isn't necessarily healthy or even safe. Caffeine is in headache medication because it is 40% more effective in pain relief and it aids in drug absorption. Which is a great rule of thumb if you smoke and drink coffee at the same time. Yowza! Why do you think all (I'm generalizing) recovering addicts drink coffee and smoke? Obviously they haven't learned to replace their drugs with juicing and mediation yet either. Now, I'm not a doctor and I don't even play one on TV. So, I looked up caffeine withdrawal on webmd dot com. Dr. Web says that caffeine withdrawal is rare. That I need to drink 500mg of coffee a day - that's like 5 cups. Well, I only have 150mg at most because I have been drinking half-caf. But I don't believe any doctor whose sponsor is a pharmaceutical company or maybe even Starbucks. So, I decide to have a cup of Joe as an experiment to see what happens to my headache or maybe that's another lie and I'm just not ready to quit. You see, I was reverse hypnotized! I said replace the old behavior, not relapse the old behavior.
The feelings of excitement immediately starting entering my being just from the smell of the coffee brewing. Yipee! It smelled soooo good. Now, drum roll, for the taste test.... Sip. Gulp. A feeling of "Ahhhhhhh" seared through my veins. I felt like a heroin addict who just shot up. I could almost literally feel the coffee at work as I slipped the syringe from my arm. I mean, put the coffee cup down.
I decided to quickly research what's the poison in coffee that I should be avoiding, before the guilt rolled in. Prior to making my discovery, my headache was miraculously gone. Ah ha! I knew Dr. Web was wrong. Sneaky bastard. OK. Caffeine is a neurotoxic alkaloid found in plants to prohibit insects from eating it. It alters their nervous system and makes them unable to eat. Then they presumably either go away or drop dead and can't kill the plant. Psych. The nervous system of larger animals, including humans, is more resilient and can protect itself by adjusting to the chemical without dying. But there is a price. It affects our nerve cells, as well. Caffeine occupies and blocks adenosine receptors in the cells. Adenosine does many things including controlling the activity of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine to name a few. Simply put, caffeine is stimulating because it increases nerve firing. Adenosine dilates blood vessels in the head and neck, caffeine constricts, therefore helping rid your migraine. That's my caffeine 101 which should be enough to show that coffee does more harm than good and enough harm to cause the withdrawal symptoms and subsequent craving and relief of a heroin addict! Smart animals naturally avoid toxic plants containing caffeine because of the bitter taste but us humans like the psychoactive effects that some plants provide and unnaturally seek them out. I don't really want to consume any brain altering substances but now I need to detox slowly to avoid withdrawal headaches. The alternative to weaning is the same for any addict, help from other drugs or chain yourself to the bedpost. That's only fun when you're watching Celebrity Rehab.
Starbucks also tells us, at almost four bucks a pop, that they are "a third place between work and home." I think that means, "Come on in and have some drugs before you have to deal with your boss or start your miserable day." Maybe it has to do with the fact that they are in the third dimension, which would make perfect sense. In the third dimension there is no choice. We react to unconscious programming and beliefs, as opposed to choosing our thoughts, feelings and actions. This takes me back to hypnosis. We've been hypnotized, conditioned and programmed to believe what we believe. To the rational thinking, left hemisphere of the brain everything makes perfect sense. Coffee that inspires and nurtures my spirit. Yay! Right on. In the fourth dimension we see through that crap and realize that there is another truth. The truth could be that we've been lying to ourselves and pretending everything is OK or we've been hypnotized, or not. The beautiful truth is we can rewire our brains to see and access a much wider range of information with ease and grace (perhaps the same range we're trying to get to when we trip on acid). When we are in the present moment choice becomes a possibility because we can observe things, even thoughts and feelings, from a detached perspective which allows us to respond, rather than react. The unthinkable now becomes possible. This creates a paradox because what we thought to be true a moment ago, or a few coffees ago, isn't true anymore. Wow. I'm getting deep. And all because of caffeine withdrawal. So, we can choose what feels better or our preferred vibration, instead of what's been dictated to us or what we previously thought to be true, right or good.
So, I can choose to believe that coffee nurtures my spirit but with my new awareness that would be like telling myself that an insect killing toxin nurtures my spirit. Now that's a pretty tough cup of coffee to swallow. Put that on your coffee mug! Does this mean I will never drink coffee again? Honestly, I don't know. The unthinkable is possible. Maybe I will get hypnotized to rewire my brain completely and plug my nose as I walk by any Starbucks. In the meantime, I hope I don't wake up with a headache and will continue juicing. Right now I'm going to go meditate and probably fall asleep. This lack of caffeine is killing me!