8 comments on “My Caffeine Free Year

  1. I’ve gone for stretches without it, but like you — I love a good cup of joe. I’m slowly reducing my caffeine intake as well. I thought what I really wanted was just that hot coffee taste so decaf would be my answer (or so I thought). Decaf ain’t cutting it today — which tells me, its time for another purge. As for soda — I don’t do soda anymore unless we’re stopping somewhere for fast food. Normally its just water for me. Congrats on the kicking the caffeine!!

    • Coffee Coffee Coffee!

      I think when I go back to drinking some coffee I’m going to be a snob. It has to be really darn good coffee. I’ve heard homemade cold brewed coffee is simply awesome. That may be my requirement for starting caffeine again.

      The hardest part of not drinking caffeine was when my kids kept me up most of the night. I REALLY wanted to drink caffeine then. The second was when I was traveling. I realized I had a habit of wanted to drink caffeine when I go to trade shows, user groups and so forth.

  2. Hello Brian,

    I like the personal post – thank you for sharing your story and *trying* to make us better and healthier admins. I have caffeine on a regular basis, but only 1 espresso-based wussy latte/mocha/Chai-based Stabuxian concoction a day. Regular drip coffee actually is a lot more caffeinated than your standard espresso-based drink. I digress….

    Occasionally I miss out a few days on my drink and though I don’t specifically crave the caffeine, I do notice I’m more likely to get a headache. My hypochondriac inner complainer tells me it’s from caffeine-withdrawal, and self-medicating via my local Stabux home-base usually does the trick.

    If I’m thinking this, others might quickly join me, because who on Earth gladly and willingly wants to give up on their daily (socially-acceptable) drug of choice?

    I know caffeine is bad, I know the milk we put in our coffee is bad, but these are all just excuses. We really ought to get off the Cuppa-Joe wagon.

    In the interest of full disclosure I would like to know how your first day, first week, and first month without caffeine went. What did you experience? Were you distracted? Did you intentionally distract yourself (from the craving), and how? I think knowing what’s ahead of you on the “Kill Joe” journey helps you plan for it and be prepared for it, we’re system designers by day after all.

    Thanks again for sharing and the inspiration.


    • David,

      I love coffee. A love the smell, the taste, and warm feelings and I hold my mug bearing my children’s photos on it.

      That sad, I didn’t have any headaches from caffeine withdrawal… that I could tell. I took advantage of the fact that I was “detoxing” at the same time as I was spewing out from various orfices already. The pain from the caffeine headaches are quickly drowned out by everything else.

      I have quit caffeine before. It was common that I would go 3-4 weeks without caffeine as a “purge.” I did get headaches during those period.

      The headaches wouldn’t last all day (normally), but I would get a headache for the first two days. After that – I was fine. I still craved it like crazy. It’s difficult to know how much is from psychological habit and how much is physical desires.

      As for distraction, that’s tough to tell. I have ADD like… squirrel! Unless I’m very stimulated by something my attention wanders very easily. My best explanation is that my filter has too many big holes. I simply notice too much stuff. The only time I replace my filters is when I’m really “into” something.

      So yes I was distracted… but mainly from the smell of coffee coming from the break room and the neighboring cubes. For about 4 months I drank hot water instead of coffee. Same habit to get up, go to the kitchen, fill a mug, hold it for warmth… Not quite the same taste but I suppose it was something similar to those folks smoking sage cigarettes instead of tobacco.

      The best thing I could do was just say “no” and avoid coffee all together. No decaf (which isn’t truly 100% caffeine free anyways) and try to avoid places where caffeine was the only option. I drank a lot of water which on the plus side made me hydrated and saved me 2-3 bucks when going out to eat.

      • One burning question I do have though is… why consider going back to it, when you’ve done without for so long and see all the positive outcomes? I liked the ‘redirection’ of getting up for a cup of hot water, so you can still keep the habit. You can add ginger and/or lemon and then honey and you’ve got a decent-tasting hot drink that also helps fight off the lurgies (BOGO!)

        I understand it’s an addiction just like smoking, but it pains me when I see someone who’s “quit” smoking for months, maybe a year, and then goes back to it. Addictions are addictions, and it takes a continued conscious effort and life-style change, unfortunately there’s no Easy button for this one.

      • because I like the smell and taste of coffee. That’s really the only reason. I’ve been thinking of a series of rules to follow.

        1. Restrict to 1 cup per time period (I’m think a week. 1 cup a day is probably too much)
        2. I must make it myself to drink it. No store bought coffee. That includes grinding the beans myself
        3. I cannot drink it when I’m tired or not focusing. This isn’t a medication… it’s a treat.

        So I’m lumping it into the same category as a dessert. It’s okay to have one every once in a while, but it shouldn’t be a habit.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I have a similar problem. Quitting caffeine is one of the hardest things to do. It’s been a goal of mine but I’ve struggled. Reading your post definitely helps me feel motivated to work harder on this. Thanks again!

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