Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Giving it up for Lent

I had been drinking too much coffee.

It was the begining of Lent.

I put these two facts together and came to a logical conclusion to give up coffee for Lent.

Had I known how horribly unpleasant withdrawing from caffeine would be, I would never have  considered going cold turkey like that. I would have devised a careful plan to cut down gradually over a suitable amount of time and gently beat the addiction into a manageable habit. I entered into my " give up coffee for Lent" plan with ignorant optimism and found out the hard way how it feels to suddenly be deprived of a substance to which your body has become overly familiar with and possibly reliant on.

The first day without caffeine was absolutely fine. No adverse effects. No cravings. It was day two when the headache hit. The headache could not be ignored. The headache lasted three whole days. The headache was not even the worst of it.

I thought I must be coming down with flu. My muscles ached with a deep niggling ache that made it almost impossible to get comfortable or to have a restful nights sleep. The ache bore into joints as well adding to my misery. I didn't want to do anything and doing nothing was still ridiculously difficult. These symptoms persisted without any other signs of flu developing.

It was during the night when sleep eluded me and I feared I might never be at peace in my own body again that I started searching the internet on a quest for find answers for my malady.

Caffeine withdrawal. It was as simple as that. 

I could have abandoned my self denial plan and launched into "moderate coffee consumption" but I was worried that that might lead straight back to over indulging to a dangerously high degree. I decided to persevere... to remember the relentless aches that had plagued me for days and use than as a deterrent against returning to my old ways.

The aching muscles and joints subsided about a day after the headache lifted. I didn't feel fantastic but I was OK. 

There are still many days before Easter and I am not even going to think about drinking coffee until the period of Lent is over. In the meantime I am drinking occasional cups of green tea or decaffeinated coffee.

I miss the smell of coffee and I miss the ritual of a coffee break  (green tea break just doesn't have that same impact) but I am convinced that what I am doing is for the best.

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