Coffee snob no more

My day would start with a groan as I was shocked into consciousness by the alarm clock intruding into my dreams. No way could it be time to get up, surely… I’d only just fallen asleep.

I’d hit snooze in the illusion that five more minutes would fix how unrefreshed and tired I felt, squeezing my eyes tight shut was the cure for how awful I felt. No, I was not hung-over and nor had I been up particularly late, I was just plain knackered after what I would determine was either not enough or what must have been a bad night’s sleep.

Eventually I’d give in and roll out of bed, to shuffle down stairs in a still half asleep walking dead state and head straight to the kitchen to prepare my morning coffee so I could feel human again and get on with my day.

Just the smell of the coffee as I opened the jar would jolt me to my senses: similar to the way I’d seen smokers appear so relieved after the first drag on a cigarette as they lit one up, the mere hint of a coffee kick started my body to feel more alert and switched on.

At this point in my life I was not particularly fussed about what sort of coffee I drank; some instant Nescafé or Moccona would do the trick as the caffeine surged through my veins. stimulating my heart rate and nervous system.

But like a person who drinks wine, where initially a cheap bottle will do – as hey, it produces the desired effect – who then becomes a wine connoisseur demanding a certain grape and vintage, I became the same about coffee. I was a coffee snob and would only drink certain brands and would not go into a café or restaurant if they didn’t serve the exact type of coffee I liked.

I’d treat myself on weekends with a Bodum* of fresh ground coffee – ooh the satisfaction of pushing the plunger down as I buttered my toast ready for a leisurely breakfast accompanied by 4 or 5 cups of the warm black stuff. Then later in the day I’d meet with friends in my favourite coffee shop and imbibe a couple of espressos with something sugary to heighten the flavour and bitterness of the beverage.

As time went on my weekday coffee consumption started to escalate, from one when I got up to another before I left for work (as I couldn’t start my day without my double hit) only to have one more before I started seeing my patients for the day, another at morning break and one more at lunch. Until I got to the point where at work I had two coffee mugs; one that I was drinking from and one that was waiting for me to drink!

Most days I was drinking at least 15 cups of coffee, which is ironic, as when I was 15 years old and had my first taste of coffee, I hated it. So, what changed?

I guess you hit a point in life where you want to seem more grown up and asking for a juice or glass of milk appears so babyish when you are at your friend’s house. So, when offered a coffee rather than telling the truth – ‘no thanks I don’t like coffee’ – I’d say I wasn’t thirsty or ask to have water to avoid that awkward conversation that inevitably followed where my friend’s parents would try to persuade me to try a coffee, but perhaps have it with more milk or sugar this time.

How’s this any different from trying to coax someone in to trying alcohol, a smoke or drugs even? “Go on try it, give it a go, let’s find a way to make it so you will like it and before you know it you’ll be hooked!”

It was around this time when I did work experience placement through school and I spent two weeks in a dental practice observing the team and doing basic tasks like filing and making the coffee. Not wanting to seem childish, and desperate to fit in to the world of dentistry, I would experiment with my coffee to make it palatable until I hit the perfect combination of milk to coffee ratio with six sugars to sweeten the deal, not realising then that I had found exactly what was needed to override my body and the fact that I didn’t like coffee!

Now it’s not like I jumped from this ability to trick my taste buds to drinking excessive coffee, so how did I end up drinking 15 cups a day?

I would tell myself I loved coffee – the taste, the smell, the ritual of making it, especially grinding my own beans and percolating it in a pot on the stove. But then why did I need to drink so much? Deep down I knew I needed my coffee.

I needed it to wake me up, to make me functional and then as life and the stresses and demands of work accelerated, so my need for coffee proportionally increased.

I hit a point where if I had coffee with milk it made me instantly nauseous, so I switched to drinking it black, as obviously it was the milk not the coffee that was making me feel off.

On days when I was tired, feeling under the weather, anxious, headachy or had a demanding patient list, which was pretty much every day, I would calculate when I would need my caffeine fix so that I could make it through before collapsing into an exhausted fitful sleep.

Coffee was my fix, my go to, my friend and companion and even when I was drinking so much I never once questioned it – after all it was my normal.

I was always tired – in fact if I’m honest, exhausted – and coffee was my pick me up; it allowed me to drive and push myself to excel but all the while I was burning myself out and coffee was masking the symptoms.

I did not come to this revelation or point of enlightenment and self-awareness alone. No, I loved my coffee, I didn’t need it but I liked it and chose to drink it… nothing wrong with it or the quantity I drank.

It was only when I met Serge Benhayon and started attending Universal Medicine workshops that I realised a few home truths:

  1. I was exhausted, completely drained and without coffee I probably would not be able to get through my day

  2. That the answer was not to give up coffee (which actually I had tried and dismally failed at), but to look at what was making me so exhausted in the first place

  3. That I was not taking care of myself or living in a way that supported and energised my body

  4. That caffeine is a drug that alters the quality of my being

  5. That I actually wanted to feel ‘myself’ again and not swap this feeling of connection for a fake rush of ‘energy’ that the coffee was giving me.

Now the trick we fall for is to blame the coffee and try to go cold turkey or cut down, but this is not what I did.

Instead I got honest and admitted I was exhausted and needed coffee to manage and that for now that was ok.

I started to:

  • Go to bed when I felt tired, some nights as early as 6.30pm.

  • Look at where I was getting drained and triggered emotionally in my day and resolved to address my personal issues and hurts that were the underlying reasons for my reactions.

  • Take better care of myself like going to bed earlier, not exercising so hard, eating better and reducing my alcohol intake.

  • Do the Gentle Breath Meditation for 5-10 minutes when I woke and before I went to sleep every day.

  • Introduced doing things gently and with more awareness for my body and how I felt inside as I was committed to being connected to myself and the loving quality of the Divine I knew I was inside (although this was not my everyday lived experience).

Slowly over time the urge to drink as much coffee reduced, I simply didn’t need it in such large volumes as I felt more vital and energised and was not being drained by my lifestyle. I enjoyed how I felt inside more than I enjoyed coffee.

Eventually I switched to drinking decaf coffee as I wanted the taste but not the caffeine rush, until even a decaf would give me the shakes and accelerate my heart beat, giving me palpitations and making me feel out of it. So one day I just stopped drinking coffee, as it no longer did it for me.

"Real intelligence will not say – ‘I love coffee’. It is impossible to love an enemy of the body. Know what love truly means and know what caffeine truly does to the body and real intelligence will emerge, well, at least on that topic."

Serge Benhayon Time, Space and all of us, Book 1 – Time, p 304

That was over 10 years ago… and I don’t miss coffee, neither am I repulsed by it (I actually still love the smell of fresh ground beans). I simply don’t need it as I am vital and energised, full of myself and connected to who I am – the Divine quality of Love we all naturally are, which is now my everyday lived experience.

I work 12 to 16 hour days, running a busy dental practice and a coaching business, raising a family, as well as working on several volunteer projects every day. I go to bed around 9pm feeling a ‘good tired’ but not spent, and I awake most days at 3am (yes 3am) ready to work and do what is needed because I live in a way that supports me to not get drained or be so reactive to life. I take great care of myself and my body by treating myself as precious and listening to what my body needs.

Because after all my body knew, as I did deep down had I chosen to listen, that I never did like, want or need coffee to feel human.

*A type of French press coffee maker

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  • By Dr Rachel Hall, Dentist

    Dentist, business owner, writer, author and presenter. Family woman, guitarist, photographer, passionate about health, wellbeing and community. Lover of Vietnamese food, fast cars, social media, café culture and people.

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.