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Caffeine

Tomorrow, Monday, December 5th, marks four full weeks since I first attempted to very, very slowly wean myself off the wonder-drug commonly known as caffeine (more commonly known as “sweet ambrosia of the gods”). The first two weeks were easy enough: rather than consuming my normal 40 ounces of coffee, I dropped down to 32 (two 16-ounce cups, which makes it easier to divide than, say, drinking one 16-ounce cup, then adding another 4 afterward). I suffered almost no withdrawal symptoms and, in fact, felt an immediate reduction in the chronic heartburn that has seemed to plague me pretty much since I reached my all-time regular peak of 72 ounces daily (during that exciting 18 credit hour semester in the spring of 2004, which was followed by getting all the free coffee I wanted in Seattle.

The second two weeks started a little rougher: I switched from 32 ounces of coffee to a 16-ounce cup of coffee in the morning, and a 16-ounce of rank, fetid green tea around mid-morning. It was not nearly as bad as the 36 hours I spent caffeine-free in Coralville, during which time I suffered from chronic, violent migraines and rarely could pull myself off the full-body vibrating massager on the extremely comfortable couch. However, I did suffer from occasional, mild headaches every few afternoons. Those stopped by the end of the first week, and this last week has been just fine.

On Monday, I take it to the next level: no coffee, just 32 ounces of putrid green tea every day for another two weeks. My theory is that nothing will convince me to quit caffeine more quickly than having to consume that much green tea on a daily basis. At the end of this two weeks, I will take it to the second-to-last step: two weeks of green tea in the morning, followed by a delicious mint tea I used to peddle while working in Seattle. Two weeks later, I go to mint tea full-time, and, theoretically, I should be completely free of caffeine.

I love coffee, I love tea (I love the java jive and it loves me—that’s right, I know you all missed my trademark references to the 1940s jazz-pop catalog!), but I’m getting a little tired of the heartburn keeping me up at night and leading to generally unrestful sleep in the unlikely event that I actually can fall asleep. I’ve changed my diet in a variety of ways over the past year, and that helped slightly, but the coffee-and-green-tea switch produced a night-and-day difference within a few days. So it’s either consume so much caffeine that I never sleep at all, or cut it out altogether. I’ve made my choice.

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