A lesson in quitting.

I'm sitting at Costello's Travel Caffe right now: belly full of pastry, staring at my full cup of iced coffee on the table. The ice cubes have dissolved layering the glass with idle translucence, and my mouth can't fathom gulping down the once tasty, sought after deliciousness.

It occurred to me over the summer that I need to stop drinking coffee.


I've been making this mistake less and less lately; ordering coffee and remembering after the fact that it will sit unfinished until I can bring myself to throw it out. 

A few summers ago, I was getting tested for every disease under the sun because my stomach hurt all the time. I ate radioactive breakfast one morning so I could get a proper ultrasound to see if I had gastroparesis, I stopped eating dairy, had my blood drawn repeatedly to make sure I didn't have celiac—nothing. I was worried because I thought something was really wrong. It turned out I was just drinking way too much coffee. 

You'd think I would have taken that as my cue to quit, but I didn't. I just cut back drastically, and made sure I'd eaten before having my one cup a day. 

The last few months, coffee, even the little bit that I drink, has been turning my stomach. I noticed it at first when I would order a medium coffee and only drink 3/4s of it. The baristas at all of my regular haunts new that I would have to get an extra scoop of ice before I left to keep the java cold as long as possible. 

Thinking about quitting coffee forever has been so daunting. How do you rid your life of something that has been such a part of your identity for so long? I used to love coffee. I used to be a proper coffee snob. I could pass a blind taste test with flying colors. I had each shop's idiosyncrasies  memorized. All of the baristas and I were on a first name basis. 

I have a pinterest board devoted to coffee, and I used to look at it before bed and wish I was drinking coffee instead of preparing to go to sleep. 

Now I can't even look at it without feeling nauseous. (Ugh, Pavlov you sick sonofabitch!) I've been working on stopping drinking coffee all together.

At first I was classic Sugar Kane level delusional: 

I could stop any time I wanted to right? Wrong. I was totally addicted. Coffee used to be my lifeblood. I can't get any creative work done at home for some reason, move after move, I have to be out (usually at a coffee shop) to write any words down anywhere. I looked at my purchases like a twofer: I got to sit and drink something delicious, and I was renting space for my ass to locate for the next few hours. 

I was getting work done, and getting my real job's game face on.

Over the summer, I noticed I wasn't feeling well. I'm really sensitive to light and medium roasts because they're very bitter to the taste for me. I like my java dark as night, so it slides down smooth. I'd been going to the same place every day before work, and noticed I was drinking less and less coffee—breakfast or not. It was weird to think about, because their ice toddy's were so good.  

I knew what was happening, but I didn't want to believe it. 

Coffee cups were my extra appendage, and I was going to have to amputate. 

My rarely picky pallet had had enough of the thing it used to desire most. 

Quitting coffee has been one of the hardest things in my life. It's been such a huge important part of my writing and personal existence. My friends have associated me with coffee for as long as I can remember, and I've been slowly breaking it to each of them that I'm no longer able to drink it. 

At the end of the day, me not feeling awful is more important than holding on to remnants of my past lives. 

Think about your life, reader: is there something you've been holding onto for awhile that just needs to go? Mercury's in retrograde until October 9th. After that, sit down, make a plan, and get cracking. If you falter, (as I have, and am currently doing while writing this post) don't be too hard on yourself. The road to your new life may be bumpy, but it'll be worth it. 

Happy trails Elsafying your lives everyone, see you on the other side. 


Mac ReidComment