I think I may be addicted to caffeine. There. I feel better. (No I don’t). Or maybe I’m not addicted. Maybe I just like it a lot. Maybe I love it – a hot cup of joe first thing in the morning before I speak to anyone, that’s the best. Pete’s is my favorite, but I have also been known to take in Green Mountain, Seattle Drip, Bokar, even Folgers. (I will only drink Starbucks if I’m really desperate. Too tangy.) This little quandary has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks – do I have dependence issues? I hear that if you even have to ask yourself that question, it’s probably the case.
According to Wikipedia (my guide to finding answers to anything), there are three types of addiction – positive, negative and neutral. Positive addiction is where the benefits outweigh the costs, and you can deduce what the other definitions are.. but what’s interesting about the explanation is that Mr. Wikipedia gives examples of drug, alcohol, over eating, gambling and porn as common addictions, but nothing about coffee, which disturbs me.
My search continues:
Because everything on the Internet is true, I have found a couple of pieces of information that back up my assertion: yes, I do have a problem. On the word of one website, one common way of defining addiction to a particular commodity is the individual's longing for the item. Let’s see here, I can’t function without it in the morning. By afternoon, if I haven’t had a Diet Coke, Go Girl or reheated stale morning coffee, I can expect testiness, lack of focus, time standing still. And if I am out of coffee or any other caffeine type substance, I go into full panic mode.
I recall a particularly embarrassing incident where my husband, Pants and I were at our cabin in the mountains hosting a nice couple from our hometown. We woke up, thinking we were well equipped with the necessary ingredients to make a great breakfast. I opened the freezer to retrieve my trusty Peet’s canister and what was noticeably absent was the grainy brown dirt. There may have been a few crystals at the bottom, but I happened to lick those up with my thumb before I went into triple star terror. What was most humiliating about my “hitting bottom” was that our guests weren’t even coffee drinkers which would have made this train wreck a little more acceptable.
“We have decaf, sweetie.” Pants tried to console me, but I wasn’t listening at this point. He stood there, stunned, watching me pace like a caged animal in the kitchen, opening cupboards, slamming doors.
The decaf was left over from my pregnancy two years prior. And decaf doesn’t cut it. Never has. While knocked up, I was forced to suck down that dreaded imitation crap and it was like doing laps in a hot tub. Or drinking non-alcoholic beer. What’s the point? I drink coffee to catch the buzz.
Pants quietly left the cabin, got into the car and drove the 10 miles into town to get the coffee. Meanwhile, I had bitten my fingernails to the nubs.
And our houseguests never came back for a return visit.
My family members, friends and coworkers know that I need a steady stream of caffeine intake throughout the day. They even enable my addiction by planning meetings, get togethers and engagements around it at local coffee shops and establishments where they know I can obtain a caffeinated drink without incident.
The fridge at my work has a lifetime supply of ground coffee beans, Diet Cokes, ice teas and Go Girls. If we go low, I don’t even have to point it out. A grocery run is eminent. Everyone knows what will happen if I go cold.
So, do I have a problem? I think perhaps. I have tried to kick the habit a few times and those incidents have ended in disaster – headaches, bad moods, the utter lack of productivity in the morning, even a few ended relationships. I have tried water. I have tried decaffeinated tea. I have tried wheat grass juice. All very bad ideas that lead to bad choices throughout the day, especially in the areas of inner personal relationships.
But I would like to hold on to that little piece of hopeful information I pulled from the Internet – that my addiction happens to be positive. Because my family, friends and coworkers surely know how life would be if I actually kicked the habit.