Sober City – March 12, 2011
Coffee helps. Like millions of people on the planet I enjoy the java on a regular basis. It’s delicious, it packs a punch and in these turbulent times of sobriety when all I really want is a nice glass of Cabernet and a shot (or 12) of good rum, coffee helps. I’ve been drinking coffee for as long as I can remember (I’m way too narcissistic to refuse something often referred to as a cup of Joe) and I have definitely at least doubled my caffeine consumption since I’ve banished the booze. This can obviously be diagnosed as a simple case of trading one addiction for another and while that might seem to be the case, it’s not like I was caffeine free before this experiment and picked up coffee simply as a coping mechanism. I’ve pumped a Grande something or other into my system every day for years now and would most likely have way more of a tough time giving up the allure of the green and white siren that is the Starbucks mermaid then alcohol any day.
Like many people, I just don’t feel “right” till I’ve had that first cup of coffee in the morning and I constantly associate it with meeting up with friends or curling up on the couch with a good book. It doesn’t even really make me feel energized anymore so to speak, it’s just something I’m convinced I need everyday. I even yawn while I’m drinking it sometimes which should be entirely impossible and most certainly can’t be a good sign, yet I keep drinking it because it makes me feel good and it’s part of my comfortable daily routine. So how is that any different than “needing” a pint of beer on a summer patio or having a glass of wine at dinner? The answer: It’s not. In fact, the only real difference is that skipping the regular caffeine kick in the morning will probably have an actual minor physical affect where as passing on the pint will only make me drink more water (or coffee).
I know I’m not making any startling revelations here or discovering amazing new realities that no one was ever aware of. Alcohol and caffeine are both drugs and can both become mentally and physically addictive in high enough doses over a long enough period of time, but I truly believe that in moderate amounts, even on a regular basis, they can be enjoyed as a positive part of your life. It just has to be something you consistently choose to have instead of something you always need to have. We owe it to ourselves to realize why we do the things we do and make sure we’re the ones making the choices and not just operating on auto pilot. Habitual activity is easy to form and hard to change, especially the kind of habits that have quick short term benefits, but we’re the ones who form them so we’re also the ones who can change them. Coffee in the morning, drinks after work, popcorn during a movie, they’re all habits we created and they’re all habits we can change. We just have to make the choice and stick with it. It’s a hell of a lot easier to say then to do but it is possible. Giving up alcohol for a whole year may be unnecessary and predesigned to encourage unrealistic extreme behavioral ideals (and possible excessive drinking in the future) but I need to ride this wicked beast until it’s twisted legs refuse to carry me any further in order to steal it’s secrets and capture it’s soul! I do miss drinking and nothing is going to take my mind away from the day when I shall once again enjoy the nector of the gods with childlike wonder and newly enlightened appreciation. Until then, coffee helps. Cheers!


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