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Quitting Caffeine

Old 03-23-2017, 10:22 PM
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Quitting Caffeine

Being a bit of a young whippersnapper, I tend to develop an energy drink habit every time I stop drinking alcohol. Has anyone else given up caffeine at the same time?

Alcohol is death for me. I won't come back if I touch it again.
Caffeine is just a distraction that keeps me alert. But sometimes I lose focus and it messes with my sleep schedule.

I am considering giving up the energy drink habit. All thoughts are welcome.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:33 AM
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I don't drink coffee. I have usually given it up when I give up alcohol. No difficulties there. Any withdrawals masked by the booze withdrawals. I don't miss it.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:54 AM
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That,

Energy drinks are total poison.

Coffee in moderation..black for a nice bite and low calorie...helps me getr done.

I sleep usually 4 hours wake up for an hour or so and then sleep some more.

My sleep schedule sucks.

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:03 AM
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Energy drinks and coffee are very similar, particularly if you load your coffee with sugar

I'm just happy I'm not drinking alcohol because I would likely be dead if I kept up the last binge.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:21 AM
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Try holding off on the energy drinks after say 2PM. Might help you sleep. I don't drink any caffeine after 1PM. Glad you are not going back to drinking.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:23 AM
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I've given up nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and sugar all at once before now. It was too much!! What I did notice was that it certainly focused the mind away from cigarettes and alcohol, and even coffee/caffeine. I became obsessed with sugar! and the cravings for sugar were ridiculous!

This time round I've decided that nicotine and alcohol need to be primary focus and not to worry about anything else. I have had to cut down my caffeine intake though as nicotine doubles the rate by which the body depletes caffeine. I'd be flying now if I hadn't cut down!

Personally, I have never taken energy drinks and I wouldn't let my kids anywhere near them, they are so bad for you... but not as bad as the drink!! What I would say is that if you start to feel that you are replacing an addiction to alcohol with an addiction to energy drinks, you should knock them on the head.

Good luck

R.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:52 AM
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Coffee is (my) life. I have a couple of cups a day, and mix it in with tea every so often. Black.

Once in a while I get a latte with non-dairy milk. Sugary coffee drinks are about a once-a-week treat for me.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:33 PM
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I have give up coffee, but not caffine, for lent this year. I am a coffee drinker, I love drinking it at work sitting at my desk, when I'm driving, when I wake up, etc. I drink it black, nothing fancy.

I have noticed that since I stopped I am drinking a diet soda every other day, and black tea in the mornings, but my caffine intake is nowhere near where it was when on coffee. I dont feel any better or worse, but now that I think of it I have not felt as sluggish mid afternoon like usual.

I am very much looking forward to grabbing a cup of Dunkin on Easter Sunday when my quit is up, I just enjoy coffee.

Good luck with the energy drinks, I never really got into those, too much sugar for me.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:41 PM
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No energy drinks for me either but tea is my go to substitute. I'm having a cup now and it's almost 3am where I live. I just need to stop putting sugar in it and I'll be good to go.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:38 PM
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I have to give up coffee next. That's next on the agenda. I'm consuming way too much now.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:50 AM
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That, I gave up coffee for the first 3 months of my sobriety, mainly because the caffeine didn't help with my anxiety. I am 190 days sober today and since the beginning of February I have slowly began to drink coffee again. Energy drinks are no good for me though. My body could never really handle them.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:59 AM
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I gave up caffeine in total 2 years ago when I quit smoking - I never drank energy drinks; we have gotten people in the ER that were there for serious heart issues related to energy drinks and pharmaceuticals. Remember, caffeine is a drug too. Less harmful than alcohol to be sure, but still a drug.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:18 AM
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I've been making various failed attempts to get off caffeine for a while now... it's such a hard drug for me to get free of. Part of it is how universally socially-acceptable it is. Worse than alcohol even. Almost everyone responds with "Bug coffee is GOOD for you!!!" or "WHY would you quit COFFEE????"

And it's so interwound with my life... not just the physical addiction but the emotional, the psychological, the social addiction. I am definitely physically dependent. The headaches when I try to go cold turkey are excruciating. Weaning only seems to eventually lead me back to excess. It's like alcohol but worse because it is so 'innocent'....

But the few people I know who have quit it, ALL universally characterize their lives as better, their energy levels improved, their anxieties reduced, their GERD improved or entirely gone, their sleep patterns stabilized, their moods improved, their hormone balance regulated......

So I say - keep at it. Don't let the social pressure to engage in the world's most commonly-used drug. Listen to YOUR own voice and follow what feels right for your body, mind, spirit and life.

I'm gonna get free of it. I'm finding that fresh from the hospital with a newborn is an extra challenging week for it, but I"m going to keep at it.

I know that I will be happy I did.... just as happy and grateful as I am to be sober.

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Old 03-25-2017, 10:48 AM
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My wife gave up caffeine (she was a coffee fiend) because of high BP - she switched to decaf and still sweetened it as normal and did fine with it. Same with iced tea.
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Old 03-25-2017, 12:56 PM
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Yeah, I've never been a caffeine fiend. I'm just using energy drinks to replace alcohol, but I can't drink nearly at the rate I drank whiskey.

Perhaps I will pick a day and replace my energy drink consumption with something more healthy like decaf green tea.

Either way alcohol is #1 priority. And today marks 13 days.
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Old 03-25-2017, 12:58 PM
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Caffeine, for those that don't know, is a diuretic. It causes your pituitary gland to secrete less ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) which is why it makes you pee. It dehydrates you in a similar way that alcohol dehydrates you.
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:31 PM
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it's also a sympathomimetic agent; it stimulates your entire fight or flight response.

For those of us who were / are prone to chronic use of large amounts of this stuff - energy drinks, caffeineated sodas, strong coffee... etc... it can get to the point where we have basically spent our entire lives in "GO" mode.

It has a half-life of 12 hours, so if you're drinking several coffees or energy drinks per day - you're waking with the stuff still in your system. Over the years and even (for some of us) the decades - it builds and builds and stands to reason that your system is over-flooded with cortisol and other stress-response hormones and chemicals. You begin to actually ALTER your whole system. You put yourself in high-alert mode and essentially wire yourself into semi-permanent anxiety.

If you were like me - and also used vast amounts of alcohol, frequented stimulant drugs and maybe used a host of dopamine and seratonin influencing drugs.... then you put your mind and body through a years-or-decades-long cocktail of rewiring for stress, combat, anxiety, hyper-vigilance.

After all of that..... we get sober and find ourselves changed..... maybe a few coffees now get you sweating in odd ways. Maybe you shake. Maybe your social anxiety is all keyed up all the time. Maybe you're having a hard time working out. We take away the depressant side of the equation that we gave our bodies for years (or decades) but now we still keep and maybe in some ways even up the ante on stimulants......

Yet we have a hard time stopping. We're emotionally, psychologically and physically dependent on this stuff.

Friends and family and even fellows in recovery play the enabling role "ahh, its ONLY caffeine". "energy drinks are no big deal"!! "Coffee is GOOD for you"..... but they aren't looking at the big picture. They aren't us. They maybe didn't take caffeine to the extreme that we have. Some of us (me, guilty) have been at this since discovering Mountain Dew and JOLT cola back in the eighties. The original gateway drug was actually caffeine, and sugar. 30+ years of this stuff. Often in binge amounts. And did we ever really go so much as a few days or a week without it?

Our bodies are a system. An adaptive system. A system that naturally seeks a certain optimal balance - but we modern humans have learned to throw copious amounts of strange and unexpected things into our bodies. The system adapts. It responds. In many cases, the adaptation seems to be 'harmless' or it simply works. But some of us have begun to look at and question whether 'harmless' is really true. Some of us look at it and say to ourselves 'sure, it "works" - but is this how I want my body to work?'.

Caffeine (and all the other crazy crap they dump into the various 'proprietary blends' of energy drinks) are not a part of the balance our bodies seek. They weren't there for the tens of thousands of years human beings evolved. Sure, maybe we'd occasionally happen on a stimulant food. Use it in ceremony or for a utilitarian outcome - but somewhere along the curve we began overwhelming our bodies with vast quantities of substances that our bodies were never really meant to have as a regular diet - and we've labeled it 'normal' and called it 'good'.

If caffeine or any substance has impact on your body, your mind, your emotions, your spirit or your experience of life that isn't in alignment with the full enjoyment of your life - then it doesn't really matter how 'socially acceptable' or 'good for you' it may be; for YOU, it is an impairment of your life.

At least - that's how I've come to see it. I'd like to drink coffee in moderation. But at the same time, I know how moderation has worked for me with literally EVERY other addictive substance. And also - I've found that after managing to eliminate EVERY other addictive substance, I've looked back on and realized with deep gratitude that I'm fortunate to have left it behind.

I'm pretty well convinced it'll be the same with the DRUG caffeine.

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Old 03-26-2017, 11:14 AM
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Caffeine and alcohol also irritate the bladder, stimulating urination
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:16 PM
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Thanks, Owl.

I'm sorry, I come off as abrasive when I don't intend to. I'm just looking for opinions, especially with a scientific approach (as you wrote out so well).
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Old 03-26-2017, 02:00 PM
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ThatWasTheOldMe, he wasn't aiming that at you. FreeOwl has given caffeine a lot of thought.

I was able to quit by tapering, otherwise the headaches are crippling. Like grayghost's wife, I slowly switched to decaf by combining it with regular until I was successfully weaned off. I started with 50/50 half caf, and gradually got down to nearly no regular caffeinated brew. That was in early sobriety, it just made me way too jumpy. Then I quit completely for religious reasons for a couple months...

Now I'm back to two espressos a day. Any more or less and I start having physical issues. It's a bugger.
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