If you know me you are probably aware that until a year ago, everybody who bought me coffee without asking – was my best friend. I never had the hesitation if it is too late for coffee. It was always an appropriate time to have a cup of coffee. I used to get back at home around 9:30p.m. and my routine was to make a cup of coffee, sit on the floor and read. I had no problems going to sleep after that.
I love challenging myself and what I love the most is freedom – in every aspect of the word. I love the freedom of items, habits, people, opinions and so forth. I’ve traveled a long path towards my personal growth, but I have always considered that for me, coffee used to something like an outlet. It was a kind of dependence – not to caffeine, but to the motion of drinking coffee. It used to be my way to reward myself. There came a moment when I realized that I don’t even like the taste of it anymore. I used to drink it out of habit. Like every other habit – I did not drink coffee because I had the need of it, but because I made it something like an obligation – you wake up- you drink coffee; you go out with friends – you drink coffee; you are bored – you drink coffee.
That is when I decided that it was time to challenge myself and stop drinking coffee. A lot of people didn’t understand why I did it. Many used to convince me that coffee is not unhealthy and that I do not need to quit drinking it. In reality, I did not stop drinking coffee, because I felt it was unhealthy or because I was expecting that my health would become even better. I quit drinking coffee, because I wanted to be free – free of the dependence to the habit of drinking it. My mind was attached to this habit and every time when I was in the mountain and my coffee time was coming, yet I didn’t have coffee to drink – I felt an inner tension and irritation. I wanted to get rid of this feeling. I wanted to be able to experience every emotion on a conscious level. I wanted to choose the way I feel.
Thus, as it is with everything I have changed in my life, I woke up one morning and I told myself that I won’t drink coffee anymore. Nobody believed me, because I definitely… used to drink a lot of coffee. J
The first day was the only day when I had an inner conflict. Around noon, when it was time for my usual cup of coffee, it felt like I had two personalities inside of me – the first one was saying: “Go ahead. Make a cup of coffee.”, and the other one was saying: “This is just a caprice. You don’t need it.” I just accepted the fact that I will need to give myself some time and I didn’t drink coffee. Thus for the past 9 months I did not have even a sip of coffee.
What did I learn in 9 months without coffee?
1.It doesn’t matter how attached we are to something
It doesn’t matter how attached we are to something – everything is just in our mind. Everything is a conviction, which we build in our mind and which could be destroyed the moment we decide to choose and act consciously. Nothing has been easier for me as quitting coffee. The reason? It was an inner choice. It wasn’t something that somebody else imposed on me or something I did because I knew that “I was supposed to”. It was just a moment when I felt the power inside of me and I decided to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to prove myself that I can do everything. When you expand your comfort zone, you suddenly open a lot more space where you feel comfortable. It is harder to find something that gets you out of balance and you rarely feel frustrated or confused. You are already familiar with a bigger territory and you know that you can cope with a lot of things.
2.Not drinking coffee doesn’t get in the way of your social life
More often than not, as it is with going on a healthier diet, people are afraid that when they gout with friends, they won’t feel in their place – everybody else will be eating pizza and you will just stay or eat eggs and a salad; others will drink coffee and you will order a cup of water with a piece of lemon. At first, everybody was asking me questions, as if they were trying to check if I am completely convinced for what I choose: “Are you sure that you will skip ordering a cup of coffee? At least one!”
I really did not drink coffee. I used to drink just water. Thus, for me it never mattered where I go, what is on the menu – I always had water or tea. And there is water and tea everywhere.
Did something change? No, the conversation and the company were still the most important and it didn’t matter what I ordered. As it is said: ”The soul doesn’t need coffee. The soul is looking for a conversation. The coffee is just the occasion.”
3.Caffeine is not addictive
I used to drink A LOT of coffee. I expected that it will be difficult to quit it, because even though I didn’t feel caffeine, it was definitely having some influence in my body.
I did not feel bad at all. I just found other things that I could do. When it was time for a cup of coffee… I did a handstand. A week later, when I wanted a break, I did not head to the coffee machine. I went to the wall and I did a handstand.
Our daily life is a result of the habits we create. Good habits are being built just as easy as bad habits. The question is what we will emphasize. I am always trying to substitute a bad habit with a good one. Then quitting on the bad habit is a lot easier and brings so much satisfaction.
Having a habit that substitute the old one works miracles. If we focus on what is missing, then we have a hard time. If we focus on new opportunities, when we leave something old, then life gets exciting.
4.I used to think that I will miss coffee more than I actually did
Often times we expect way more suffering than we will actually experience. We are afraid to do something, because we think that we will feel pain, that we will be sad, but in reality this is not the case. It is just different and there I something great about it.
5.It is not difficult to watch how others drink coffee
You know what I am talking about, don’t you? You stopped eating junk food and you were afraid to go to the candy shop, because you were afraid what was gonna happen. You were afraid that you might experience an irresistible urge to grab a piece of cake; if you were gonna be able to resist the aroma of chocolate and vanilla and the soft layer, covered with chocolate cream.
It wasn’t difficult to observe how others drank coffee. Because as I already said the choice was my own and I did not feel deprived. I knew that I could always buy a cup of coffee, but that I just didn’t want to do it.
6.The urge to drink coffee is temporary. It passes quickly and doesn’t return
Just like it is with the urge to eat carbs, it is the same with every other caprice of our mind to get something instantly. If at that moment we take our attention away from the caprice and we redirect it towards something else, then it goes away.
The urges are really short and we need a little bit of consciousness in order to resist them.
7.Going away from something that was constantly with you, makes you appreciate it more
When something happens every day, it becomes a habit and we stop paying attention to it. When you drink a couple cups of coffee, every single day, you somehow get used to the taste and the aroma. You don’t even bother thinking about them.
A month after I quit drinking coffee, every time when somebody used to bring his cup of coffee in the gym, I felt an extremely strong scent of coffee. I won’t exaggerate it if I tell you that it made me feel sick a couple of times. The aroma was so strong and intense. As if my senses were sharpened and now the stimulus of coffee was completely different. Even a small dose of it was enough to activate my senses to the roof.
8.It doesn’t matter if you drink coffee or not
Quitting coffee was an experiment I did with myself. I wanted to prove myself that no dependence is stronger than the conscious choice for a change. Such small victories give you the confidence that you can cope with everything. Every time when you have hardships you think about the daily triumphs and wins over your ego –they give you motivation.
9.No matter what you do, do it for yourself
During the past month I had two cups of coffee. The best part of it was that the first cup did not encourage me to start drinking more coffee and didn’t force me to turn it into a habit again. It felt as if I was now consciously choosing to drink coffee. I drank because I really felt a desire to drink coffee. The taste was so intense and different.
When you have given up on something and a lot of people keep you accountable for it, they become something like your judges. If they see you are going back to it, they start reproaching you and treat you as if you are obliged to give them an explanation.
In reality, the contract to do or not do something is not with other people’s opinion. We sign the contract with our own self. We know why we are doing one thing or another and nobody could make us feel guilty about it.
If we start doing something because that is what other people expect us to do, then we get stuck in the feeling of guilt. We do something that we want and other people judge us, then we feel guilty. Then it doesn’t matter if we are free of the habit or the item. Everything that matters is that we are dependent on society’s opinion.
Am I going to drink coffee? Sometimes, yes. But now I know that I can choose and that I am not dependent on my habits.
Why did I share all of this? Because it has nothing to do with coffee. It has everything to do with every habit, every addiction and everything that we think is a part of us and that we can’t let it go.
We are human beings and we have an unlimited potential. We have a power beyond what we suspect and we can be and achieve everything, the moment when we really choose to do it.