Tag: caffeine

Caffeine Crisis — Averted

close up photo of coca cola bottle
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

When I woke up this past Saturday morning, I had been caffeine-free for 236 days and by about 2 pm or so I had pretty much decided that I was going to need caffeine to make it through the rest of the day. It started with a bad night’s sleep. I mean really bad, as it not more than 2 hours. I woke up feeling sluggish and tired. Saturday was a busy day. We had friends in town, and Kelly’s brother visited for a few hours. Grace had gymnastics practice in the afternoon. And in the evening, we had a get-together with friends before the holidays. Indeed, this was the last weekend before we head on our holiday vacation and there was a lot to do.

Normally, I get in a nap each day or I get a little grouchy. But on Saturday, there was no time for a nap. I tried napping while waiting in the car during Grace’s gymnastics practice, but without much luck. With all of this going on, Kelly kept checking to see if I was okay because she knew I hadn’t slept well, knew that I got grouchy when I didn’t nap, and knew that we had this party to go to in the evening. It was then that the idea of breaking my caffeine streak became something more than just a fleeting idea. I knew that if I had some caffeine, I’d be alert for the party. At the same time, as someone addicted to caffeine, I also knew that I couldn’t possibly have just one caffeinated drink and that by committing to having caffeine, I was breaking my streak and opening myself up to reverting back to my excessive caffeine-drinking ways.

I told myself that I’d get some caffeine while Grace was at gymnastics. Instead, I tried to distract myself for 2-1/2 hours. I watched an episode of The Expanse. I listened to some of All Systems Red. I turned on one of my favorite Pink Floyd albums and listened to Meddle in its entirety. That got me through the until gymnastics practice was over.

When we got home, it was 4:30pm and the party was at 5:45pm. I took a hot shower, listening to music to try to keep myself awake. It was unusually mild out, and after the shower, I went out onto the deck with a beer, and listened to the theme from Rocky, “Gonna Fly Now,” on repeat at full volume until I’d finished the beer. When that was done, I definitely felt like my energy level had come up a bit.

We got to the party at 6 pm and got home around 10:30pm. I then stayed up talking with our visitors for another two hours. Now normally on a Saturday night, I’d be in bed by 9 o’clock. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed after midnight on purpose. But I did on Saturday. I slept better than I had Friday night.

I woke up on Sunday and the caffeine crisis had been averted. I’d made it through a day that I was certain I was going to cave and managed to get through the day without any caffeine, extended my streak to 237 days caffeine-free. It was not easy. It’s funny how little I cared about caffeine once I got through the hard part of giving it up. I had no craving for it for months, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, I nearly went back to it. As I write this, I feel pretty good that I managed to stave off the urge to cave to caffeine. But it is always a challenge when that urge for caffeine arises, and I know that the next time, I may not be so lucky. I think that’s why they say: one day at a time.

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100+ Days Caffeine Free

This week was so busy that I completely missed that July 27 was my 100th day caffeine free. I gave up caffeine back on April 18, 2021. This isn’t the first time I’ve given it up (I gave it up for 7 years from 2003-2010), but I think it is the furthest I’ve gotten since. I’m well past the point where I even crave caffeine. I can watch other people drink it and be happy with my own caffeine-free drink. About the only think I miss is the boost it gave me in the mornings. But my morning walks have replaced that, and I enjoy them more than I did the caffeine.

This is me patting myself on the back, and congratulating myself for being caffeine-free for a little over one hundred days. I will return you now to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Root Beer to the Rescue

A can of A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer

Root beer is the best of all the soft drink. I am re-learning that now. On Sunday, April 18, 2021, I gave up caffeine cold-turkey. This was not the first time I’ve done this. I did it for a 7-year stretch from 2003 – 2010. And if you search the blog you’ll find other attempts. I love my Cherry Coke Zeros (and just plain Coke even more), but I was finding it difficult to sleep. This was the reason I gave up caffeine for 7 years and so, my desire to sleep won out over my addiction to caffeine. And it is an addiction. I can’t have just one Coke. I need to have them all.

The withdrawal period was tough, but I’d been through it before and after two weeks, I no longer felt the headaches, or shoulder or neck aches, and the moodiness lifted. My morning Cokes were replaced with orange juice, but I needed something during the day. Of course, in the past when I gave up caffeine, I’d just turn to caffeine-free Coke. But I don’t want those calories. That was what was great about Cherry Coke Zero. I liked it, but didn’t have to worry about calories.

A&W Root Beer is caffeine free, and so I’d pick one up occasionally on an afternoon walk. Root beer is like a dessert to me. I love it, especially when it is ice cold. I think of it as a summer drink. There is a passage fairly early in Stephen King’s 11/22/63 where the main character drinks a root beer, and his description captures my feelings every time I have one. Which is why I say that root beer is the best of all soft drinks.

But root beer is heavier in calories than even Coke. I’d seen diet root beers, but shunned them because it seemed to me that the fullness of a root beer would be lost in a diet version. Once again, desperation kicked in. I don’t have many vices. I’ve never smoked (never even tried). I don’t drink much alcohol. My vice is my soft drinks, and I enjoy them, chemicals be damned. I found over the last few weeks that water wasn’t cutting it. Juice and milk, both of which I enjoy, have too many calories to make them a useful substitute. So one day, on a walk, a picked up a bottle of A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer and girded myself for disappointment.

Instead of disappointment, however, I tasted surprise. Indeed, I was very much surprised. I could not tell the difference between a regular root beer and the zero sugar version. This was a godsend. A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer would be my new soft drink. Indeed, if I’d known how good it tasted, I might never have gotten into Coke Zero in the first place. As it turned out, the local Safeway had a sale–buy 2, get 2 free on 12-packs of soft drinks, including A&W Zero Sugar, so I picked up 48 cans of the stuff, which should get me through a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling pretty good about having given up caffeine. I always wonder if it will stick, and I know if it doesn’t, I’ll be right back up there maxing out on caffeine every day. But I slept well last night, and that helps. To be honest, however, I’m not sure what helps more, the sleep, or knowing that I can still enjoy root beer without the caffeine, or the calories.

Who Needs a Scale?

Life goes on, even amidst the chaos of moving. Back in April I gave up caffeine. On May 28, I started a diet in an effort to lose weight again. For this effort, I followed the same plan that worked so well for me the first time I tried to lose weight: I limited myself to 1,600 calories a day. I took lessons I’ve learned from my first (and second) attempts at this and it seemed to be working, but I couldn’t be sure. That’s because of the move.

The fancy digital scale I’d bought a while back was packed away. I had not other means of measuring my weight to see if the diet was, in fact, working. Over the weekend, while unpacking some boxes, I located the scale–and the batteries were dead. The AAA batteries we had were packed away in other box, and I had no idea where that box was located, so off I went to the store for some AAA batteries.

But the batteries (and the scale, for that matter) failed me. Something within the scale’s digital mechanism had given up the ghost. No matter how many fresh AAA batteries I tried, the scale would not work. I decided I had to get another scale. I further decided that this one would be purely mechanical.

In the meantime, life went on. We unpacked. I worked. We attended soccer games, and end-of-year school picnics. Each time I ate or drank something, I diligently wrote it down in one of the Field Notes notebooks I carry around with me. I felt like I was making progress, but I couldn’t know for sure, not without a scale to tell me one way or the other.

Then I had to go into the office for a training session. I mostly work from home these days, but I headed into the office. As I passed through the office toward the desk I’d reserved, someone I hadn’t seen in a while, said hello, and then, tilted their head, raised and eye brow, and said, “Did you lose weight?”

A sample size of one is no indication that the diet is working, not in absence of physical measurement. But when I arrived at the training session, the person leading the training, who I also hadn’t seen in a while also asked me if I’d lost weight.

Two people, in completely separate circumstances, asking me if I lost weight was promising, especially in absence of a scale. I started to hope for three, but didn’t want to press my luck.

This did get me thinking that perhaps I don’t need a scale after all. Perhaps the best way to know if my diet is working is not to worry so much about the daily measurements. Instead, I’ll just occasionally visit with people I don’t see on a regular basis, and wait for some comment. The frequency of such comments are probably just as good as any scale’s measurement might provide. And more rewarding, too.


It was seven years ago today that I gave up caffeine cold turkey at the suggestion of friend. I was complaining to him that I had a lot of trouble sleeping and he noted how much soda I drank and thought giving up caffeine would help. I was on the wagon for nearly seven years and finally broke that streak back in November during NaNoWriMo.

I woke up this morning with a very hangover-like headache, which was odd since I was not drinking yesterday. I tried figuring out why I would have such a headache and I realized it was because I wasn’t drinking yesterday. I’d run out to get a Coca Cola in the morning and then hadn’t had any caffeine since, so that nearly 24-hours had passed. Of course, I like to be scientific about these things, so I set up an experiment. When I got into the office I stopped to get my usual Coca Cola. I took a sip, and within 60 seconds, the headache that had been pounding at me since I had awakened was gone.

If I had the will power I like to think I have, I would never have broke my streak in the first place. But having broken it, I have to say that an occasional caffeine headache is a small price to pay for the ability to drink Coca Cola from the fountain again.

Spoken like a true addict.