It’s been almost two weeks since I stopped drinking coffee – a painful process that ruins my morning ritual. I loved waking up to a mug of coffee that was freshly ground and prepared by my better half. I loved its smell and the habit of slowly drinking it for the first four or so hours of the day. It was my way of telling my brain that it needs to wake up and start working on whatever task I had planned for that morning (usually something that involves writing).
From time to time, at least once per year, I’ve been taking breaks from caffeine. These usually come right after a period when I’ve exaggerated with the dose and switched from one cup per day (half of which is actually milk) to two or even three. It’s an old exercise of mine, probably weird and hard to explain to others, but I’ll give it a try.
I do this for a couple of reasons:
1. I don’t want to feel that anything else has control over me, I don’t want to be addicted. In case sh*t ever hits the fan and these things cease to exist, I’ll be prepared. I know, I’m only talking about coffee, it’s not the end of the world, but think about all the people who become grumpy if their daily rituals are messed up.
2. Going cold turkey for a few weeks will make me fully appreciate it again, when I eventually do go back to drinking it. This is not a permanent decision.
This is also the reason why I’ll often go out underdressed in the middle of the cold winter weather, without a jacket, or wearing sneakers when it’s snowing (which leads to everyone else looking at me like I’m a homeless person or just plain crazy). I’ve also been on and off intermittent fasting in the past years, without even knowing it’s called this way.
Going back to coffee, the first day without it was the hardest – I tried to do my usual training and gave up after running only 5k – considering I’m normally able to run at least 30 km without any prior notice, that training was frustrating. All the more reasons why getting myself off coffee is a good thing to test my actual limits, without any external dependencies!
This is a useful stoic exercise as well. Voluntarily making my life harder and stripping it of all those things we take for granted leads to greater self-control and mental strength.
What day-to-day small addictions do you enjoy?
P.S. this text was initially published in Friday Read – the newsletter that I send once per week to 1,000 people who are eager to learn more and read about neuron-stretching ideas & resources. Find out more about it from here.