Addiction Defeated!

Love Coffee by Ahmed Rabea


Guys, I have a confession to make.

I love coffee.

I love hot mugs of coffee from the diner or to-go cups from the cute coffee shop down the street. I love waking up to find that my fella has made a pot of coffee and already has a dose all doctored up and waiting for me on my desk. I love drinking glass after glass of milky, sweet iced coffee in the summertime.

So when I decided to break myself of my caffeine addiction, I knew it was going to be rough. Coffee and I were such good friends…but I hated on the days when I couldn’t get my fix that I got that blinding, eyes popping out of my face, ready to kill someone kind of headache. I don’t really like taking medicine, and here I was with a full-blown physical craving for caffeine.  So here’s what I did:

Erin’s 7-Step Program to Breaking A Debilitating Caffeine Addiction

  1. My first step was to eliminate my afternoon cup of coffee. Definitely the easiest step to take.
  2. I then tried to see how long I could go before I needed my morning cup of coffee.  This was a mistake, because by the time I realized I needed the cup of coffee, the headache had already set in. Do not try this step.
  3. So I went back to the single cup of coffee in the morning.
  4. And then switched to black tea.
  5. And then started adding herbal tea to the black, slowly upping the herbal tea amount and lowering the black tea. This was the longest step, for sure. I was terrified to lower my black tea amounts, but I stayed strong.
  6. After a week of basically peppermint tea, I just stopped drinking a hot drink in the morning. I switched over to my water and smoothies, and stayed away from coffee and tea altogether.  No headaches, nothing!
  7. But then…I went to brunch with the fella, and couldn’t resist ordering a latte one Sunday morning. I was a little anxious about it, worried that the one hit was going to make me jittery, or leave me with a headache Monday when I didn’t have my coffee.

But it didn’t!  There were no physical side effects, no overwhelming desire for a cup of coffee the next morning, and best of all, no headaches.  I’m so stoked to realize that breaking the dependency on caffeine doesn’t mean that I have to shun coffee forever. It means it’s turning into one of those “special occasion” beverages, like champagne. Sure, I like champagne, but it’s not my go-to drink every night. It’s for celebrating and savoring. And now coffee is too.

Do you guys suffer at the hands of coffee or another caffeine-laden drink? Are you okay with it or trying to cut down? How much do you really love coffee? 🙂



  1. I really love coffee. It’s genetic, I swear. (my mom drinks a ton.)

    But most days — probably 90-95% of the time — I only have one cup, either on my way to work in the car or sitting around on a lazy weekend morning. So I don’t consider it a problem at all. (And there actually are health benefits related to drinking coffee.)

    That said I still get what you’re saying, I don’t want to sound like a caffeine-pusher. 🙂 I can and have gone without it — especially when staying with people who aren’t coffee drinkers (like my in-laws). And it’s fine. I could live without it if I had to. I don’t want to… but I could 🙂

  2. See, I was to the point where I couldn’t (see: major crazy headaches) and just didn’t want to have that kind of pressure from a beverage 🙂

    But I think coffee and I will have a long, happy life together now that I’m not so needy!

    1. Oh, totally, if I got to that point I would hope I could see it was a problem and wean myself off 🙂

      I am glad you’ll still be able to enjoy some with me when you visit 😉

  3. I had the same problem with headaches and I tried basically the same process for quitting my coffee addiction. It worked! I also enjoy the occasional cup of coffee now and then without side effects.

    I do find, however, that my mental attachment to caffeine is longer lasting. If I’m tired in the afternoon at work it’s hard to resist a cup of coffee or tea. If I know I’m going to be out late, then sometimes I have a cup before I go. I’m one of those people who needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night or I will pass out talking to you. 😦 It’s hard to love sleep in a city that never does.

  4. So how long did the 7-step program take you?

    My husband and I are pretty okay with our caffeine addiction (2 cups every morning), but recognize we’re addicted and may one day need to quit. So, I’m wondering how long to expect! (I definitely get the crazy headaches too, so that would be the scariest part of breaking the habit.)

  5. Taryn, it took me about five weeks, and most of that was on step five. I was so afraid of those miserable headaches that I just couldn’t take that last step and let go completely. It was another three weeks of no caffeine at all before I was ready to start trying it on occasion to see whether or not I could handle it in small doses. I think it helped to switch over to smoothies in the morning, because it’s broken the mental association that Deb mentioned. Now, instead of thinking about the hot cup of coffee in the morning, I’m thinking about something cold and fruity.

    1. Taryn, I also drink smoothies in the morning. I think the burst of natural sugar in the fruit helps kick start my day in a more natural way. Like Erin said it gives me something to look forward to in the morning or while I’m at the gym. I started adding almond butter for protein and that helps sustain the energy a little longer through the morning. I’ve also heard juicing has the same effect.

      I would say it took me about the same amount of time to kick the caffeine addiction give or take a week.

  6. Hmmm . . . this is really food for thought! I’ve had the all day every day caffeine habit previously (and the withdrawal headache is absolutely awful) but a number of years ago I realized it was not helping my mood and I got down to my morning coffee and a mid-afternoon diet coke . . with an occasional cup of coffee to pick me up. This past summer I gave up soda (bad for the bones) and didn’t skip a beat and made a ‘no caffeine after 3pm’ rule (enough sleep disturbances without it). But I can’t remember the last time I went without the morning coffee–except for a couple of medical tests when I had to fast and they sedated me or when I had a stomach bug. I’ve tried to explain to Dave that he can’t expect me to drive in the morning without drinking my coffee first (or at least not over 15mph) because my reaction time wouldn’t be great . . . .but I really can’t imagine getting to 9am without the coffee. This can’t be good! Oh well, I think I might use the ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ method of dealing w/ this.

  7. Kathy, I totally felt the same way…when Debbie and I were living together, it was like we were two zombies shuffling around until our first pot of coffee was finished brewing!

    It sounds like you’re definitely making your own headway into breaking the addiction, though, with all the eliminations you’ve made. I definitely don’t view coffee as the enemy, I just don’t want my body to be so physically dependent on something that’s not necessary for survival.

    I took a lot of baby steps to get there, but it’s sort of freeing to realize that I don’t have to have it!

  8. […] made me acutely and suddenly aware of my addiction and my denial (read about caffeine addiction here). Refined sugar and fat were crutches. Quitting made me even more irritable, moody and frustrated. […]

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