When we decided to take on this little challenge for ourselves, I thought it would be hard for about a week, and then my body would clear out the caffeine from the system, and by the end of the month I’d wonder what all the fuss was about at the start.
But it didn’t go like that at all.
It wasn’t just the breaking of habit that was hard, but the breaking of social conventions. And although I often find this kind of challenge to ‘normal’ interesting, I didn’t enjoy this as much. Though I’m still happy we did it.
I spent most of the month mumbling “need coffee, need coffee, need coffee” on a regular basis. Particularly when I was trying to get my head around some of this stuff for work. Occasionally I was looking for a glass of wine or whiskey in the evening, but it was coffee that I really struggled without.
The caffeine withdrawal was to be expected. A few headaches and aches, but I can deal with that. What I really missed were the social aspects of drinking tea and coffee. When someone offers you a hot drink, it sends the wrong signal if you just ask for a glass of water. Drinking a cup of coffee at the end of a meal is a way of saying, “let’s talk longer, I’m in no rush”.
Though we lack the real ceremony of tea these days, the time taken to boil the kettle, make drinks to everyone’s taste, allow time to cool and then to savor, still offer the space in which interesting things are said. Come to think of it, I once started a business/social-enterprise over a cup of tea, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened over a glass of water. Most of the conversations that have best changed my life were over a cup of tea or coffee. Sure, there were enjoyable conversations when drinking alcohol too, but the plans that turned to action were always the ones involving caffeine. Our marriage even, if we trace it back to the start of our relationship, began while drinking tea. Cup after cup of tea. There were conversations that lasted whole days and stretched on into the early hours of the morning. I wouldn’t want to be without those.
So in review…
My sleeping has definitely been worse since I’ve been drinking caffeine again, and I’m drinking a fraction of the water I was drinking before, which I need to work on. But I’m happy to have these drinks back in my life. I’ve learnt more about their real value by testing my own limits, and one day I may repeat the experiment if I find myself taking them for granted.
Between us we drink about 8 Euros of coffee a week
Alcohol is sporadic, but it works out about 25 Euros a month
So let’s call it 60 Euros saved.
WaterAid donations work in £GBP so I’ve given a nice round £50.