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Old 02-28-2016, 11:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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It has been 27 days since my last drink. Any of the veterans on here know that this is my latest of many attempts In my journey towards lifetime sobriety. This time, however, my approach is different. Or, perhaps, I might say that this is the first time that I actually have an approach. I have a plan. I even wrote it down. I feel a confidence that I never felt in past attempts. But I would call it a cautious confidence. It's a confidence that says, "I can do this, but I must always be humble and stay vigilant and never disregard the influence that alcohol has on me (or that it can have on me if I choose to allow it)." It's not the over-confidence I've naively declared in the past, which said, "Okay, I stopped drinking. I'll be fine from here on out. No worries."

I feel I am finally grasping the reality of the problem that I have. There are some people in this world who simply can not drink alcohol. I am one of them.

But now I am finding myself having similar conversations in my head when it comes to drinking caffeinated beverages that I have when it comes to alcohol. It's like my dejected AV is trying desperately to find new talking points to maintain some degree of influence over me.

Now I feel it worth mentioning that I have been a coffee lover since I was a kid. I love the taste of it, the smell of it. I tell myself that I love the "kick" it gives me. But no matter how much of it I consume throught the day, I can't help but realize that my energy levels never have any positive correlation. If anything, I feel more tired, more foggy-headed, less focused.

I also can't help but notice that my urge to consume caffeine as much as possible drastically increases when I am sober. This leads me to wonder if I am using it as a "crutch," and need to cut it out of my life entirely just as I do alcohol. After all, am I truly recovering from addiction if I am just substituting one for the other?

My doctor (who I consider a medical genius) has told me numerous times that caffeine ultimately doesn't help me and that I'm better off not consuming it. I don't doubt his opinion, but I also am having trouble doubting that voice in my head that keeps telling me, "Go on, have a cup of coffee. Take that 5-Hour Energy shot. Have a nice Coca-Cola. It will make you feel great!" It's a voice that sounds eerily familiar.

Now that I realize this post ended up way longer than I had initially expected, what do others think? Anyone have similar thoughts/experiences? And of course, suggestions!

Mike
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You are stronger than I am if you can give up coffee.

I'd suggest giving it up for a period of time and seeing if you feel better.
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You are an amazing person Mns please don't forget that big congrats on day 27
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Too much of anything is not good. Something
that I must have been taught as a child and does
have truth to it as an adult.

I like many do love coffee but a scare in
early recovery made me switch to decaf
because of the caffeine being too much
of a stimulant.

Im a little older now in recovery yrs
and life and do try to moderate coffee,
that's the good Community Coffee
and not decaf.

I had to learn how to remain sober
using a program of recovery first
and foremost before tackling other
issues that needed attention.

Meaning, it was suggested not to
quit everything all at once, but to
focus on staying sober first. Then
down the way, tackle something
else but to remember not to over
do the coffee like many of us have
done once we first entered recovery.
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I avoid caffeine a lot because of my anxiety but in small amounts it is fine for most people. Do you find yourself needing it? Is it something you look forward to? One thing that's brought up a lot in my smart group is how the anticipation of getting high/drunk was more rewarding than actually getting high/drunk, especially near the end. A lot of addiction is fueled by rituals for me and it took me a long time to stop substituting one substance or behavior for another.

It could be a crutch, it could also be helping you in a good way, early in recovery a lot of us need that extra energy. If you do decide to give it up be gentle with yourself and listen to your body.
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Old 02-28-2016, 01:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greens View Post
Do you find yourself needing it? Is it something you look forward to?
Yes. I crave it all day long, and consume it all day long. But I honestly think my tolerance is so high that it does either nothing or actually makes me feel worse.

As far as giving it up for a short period to see how I feel, I almost see that as similar to trying to moderate alcohol. Even if I make it a few days, eventually I'll crash and go right back to drinking absurd amounts of caffeine.

I also have given thought to the idea that trying to give up too much this early on would be risky. But I don't know.

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Old 02-28-2016, 02:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used to drink at least a pot a day. I'm down to 2 cups, as in measuring cups, a day now. My blood pressure likes it. I don't do soft drinks, or energy drinks. My only caffienation is coffee and a little tea. Hang in. The adjustment is harsh but happens eventually. You just lose the need for the stimulation. Life mellows.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Great job on Day 27 Mike!!
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I guess I'm lucky in that I can't drink caffeinated drinks like I did alcohol. I'd be horribly sick.

I think the litmus test is
  • is it negatively impacting your life or your health?
  • can you easily give it up?
  • are you obsessed about coffee in the same way you obssessed about alcohol?

for me, I gave myself a pass for the first 30 days or so to eat what I wanted etc.
Not drinking was hard enough.

I didn't want to deprive myself of something and have that be interpreted as an alcohol craving.

D
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
I think the litmus test is
  • is it negatively impacting your life or your health?
I really think it is having a negative impact on my life overall.

Quote:
  • can you easily give it up?
No. I have tried numerous times and failed.

Quote:
  • are you obsessed about coffee in the same way you obssessed about alcohol?
I would say yes. I may even be more obsessed with caffeine than I was with alcohol in that I think about it more and consume it much more often. Literally all day long.
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Many in recovery often switch one
addiction for another. It's not uncommon.
It's that addictive behavior that gets
many of us.

We could go from alcohol addiction to
sex addiction to gambling, eating addiction,
spending addiction, etc. Too much of anything
can cause more harm than good.

Learning healthier way to work thru
these addictions from councilors,
theraphists, those that can feed us some
good information about these disorders
and give us some helpful tools to apply
in our everyday life to rid ourselves
of these addictive behaviors.

It's all in the learning process to
change bad behaviors to healthier
ones to achieve a more balance
way of life.

Listen Learn Absorb Apply
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks Sharon I have brought it up to my therapist and he basically said that if it was something I really felt I needed to give up then go for it but not to beat myself up too much over it so I can stay focused on more important things.

I may try to gradually wean off of it over the course of several weeks. See how it goes.
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Perfect...!!!!!
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:21 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hey - I just wanted to post my experience here. Keep in mind that I don't have a problem with caffeine and it doesn't cause any negatives in my life (only positives!) so just wanted to give another perspective.

I drink only coffee and an occasional diet coke - I stay away from energy drinks.

A few times in my life I have given up caffeine for different reasons.

1. I didn't want to be "addicted" to a drug, even if it was coffee.
2. One time I was pregnant and gave it up for the entire pregnancy because I didn't want to pass on caffeine to the baby.
3. I did a health food cleanse once and it was required to be in the program.

It is definitely possible to give up caffeine, and it can be done - you may experience headaches the first few days, but it can be done.

HOWEVER, here's my take - I don't think coffee is bad for you. There are numerous numerous studies online and elsewhere about the health benefits of coffee. The last time I tried to give up coffee, I actually got depressed. I missed that morning ritual and the boost it gave to my brain as I was waking up. To me, coffee makes the mornings bearable and everything better. I don't really care if it's an addiction per se, because it's a positive thing in my life (alcohol, on the other hand - extremely negative!)

Here's an example of all the positives of coffee - I wanted to post this because I see so many times on this board that people think coffee is "bad for you."

13 Proven Health Benefits of Coffee (No. 1 is My Favorite)

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks Juno I know of the many documented benefits of coffee but it's not just coffee it's caffeine in general. My tolerance is so high that it does nothing except maybe decrease the quality of my sleep.
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
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We talked a lot about our addict brains and how many of us tend to fall back on other addictions in early recovery. My AV goes towards gambling and smoking, coffee, candy, and lots of food. I too am giving myself a pass on my other vices while I'm strengthening my early sobriety.

I have tried quitting all vices at once in the past and it usually ends up with no success in all areas for me. So I'm taking it one thing at a time this go round. I think if you have the strength and will to cut out coffee that's awesome! But I also think you shouldn't feel badly about it if you're not ready to cut it out.
I just absolutely looove coffee and I wasn't able to drink it at my worst drinking. I usually only drink 2-3 cups a day but some days a lot more. To me it's a much healthier crutch than my other ones and hands down preferable over drinking. 😊 so it gets a welcome pass from me.
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:11 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I had to cut way back caffeine, although I'm not as strict (or upset) if the urge comes to drink a glass of tea every few weeks. I can't drink coffee though, amps up my already frazzled nerves too much!

For some of us, our minds crave alteration so whether it's alcohol or caffeine, we will gravitate to it. I've been meaning to read that Healing the Addicted Brain book one day; think it would offer me some good insight.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:07 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks Delizadee I'm just going to try a very gradual tapering off approach with no rush.

Thanks Plure that book is on my reading list as well
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