Coffee Habit Chronicles

January 20, 2012

A habit that began at age twelve. One fed by my mother who brought me coffee in bed every morning throughout my teenage years.

An addiction. Something I needed to wake up every morning. Something I got withdrawal from if I didn’t get my fix.

More than just a habit or an addiction, though, coffee was a part of m, a coffee gene if you will.

My desire for coffee defined me like nothing else. The rich, creamy brew lured me to activity. It encouraged interaction. It simply had to be more than just a stimulating beverage.

Developing the Coffee Habit

Before this daily habit started, I sipped from my parents’ daily habits. My 6’4” dad used to say, “Coffee will stunt your growth. Good thing.” He started drinking coffee at age twelve too. The coffee gene runs deep in my family.

In sixth grade, we sang the “COFFEE” song. I remember being resentful of a song with which I did not agree. After all, how could I know “coffee is not for me” at age 11? Didn’t really matter anyway. I already knew I liked coffee.

In college, I worked at 7:30AM every Saturday morning. When I realized I never saw my co-workers until after 10:00AM and at least four cups of coffee, I finally fully realized the impact the beverage had on my morning personality.

Grown Up Coffee Habit

I remember needing a cup of coffee so badly at work one morning, I skipped cleaning out my mug from the day before. Maybe the hot liquid would dissolve the brown crust on the bottom of the mug and kill any lingering germs. Turns out coffee mugs are a major source of bacteria. Now, my mugs are usually clean.

At age 26, I got pregnant with my oldest son and lost my craving for coffee (along with a desire for food in general). Maybe I no longer needed to drink coffee every morning. But, when my son was six months old and stopped nursing, back to the addiction I obediently went.

Conceding the Coffee Habit

At some point, I gave up trying to give up coffee. I simply decided I could not overcome the power of that aroma that seemed to be everywhere. The mall, restaurants, church… I couldn’t get away. Time to finally admit I didn’t want to get away.

I was never shy about admitting my addiction to coffee. With the onslaught of coffee houses throughout the country, I realized I was not the only person living under the direction of a coffee gene.

Balancing the Coffee Habit

About 25 years after the addiction began, my body demanded I make some significant health changes. One of the culprits, you probably guessed it, was my coffee habit. With my adrenals in overload, I better understood the negative impact of a high level of caffeine constantly in my system.

The past five years have produced an amazing change in my health through a variety of factors, not the least of which is breaking the coffee habit. Drinking coffee is now a deliberate choice and not a need that controls my personality.

I think I actually enjoy coffee more now than when I drank it constantly. Coffee shop outings are a treat, as is an extra cup or two on the weekend. In fact, “Let’s Have Coffee” now exists as more than just an addiction-feeding frenzy. My coffee habit now serves to connect my life in many highly beneficial ways. And I’m glad for this evolution of my coffee habit over the past 30 years.

12 Responses to “Coffee Habit Chronicles”

  1. randleman Says:

    Wow! I consider myself a conniseuer of coffee. I roast and grind my own. I can't imagine having to give it up like you had to.

    I take the occasional fast from it, and mix in a lot of tea as well (today is a green tea day for me), so I'm not apparently to the level of addiction that you were.

    Thanks for sharing. It was enlightening to read this!

  2. I'm not addicted to coffee, but I don't really understand why that is – I drink it pretty often. It seems like I *should* be addicted. But I've gone days without drinking it and never felt any different. To me, it's more of a winter thing: drinking something warm on those cold mornings. But I'm proud of you for being aware of your own reactions and relationship with coffee.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      I'm quite impressed that you are not addicted to coffee. It's a gift. (My husband has that gift too.) Even though I think I'm over the addiction, I still go back to it somewhat easily on "bad" days. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. PhuongLe Says:

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  4. Justin Mazza Says:

    Hi Kari,
    My GrandMother still makes her coffee every morning but she said she doesn't have any after 2:00pm. I would drink half a cup of coffee in the morning in High School but I didn't do it religiously. It wasn't until I began working full-time (age 19) that I began drinking coffee everyday.

    I was on and off coffee since then and going crazy with it when I started my blog last year. The problem came when I wasn't getting restful sleep and my moods were so poor that I had to do something about it. So I put the coffee maker away and switched to tea. Yes, tea still has caffeine like you mentioned in your post but no where near as much as coffee.

    Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Yeah, the addiction definitely grew worse when I had a job. Then, the more stressful that job, the more coffee I drank. I think it was a source of comfort for me too, kind of a comfort food in a way. Adrenal failure is an ugly thing, and that is what finally motivated me to break the addiction. Some of the symptoms included not getting restful sleep, though I still struggle with that, and inconsistent moods, and those are definitely better. I'm amazed at how much more I enjoy coffee now too. I do direct my caffeine needs more toward tea these days, and there are tremendous health benefits there as well. Thanks for commenting on my blog!

  5. PhuongLe Says:

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed

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