When I Realized I Had Become A Coffee Addict

“It’s only a cup.”

By 1:00 yesterday afternoon, I was exhausted. Why? I didn’t have any coffee. When I contemplated it, I realized it had been several months since I had gone a day without a cup. “When did this happen?” I thought.

Five years ago, if someone had asked me how I liked my coffee, my answer would have been as far away from me as possible. Four years ago, I was drinking it only on those days where I was working from 6 am until after midnight, and I loaded it with soy milk and artificial flavor to keep it from actually tasting like coffee. Three years ago, I realized my ‘every now and then’ had become more regular, and I stopped entirely before addiction formed (relying on sugar to get through those long days is not a recommended alternative). After a slight period with withdrawal symptoms, I was free!

A year ago, I became a ‘now and then’ coffee drinker again. I moved outside of the area where I worked, and suddenly I was regularly in the car for 2+ hours in the morning. And some mornings I needed alert aid. Most days I didn’t. When the COVID quarantine began, I found that, like many, my life suddenly existed mostly in front of my laptop. I was working from home full-time, my graduate classes went from in-person to online, and all of the campaign volunteering I had been doing went from in-person canvassing to phone and textbanking. In the beginning, I took this in stride. I hadn’t spent a full day at home in years, and it was going to be a nice *short* break from reality (right…short…).

When I pictured sitting down in front of my computer for a full day of hard work, I idealized the image of my laptop, a cup of coffee, my planner, and some inspiring change the world quote from Instagram. So that’s what I did. I pulled out the French press, made a cup and got to work.

And then I did that the next day and the next day and the next. Dalgona coffee hit the Instaverse — and I just had to make it (it was terrible). That opened the door to trying more: what brand of coffee do I like? What about creamers? Iced or hot? Sitting in the fridge for a few hours or overnight? What do the blogs tell me?

Eventually, it became a habit. I would buy my creamer every week at the grocery store. Each morning, I would make a batch of coffee and put my half in the refrigerator so I could drink it iced a few hours later. It became part of the routine. I did think about how it might be staining my teeth, but because I usually wasn’t even finishing a full cup, I wasn’t worried too much about addiction.

Late this summer, when COVID cases in Massachusetts dropped, and I found myself enjoying the outdoors a bit more (still away from other people), I started to enjoy grabbing something at a coffee shop on the way.

Yesterday, that was my plan. I had a long drive planned and was going to grab a coffee on the way. Then something came up at home. I could not leave the house, and with it went my coffee. I didn’t have a headache, but I was exhausted and quite irritable. Was it the coffee?

I decided to go for a run. Twenty minutes later, I was tired again. I got on my yoga hang, and I promptly fell off my yoga hang. I opened my laptop to do a bit of homework and accomplished absolutely nothing. When I was too tired to function and decided to go sleep at 8:30 pm, I realized it was definitely the coffee.

I could use this opportunity to make a clean break, but I won’t. I am accepting my fate and going to start the water.

Cat lady & broccoli enthusiast

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