Goodbye, Coffee

goodbye coffee

I’ve been having some health issues lately and when modern medicine failed to provide definitive answers, I sought the help of a doctor of homeopathic medicine. The good news is that what I thought was wrong is actually pretty minor. The bad news is that I have some other issues that could become chronic if I don’t get serious about preventative care. The really bad news is that I have to cut coffee, wheat, dairy and corn out of my diet.

Coffee. Just writing the word brings tears to my eyes. This is day 3 with the new dietary restrictions and I feel like I’m going crazy. One minute I’m super optimistic and positive about my health and the next I’m bawling my eyes out. I’ve never had an angel and devil fight it out so hard in my mind, even when I stopped drinking. I don’t think I felt like this much of a victim when I realized I could no longer have alcohol. I was never this psychotic and bat shit crazy. At least, I don’t remember it being like this. Maybe it’s like childbirth. We forget how bad it really was.

I’m coherent enough to Google the symptoms of wheat/dairy/corn/coffee withdrawal and am comforted by the thought that I won’t feel like this forever. For now, I’m trying to convince myself that Teeccino with soy creamer is just as good as coffee and that I didn’t eat that much bread anyway. I won’t panic about not being able to order my favorite taco/tostada combination at Paco’s anymore because I can still have rice and beans. Incidentally, when my husband asked our 3-year-old daughter what little girls are made of she answered, “Beans and rice and everything nice.”

There are physical and emotional changes whenever we drastically alter what we do with and put into our bodies. Intellectually, I can accept this. I have a toolbox of tools that I can use to help me get through this, if I can just remember where I put the damn thing. I know things today that I didn’t know yesterday. Like that it’s probably a good idea to let my husband make the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for awhile. My mouth watered uncontrollably as I felt the squishy, moist bread in my fingers. The crusts I cut off almost didn’t make it into the trash.

One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. I can do hard things.

26 thoughts on “Goodbye, Coffee

  1. Thank you for this. I’m more determined than ever to quit smoking. Today will be my last day!
    All the reasons to quit — that I’ve been telling people in regards to drinking — are filling my head. “You won’t feel bad forever… then you’ll feel better than you ever did!” “You WON’T look back and wish you HADN’T quit.”. Haven’t had a drink since 1999 and I’m still afraid to try new thing. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly…
    Thank you again.


  2. Yay! Just one thing though, skip the soy. Almond milk, coconut milk, even oat milk, Hemp milk lots of good stuff. If you are a curious learner….and I believe you are, google “excitotoxins” and “blaylock”. Aunt Jennifer


  3. Hang in, Karen! I recently had to give up tomatoes… Wtf?… they’re in everything! I feel more resentful than I did quitting alcohol.

    Sorry to hear about the health issues, but hopefully making the diet changes clears them up.

    You quit drinking… You can do ANYTHING. Never forget that.

    Proud of you, rockstar!


    1. What is it about food that’s so much harder? Maybe because deep down I knew that alcohol was a luxury I couldn’t afford (physically, mentally and sometimes financially!). Tomatoes would break my spirit. It’s the Italian in me. Cheese is bad enough. Thank you for the encouragement Christy!


  4. Hi Karen, sorry to hear about this, change is so hard and giving up food that you love is tough too. I can relate! I was recently told at my physical that my cholesterol was above normal and I needed to adjust my diet! I said, what? I was mad, how could this be, I have never had any diet issues! But there it was, I found myself reading every food label in my fridge and pantry trying to find the culprit! Was it the cheese? The Jimmy’s beef sticks, the butter popcorn, the butter, the cream cheese?? Who is at fault here dag it! LOL! But well, I am cutting it out, I miss cheese the most! Oh I just crave it so much! But I know this too will pass and with time it will get easier and it will just be a part of my life, just like sobriety! Hang in Karen! Sending hugs!


    1. Thank you Maggie! I was mad too. For a whole day I felt like a big victim. Today starts day 5 and I’m not nearly as foggy as I was. The benefits will far exceed the negatives once I get over the initial symptoms. As I sit here drinking my tea, I can almost say I like it. 😉


  5. Hi Karen,

    I feel your pain, I really do. There are several just-shy-of-alcohol substances that I need to release, but I am like a willful child… “Waaa! I don’t want to give up another thing!!!!” And I cling to habits that serve no purpose other than very temporary comfort, followed by remorse (sounds a lot like another type of substance abuse, doesn’t it?). And I’m not even talking about caffeinated beverages, I think I would go into a full tantrum if someone suggested I forego coffee (and diet Pespi as well).

    You are a real source of inspiration, and it is so illuminating to read your journey through this time, it gives me hope to think that I too can get to the other side. I hope you continue to write about this process, I will anticipate the future posts, and I will be cheering you on from the East!



    1. I just realized that I have to give up Gobstoppers too because they have high fructose corn syrup. When will it ever end? But seriously, I feel much better today than I did yesterday so there’s hope for me yet. Thanks Josie!


  6. Give up coffee!?!?! Are you mad?…

    hmm… * twiddle thumbs, looks at the floor, shuffles uncomfortably *

    When I toddled off to rehab 9 years ago they had a holistic view to all this, they also had several people in treatment who were suffering with eating disorders. So we were all put on a good diet, minimal refined sugar, no caffeine etc.

    A couple of days in I had a crippling headache. They thought possibly as a reaction to not drinking but I’d not drunk for a week before going in (not to be necessarily recommended folks, I knew nothing of alcohol withdrawal fits etc. but I was lucky I survived ok) but then they realised. So there I was caffeine free when I walked out of there.

    And I started drinking caffeine again!

    The some while later I started to suffer with awful Migraine Associated Vertigo. One trigger the health professionals wanted me to take away totally was caffeine. Hmm… * twiddle thumbs, looks at the floor, shuffles uncomfortably * yes still drink too much tea and coffee and sometimes I get headaches that I could avoid. Just dumb isn’t it. What is the old adage about repeating the same actions expecting a different outcome?


    1. Sorry Furtheron, this comment went into spam for some reason! Caffeine is one powerful drug. While I’ve been told to stop drinking coffee because of its acidity, I’ve found that the caffeine in tea (even black tea) doesn’t pack the same punch. I need to start limiting processed sugar too but I can only handle one big hurdle at a time! Thanks for your comment. 🙂


    1. I can actually still have caffeine if it comes from tea but I apparently have a psychological addiction to coffee. I miss it so much. I’m getting less caffeine because green tea has a lot less than coffee so that may explain my headaches. I hope to feel free soon!


  7. Karen….

    this is something I know about and having been gluten/dairy/corn (and other things) free since January, I promise you it will get better! Those first few days were a bitch. I decided to do a full detox for fun (can you imagine!) last January. The only thing I left in my diet was coffee, and by February I knew that had to go. I eat healthily and a LOT…and have lost weight and feel great. BUT…what i love is that my GERD is gone. My stomache doesn’t burn, I don’t take myself to the ER because I think I’m having a heart attack, I don’t live on prevacid. I just handle it all with diet and it’s great.
    If I can offer a suggestion of a book “It Starts With Food”… this was really helpful to me and radically changed what i put in my body.

    Rooting for you. It’ is hard. I likened it to early sobriety, but it gets better. Good luck, and good health!


    1. It’s a relief to hear you say it gets better. I thought I would sail through this and am caught off guard by this temporary psychosis! I know this is necessary but I feel like a big baby. Thanks for the book suggestion. I’ll check it out!


  8. Oh Karen – I feel for you! I used to half-joke that it would be easier for me to stop drinking booze than it would drinking coffee – and that was me in full alcoholic force. But like you, I knew it was truth. I know that I could have no issues with decaf – it’s the taste I enjoy, not necessarily the buzz (can you have decaf?). Bread is my Achilles heel, as it is for many of us. But glad to hear that you’re not a bread monster like many of us. There are many good products from good brands that mock much of the usual stuff out there, and are getting better. I tried some gluten free bread the other day that was the closest to “real” bread I ever had.

    But these are the nuts and bolts. We can survive on less. But what is important is the behind the scene mechanics, and you mentioned tools. I have found that the tools I used for alcohol are easily transferable to the other things in my life that I have struggled with. Sugar, for starts. The first couple of times I stopped I was on willpower. Now I am using the same things that helped me with alcohol on sugar, and it’s a different feel to it. I still get the cravings, but they aren’t bad. I hope that you are able to find that toolbox and use them on your new dietary restrictions. This is just another direction in the new, healthier you. An unasked detour, perhaps, but it will start to become less and less difficult in the end.

    And stay away from Starbucks for a while… 🙂

    I’m rooting for you!



    1. I’m grateful that there are some good substitutes out there! Unfortunately, it’s the acidity of coffee that’s the problem so decaf is out. I can drink tea but tea and coffee people are as different as dog and cat people. I think once I can think clearly, I’ll be able to use my sobriety tools. I just didn’t expect it to be this hard. Thanks Paul!


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