Coffee: Do I love it, or do I need it?

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Coffee: Do I love it, or do I need it?

I used to love coffee. I would drink six double shots of it every day. This was instant coffee, back in the day, before everyone had an espresso machine and or enough money to pay for coffee in a café.

I would make it strong, black, and drink it straight up. There was no sipping, no savouring, no comparing brands or styles – long, short, black, white, cow’s milk, soy milk, flat, with froth, etc. – just coffee powder and boiling water for an instant pick-me-up.

When I drank coffee like this I was working for 70-100 hours per week, depending on my work commitments, and studying for a notoriously difficult exam. Drinking coffee was the only way I thought I could get through each day, as I was working too hard, on not enough sleep. (Looking back, it seems I was actually ahead of my time, as in 2009 – insanely – the Queensland Government recommended that exhausted doctors should drink six cups of coffee a day to combat fatigue and keep their overstretched healthcare system functioning.[i]

At that time I was also smoking cigarettes and when I decided to give up smoking after I passed that exam, I had to give up coffee too, as I knew there was no way I would be able to have a cup of coffee without craving a cigarette.

I managed without cigarettes and coffee for a while, but then realised I was drinking an awful lot of caffeinated soft drinks instead, so I gave those away too, but not before stacking on an awful lot of weight!

My life was squeaky clean for a while, apart from my weekly treat of tiramisu – an Italian dessert which contains all the major food groups of fat, sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol – and the odd Diet Coke or six to get me through a long-distance drive.

I even let those go eventually and when I fell pregnant I remember going out and having a coffee with a friend, having not had one for many months. My baby started turning cartwheels in my belly straight afterwards, and I made the link and the firm commitment to not drink coffee again…

I had two kids in two years and continued to work, absolutely exhausted. I knew I could not drink coffee, but one day in desperation decided to try a ‘V’ drink, which was new at the time, and advertised as a healthy stimulating drink. I was operating that day and started shaking for the first time ever – even when I used to drink alcohol and coffee and smoked cigarettes I did not get the shakes, but this drink got me going.

So the ‘healthy’ drinks were off limits, but the exhaustion continued, and soon, coffee was back on the menu.

A day in the life of a coffee drinker

I would drink a double shot to get me going in the morning, but my blood sugar would drop a half hour later, so I learned to eat a piece of cake slowly through the morning to keep it up.

Then I would have lunch, which was usually some kind of sandwich or roll, and would feel sleepy from the gluten, so I would have another coffee to get me through the afternoon, with a piece of cake to stop my sugar from bottoming out. At the end of the day I was so exhausted that I needed a drink before I could even think about going home and taking care of the kids.

As you can imagine, all this yoyo-ing with food and drink was not great for my mood, my weight, my health or my relationships and I ended up separating from the father of my children and going it alone, which as it turned out was far more simple than the way we had been living.

But I was still exhausted and not coping with life and in my search for help, I was blessed to be steered in the direction of Serge Benhayon.

Serge never suggested I stop drinking alcohol or coffee. He just supported me to feel what they were doing to me, and through Sacred Esoteric Healing he allowed me to feel my body as it truly was, free of the imposts of these drugs, and left me free to make my own choices.

Learning to live without coffee

To begin with, I chose to continue drinking alcohol and coffee. With time I came to understand why that I did not really love them, but I needed them to cope with how I was feeling, where I was at, and to deal with the awareness that my own choices had led me to this point.

And with time, and the (excruciatingly slow) development of some love and care for myself, the habits gradually fell away.

When I let that last daily shot of coffee go, I spent three days in bed unable to move with a cracking headache, and then I was free.

It took me a while to no longer find the smell of coffee tempting, and even now I can sometimes be seduced by its aroma. But that seduction is a marker for me now – that I am tired and in need of some tender loving care, not a shot of coffee.

Caffeine is a drug, a socially acceptable one that we imbibe in tea, coffee, caffeinated soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and in chocolate.

We think it picks us up and helps us to function better and be more mentally alert, but studies have shown[ii] that caffeine drinkers function at a lower level than those who don’t drink caffeine, and all that caffeine does is offer a temporary return to normal function, before you drop down below normal again.

What can I do instead of drinking coffee?

So let’s say you decide you would like to stop drinking coffee; what can you do instead?

The first thing is to understand that we drink coffee for a reason. We may say that we love the taste, and that may even be true, but many of us drink coffee because we need it, because we are exhausted.

Until we are willing to acknowledge this, and to deal with the underlying exhaustion, all the goodwill in the world is not going to get us through the day without coffee.

For me, this meant learning to go to bed earlier, so that I was getting good quality sleep. The hours of sleep between 9pm and 1am are the most nourishing, and if we miss this sleep boat, no amount of sleep will ever feel enough. But to get to bed by 9pm, we have to start winding down around 5pm and to do this we have to live in a way where a good night’s sleep is our focus, coming home early enough from work to eat and allow our food and our bodies to settle, in preparation for the night’s rest.

I still get tired at times, sometimes really tired, and at such times the thought of having a coffee can be tempting. But this is just a short-term fix, which I know I will pay for with agitation, anxiousness, tremors and palpitations, and later with increased exhaustion that will be worse than anything I am feeling now.

A glass of water, a few gentle breaths, a stretch, a short walk, can all refresh and energise me much more than coffee can, and they do so in a way that is sustainable and that does not deplete me later on.

I used to think I loved coffee, but now I know I needed it. And now that I no longer need it, I love that I am free of this, one of the many addictions I no longer need to prop me up in life.

References:

  • [i]

    Herbert, B. ABC News. 8 September 2009. "6 cups a day keeps the doctor awake" Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-09-08/6-cups-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-awake/1421202

  • [ii]

    Wighton, K. News.com.au. 20 June 2013. "The ugly truth behind that cup of coffee" Retrieved from http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/the-ugly-truth-behind-that-cup-of-coffee/news-story/579d299463c76876a39cb53271cff414

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ExhaustionAddictionSleepCaffeineDrugsTiredness

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    By Dr Anne Malatt, MBBS, MS, FRACS, FRANZCO Eye surgeon, wife, grandmother

    A woman with a wealth of worldly experience and a richness of lived wisdom, I live and work in a country town, love my work and the people I work with, and enjoy time with my family and friends, walking, reading and writing.

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