Tuesday, September 22, 2009

But Ruth, there are worse things than caffeine

Yes, I know, it's true. I've said this plenty of times myself. Every time I try to quit and can't, I say to myself, Well, I could certainly have worse habits than a daily pot of tea.

It's true. But it's not the point. If I was a smoker I could say, There are worse things than smoking. I could be addicted to crack. If I was addicted to crack I could say, Well, there are worse things. At least I am not a murderer.

The point is not where I fall on the bad habit spectrum, it's how caffeine affects me.

And caffeine is not my friend. Not anymore. It was my friend for a long time. Quite possibly it was caffeine that enabled me to survive the long days and short nights of early parenthood. But now caffeine has turned on me...that good-for-nothing, backstabbing traitor.

My brain is completely reliant on caffeine to function. Maybe some people can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea every day yet take one day off with no ill effects. I am not one of those people. If 11:00 rolls around and I have not had any caffeine, I am no longer coherent. My mind is a muddled mess.

What has happened is that caffeine no longer enhances my mental performance, it just brings me up to a normal level. So all morning until I make tea or buy a latte, I gradually become stupider and less productive. It takes at least a cup of tea to bring me back up to a functioning level.

I guess I don't like being that dependent on something. If I'm traveling, or just rushing around to get somewhere in the morning, it's not always possible to get my morning fix. Then you have Stupid Ruth out there wandering about in the world. It's dangerous.

Even if I'm staying home all morning, I am pretty much worthless until I get some tea. And because tea interferes with iron absorption I don't drink it with food. So after breakfast, I wait at least an hour and then start making tea. Sometimes it doesn't happen until 10 a.m. or later because I keep putting it off to do other things.

Not only do I become stupider, I also start getting grumpier. Sometimes I get so stupid and grumpy that I forget I haven't had any tea yet. Then by the time I drink it, it's almost lunch time. I lost my whole morning just because of my addiction to caffeine.

Maybe you can see now why I would want to quit.

While I was browsing the Web looking for information about breaking the caffeine habit, I came across this quote:
Let's face it, remaining healthy and strong throughout life is a battle. Caffeine is the Trojan horse. It looks like a gift but instead delivers adrenal stress, low blood sugar, mood and energy swings, fatigue, depression, malnutrition, and disturbed sleep.

Caffeine, you are simply not doing me any favors these days. Sorry, old friend. I appreciate your help in my times of need. But for my own health, I've got to try to end this relationship. I hope you understand.


Torrie said...

wow, you sound like a true druggie after reading this. Don't ever try crack :)
But seriously, I would agree with that statement you found on the web. It seems pretty innocent compared to other things, but the health effects especially over the long term are very real.
IMO if you're gonna quit, you have to go cold turkey. Anyone I have know who has gotten off ANY sort of addition did it cold turkey. Wait til you're ready and make a clean break. But it's getting cold out, so maybe I'll go make some hot tea. Sounds good. (kidding)

Cassie said...

I think that you'll find that it isn't as bad as you think. You make a good argument for dependence but did you ever think about how your body would function if you took away something else it needed, like vitamin A or D? You'd probably feel worse. Check out these links. www.healthcastle.com/tea.shtml

Ruth said...

Crap. Now I'll feel bad if I can't quit, and equally bad if I do quit. Either way, it seems, I am compromising my health.

Meaghan said...

YOU: Hi, my name's Ruth.


YOU: It's been 12 hours since my last caffeine fix.

CAF-ANON GROUP: (applause)

CAF-ANON GROUP MEMBER #1: You can do it, Ruthie!

CAF-ANON GROUP MEMBER #2: One day at a time, sister. One day at a time.

Angela said...

i yawned and yawned all through through this post. It's 10:25am. I'm off to make a pot of coffee. :)