Mindful family


A blog about mindful living, health, parenting and money.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try and get rid of my caffeine addiction.* Yes, I have a caffeine addiction. Many people do. Addiction is normally reserved for serious drugs, cigarettes and alcohol but we rarely associate our reliance on coffee as an addiction. But I think it is. 


My resolution is not to give up drinking coffee. I just want it to become less of an addiction and more of a pleasure. 


I would consider myself an average coffee drinker drinking on average 2 cups per day (sometimes 3). A few months ago, when we were camping I didn’t have time to make coffee in the morning before packing up our stuff to head home so I didn’t consume caffeine that day. By 10AM I had a mild headache and by noon I had a migraine that could only be fixed by taking an extra strength Advil and finally making a strong cup of coffee once I got home. This wasn't the first time I suffered when I missed my morning coffee, but this time I realized that this was an actual dependency. My body does not like to be deprived of caffeine in the morning. Ever…


I don’t like the idea that if I miss one morning’s coffee fix, I will suffer with some sort of withdrawal symptoms. So I decided that I would try and wean myself off of caffeine by doing a coffee detox. I decided this a couple of months ago but decided that I would wait until the New Year for two reasons. One, it would make a good New Year’s resolution. The second reason is Quinn (our nearly 20 month old toddler). In the last year she has gone from waking up at 4AM to 7AM to 5AM to 6AM. Although she is a pretty good sleeper, her wake up times have been inconsistent. Which made me rely heavily on a strong coffee when she would wake up earlier than my body was used to from one morning to the other. Now, although she has chosen 5:30AM as day starting time, she has been consistent. 


My goal is to gradually reduce my caffeine intake for 2-3 weeks and then cut out caffeine entirely for seven days. From what I’ve read, it could take up to seven days to fully detox the caffeine out of your system.  Then, I will re introduce caffeine into my life if I choose to, but I will try to sporadically not have coffee or stick to decaf some mornings so that I don’t develop an addiction again. 


I actually started this process a few days before the New Year last week because I felt I was ready. I’ve been drinking instant coffee for about a year now since it has been the easiest to make very quickly when Quinn would wake up. Using instant coffee I am able to properly calculate my caffeine intake and wean very strategically. I tracked how much coffee I was drinking on average for about a month and realized I was consuming about 3 teaspoons of instant coffee powder per day. This was normally in the form of 1.5 tsps per cup of boiling water. 


The following was my plan for the gradual detox:


  • Day 1-3: Reduce to 2.5 teaspoon of regular instant coffee and consume 0.5 teaspoon of decaf instant coffee (so my second cup was a mix of regular and decaf coffee). 
  • Day 4-6: Reduce to 2 teaspoons of regular coffee and consume 1 teaspoon of decaf instant coffee (now both my cups had a bit of decaf mixed in). 
  • Day 7-10: Reduce to 1.5 teaspoons of regular instant coffee and 1.5 teaspoons of decaf instant coffee (both cups being half and half now). 
  • Day 11-12: Reduce to 1 teaspoon of regular instant coffee and 2 teaspoons of decaf instant coffee (At this stage I plan to only have caffeine in the first cup of coffee). 
  • Day 13-15: Reduce to 0.5 teaspoon of regular instant coffee and 2.5 teaspoons of decaf instant coffee (Again, only caffeine in the first cup). 
  • Day 16-18: Only drink 1 or 2 cups of decaf coffee. 
  • Day 19-25: No coffee. I’ll probably make lemon tea or some other herbal tea. 
  • Day 26: Re introduce caffeinated coffee.


Today I’m on day 7 and I haven’t suffered much. I did have a minor headache one day in the last week. 


I don’t think I’ve gone multiple days without coffee since I was in high school, which is almost 15 years ago, so if I can get to the end of this month, this will be a huge accomplishment. Wish me luck!


*If you're wondering, my other New Year’s resolution is to keep up with Danielle’s flexibility challenge. In January, I am courageously and shamelessly attempting the splits. I also plan to publish my book on early retirement by the end of the month. 


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