21 Days Without Coffee: How I Broke My Caffeine Addiction

On Monday March 19th, 2018 I made a rash decision that would (hopefully) help change my life in a healthy, positive way. I decided to take a 21 day hiatus from coffee. Now I know what you’re thinking...coffee is life, how could I do such a crazy thing?

Here’s a little backstory about me. I was completely addicted to caffeine. Going to Dunkin Donuts was a crucial part of my daily routine. It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up and looked forward to, to help get me through my day. Every day I would order the same coffee (a medium iced regular). It got to a point where the Dunkin Donuts employees knew my face and remembered my order. When I’d go home for break, they’d ask where I’d gone. I even have a sticker on my laptop that says “I run on Dunkin Donuts” because truthfully I did.

It wasn’t always like this for me. Back in high school I would have coffee once a week when I had to be at school by 6:45 a.m. for E-Board meetings, and once a month on a Friday to treat myself. Even early into my Freshman year of college, I would only drink coffee every once in a while. It was second semester that year where I started drinking it more frequently and soon, it turned into an everyday habit for an entire year, as I am now a second semester sophomore.

I was in a state of mind where I convinced myself that it was something I absolutely needed to start my day. If I didn’t have it, I would be cranky. One time, I knew I needed to be somewhere early before Dunkin’s opened and I purchased a coffee the night before and stored it in my fridge for the next morning. It was this sort of addicted behavior I didn’t like seeing in myself. Yet even drinking coffee everyday, I was still exhausted every single day.

On March 18th, I decided to step on a scale. I was not proud of the number I saw and knew I needed to do something to make a difference. Cutting down on coffee was the first thing I thought of. Not only did I want to lose weight, I wanted to quit my caffeine addiction more than anything. I read in a book once that it takes 21 days to break a habit, so on March 19th, I vowed to go 21 days without coffee.

I had always said I was going to quit coffee, but I would vocalize it, and then go to Dunkin’s the next day. That first day when I walked by Dunkin’s without a second glance I knew this was the start of something new: a caffeine-free lifestyle.

I have successfully gone not 21, but 25 days without coffee and I am so proud of myself for breaking the habit. The biggest thing I learned was that it’s all about discipline. Did I want coffee everyday? Absolutely. But did I stop to get it? No, and it was because I disciplined myself to make it not part of my daily routine.

 

I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard, because it was extremely difficult. Even though I had caffeine headaches, they only lasted three days and easily went away with Advil. It was hard to ignore the cravings. It was even harder to stay awake. As it turns out, caffeine did more for me than I thought. My 30 minute power naps turned into 2 hour snoozes. I fell asleep sitting up in class one day...yeah that was embarrassing.

 

But eventually, it got easier. All of my friends knew I was the “coffee addict friend”, but would cheer me on every day that I didn’t buy one. The results were better than I could have ever imagined. My skin got clearer, my body felt better, and best of all, I lost 5 pounds. Not drinking all that cream, sugar, and caffeine made a huge difference in just 21 days. I also saved a lot of money, $80 to be exact.

 

Now I’m not quitting coffee forever, truthfully I could never do that, but I just wanted to break the habit of being addicted to caffeine and I did. I want coffee to be a way to treat myself every once in a while, or purchase when I really need it (aka finals week).

This experience has made me evaluate my health and realize there’s other ways I can continue to improve. This week I tried almond milk for the first time and really enjoyed it. On Monday, my best friend and I are going 21 days without chocolate because that is another addiction I’ve always wanted to curb. Can I do it? Stay tuned for an article I guess!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go rip the “I run on Dunkin Donuts” sticker off my laptop!