Over the years I have been on and off coffee. I started drinking coffee as a child, but almost only to dip bread with some kind of cheese in it. I didn’t overdo and I didn’t drink it for the effect, just for the taste of the combination, bread, cheese, coffee. It was also part of the breakfast ritual I shared with my mum.

I remember starting to drink it for the effect in college. At first I kept it to two cups a day. No more, no less. I started overdoing back in 2004 or 2005, when I was in my twenties.

The first time I quit was in february 2006. I started again in july or august of 2007. Ever since then I’ve quit many times for shorter periods.

Like this year I quit on the 18th of March and relapsed in late August or early September.

Three weeks ago I quit again.

With one exception. I had to pull an all nighter to get a translation done, so I drank coffee, but didn’t continue the next day. No more addiction.

What I can really say now is this:

The benefits of not drinking coffee far outweigh drinking it.

Coffee has an effect on me. I know people who say it does nothing for them, but it does do something for me. It gives me a pleasant, purring, buzz, it makes my mind race, it raises my heartbeat, it makes me less depressed, it makes me very talkative, the effect is similar to speed. But these benefits wear off as I need more and more coffee. And this goes quickly. I have a huge tolerance for it. After a couple of weeks I can drink liters of strong coffee and I still have no trouble falling asleep. I’m not trying to convince anyone to quit coffee, if you can limit your intake, it’s fine, enjoy, if you’re like me who can either abstain from something entirely or goes into overdrive, it’s better to abstain.

But here’s why I prefer to go without coffee:

  • It makes your breath stink
  • It costs money
  • It stains your teeth
  • It gives me panic attacks when the caffeine starts to wear off. Sometimes these are quite scary
  • It makes me wake up in the middle of the night
  • I constantly need to go and pee, to the point that it causes me pain
  • If I don’t get the right dose I get a headache
  • For some reason I am less motivated to get physical exercise, perhaps because my heartbeat is already up
  • I wake up totally exhausted and need coffee just to function somewhat normally
  • After a while I am awake, but am actually completely exhausted. It turns me into a cranky zombie
  • I am dependent on it. I constantly have to figure in, when planning anything, how I will get enough coffee, wherever I go, and I need to consider my option for all the extra toilet breaks
  • It really makes me very cranky and impatient, sometimes it really feels like I am about to jump out of my skin and fly off like a rocket
  • My typing fingers can’t keep track of my racing thoughts, making it harder to write coherently or to to keep writing about one clear subject
  • It makes my pee stink like coffee (really)
  • It makes my face itch (from dehydration?)
  • I am sure it’s a stressor, that coffee stresses my body, and that the ‘upper’ effect is just a byproduct of your body being in a state of alarm and getting rid of all the toxins that come with caffeine and coffee. In the long run this totally depletes your energy levels.
  • I think a lot of the positive news about coffee is funded by the enormous coffee lobby
  • And am not too happy about the economic exploitation of laborers on coffee plantation that is also part of the coffee business
  • Plus, a minor point, I hate trendy coffee bars that serve you a drop of joe in a tiny cup at extorionist rates and have a show-offy hipster dresscode that just really rubs me the wrong way. They can do whatever they want, but I don’t want my need for coffee to support something that does not appeal to me
  • A very important benefit: when I DO need coffee and its effects, it works again. Like if I need to pull an allnighter, which happens three or four times a year, I can drink coffee and it will have all the good effects that I need at that moment. If I drink coffee regularly, it doesn’t work when I need it most