Caffeine Free

I have been caffeine-free for 17 days now. The hard part is over. The headaches and muscle aches of caffeine withdrawal have passed. All that remains is a mid-afternoon weariness that I fight with physical activity, usually a walk to get my blood flowing.

I gave up caffeine during the peak stress period of our house-hunting. I was stressed and anxious that I suspected all the caffeine I consumed contributed to that anxiety. I don’t know this for certain. But I had given up caffeine before, for over seven years, and I seemed to recall feeling less anxious during that time. So I gave it up again.

I have never been a coffee-drinker, although I’ve tried to be once or twice. My caffeine of choice is a can of Coke. For a while, a few years back, I’d also drink Red Bull, but gave that up over a year ago. Still, I drank a lot of Coke–to the point where I could have a Coke before bed and it wouldn’t really affect me. I’d doze off as soon as my head hit the pillow.

When I gave up caffeine the first time, sometime on Valentine’s Day 2003, I recall that I went through withdrawal symptoms (mostly headaches) for about three weeks. That is what I expected this time, and it proved to be slightly less than that. As for the anxiety, that seemed to easy more rapidly than the headaches. Of course, that could simply be a placebo effect, but it doesn’t really matter since I feel less anxious than I did.

Still, I enjoy Coke, and I can only tolerate Sprite in small doses. So, like I did during my first 7-year stint off caffeine, I’m back to drinking Caffeine-Free Coke. As far as I can tell, it tastes no different than regular Coke, just without the caffeine.

I find it interesting how I mentally build up to these changes. I thought about giving up caffeine for months. I knew that I would do it eventually, I just needed to built up enough mental rational to do it. Then, I woke up one day and decided the time was right, and I went cold-turkey. I was probably a bit more moody during the two weeks or so it took for my brain to get used to life without caffeine, but that was mitigated somewhat by the reduction in anxiety as well.

Now, with our house sold and the new house purchased, with all that’s left is the move itself, the stress of that process has also dropped dramatically and I feel a whole lot better. Yet I have no desire to go back to caffeine. I don’t know at this point if I will make it 7 years, or 7 more days. This is a day-by-day thing. But I’m glad I did it. I feel better without the caffeine.


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