I’m a caffeine-holic, but I refuse to let caffeine dictate my life anymore. I did not follow the 12 steps to battle my addiction. It took a massive kidney infection with numerous stones to end my destructive behavior. Now I drink hot water with lemon, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Growing up, I never liked coffee. Sure, I got my regular caffeine fix by the likes of chocolate and cocoa drinks but I do not think I would have been classified as an addict back then. I attribute the beginning of my addiction with the military (disclaimer: not military force me to consume large amounts of caffeine as part of any government lab experiment, at least I do not).
When I joined the army at the tender age of 18, coffee was the last thing on my mind. However, when I started my career 26 years, coffee was just a way of life. My first experience was in Germany, out on bivouac – you know, sleeping in a tent under cold, wet and miserable conditions.
Suddenly, coffee was a mainstay. It was the first thing I drank when I got to the office to get a boost in the morning. I just drank it in the morning but then, when I pulled night shifts as Staff Duty Officer or Battle Captain, it became my constant companion. my addiction with coffee was not all physical either, it was emotional as well. I have many fond memories of sharing the brew with my colleagues first thing in the morning. We would laugh and chat over a hot cup of Folgers and all seemed right in the world.
I still remember it so vividly – pain and all. My company was to apply to Egypt and First Sergeant me and I met early in the morning to go over some details of the deals. Unfortunately, I had to get the bathroom every 5 minutes until I doubled over in pain and told him to get me to the ER! After a couple of bags IV fluid, which just about made my eyes pop out, I gave birth to a healthy pea size kidney stone! I never attributed the incident to coffee.
I continued my relationship with my little black bean, relying on his power to do everything well in my world. I did not give up a small habit. Perhaps it was that I did not caffeine could be the culprit or maybe I just ignored that little fact. Coffee was too important to me. Once, I went all morning without a fix and suffered a serious caffeine migraine that caused me to throw up. If you have ever suffered from caffeine withdrawal, you know it is not easy!
It’s taken me almost 22 years to finally say goodbye to coffee! Recently I suffered severe kidney infection which made me very ill. I decided that if I could not drink my daily blend, I would replace it with tea so I “smartly” made me decaffeinated green tea or herbal lemon tea. Although I did suffer some unpleasant headaches resulting from a lack of coffee, to my surprise I was able to make the transition.
The doctor told me to just drink water or lemonade. He said that the lemon would be good for my kidneys. So I obeyed and drank water with lemon all day but it just was not what I was depressed.
One morning, something clicked in my head. I was sick and tired of drinking cold lemon water so I decided to heat it up. I cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze it in hot water. When I took the first sip I got a happy sensation and laughed at me. At that moment I remembered years ago when my grandmother would come to visit us. All she ever drank in the morning was hot water.
While I still have fond memories of beloved coffee, I’ve now begun a new chapter in my life that does not include it. my kidneys are too important to me. Grandma got it right.