Quitting coffee

I switched my coffee out for tea today. After a few weeks of difficulty falling asleep, an unpleasant burning sensation in my stomach when drinking coffee, and a few days overshooting the elusive mark of “moderation,” I realized that I should just stop. It’s a ritual I’ve performed for years and years, so substituting tea will help give me something to do with my hands in the morning and taper off the caffeine a little bit instead of going cold turkey.

I always thought, why quit? I love coffee, and supposedly it’s good for you, so why worry about it? I figured it was a habit I would never quit, and I was fine with that. We change. I like the concept of “strong opinions, weakly held,” as Paul Saffo said. Things change, we learn things, and we can either cling to old ideas or respond to new information and new developments with new beliefs or opinions. Now I am strangely determined to quit. My brain will have to respond organically to adenosine! So be it. Now that I am examining it (and suffering the withdrawal headache), it also makes me uncomfortably aware of the physical nature of my dependence. If civilization collapses, this will be a problem. And in the unlikely event that civilization does not collapse, what do I do if I could actually use a mild stimulant to get through a particularly excruciating day, if all caffeine does is help me feel normal? Score cocaine?

We’ll see how it goes! I find myself curious to see what it will feel like to fall asleep and wake up without caffeine. Maybe it will be better, maybe it won’t! Maybe I will abandon this resolve quickly – honestly, the stakes are rather low. I intend to stick with it for at least a month, and then decide whether or not to go on.

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