Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Addiction. That's such a strong word. A word dripping with emotion, with grief, with pain. Who do you see first? The strung-out junkie surrounded by tournaquets and dirty needles slumped over on a concrete floor? Or the fat, old, bald, redneck man sitting in his worn-out easy chair, yelling, his kids and wife cowering in fear. Or maybe it's the middle-aged housewife relaxing in a hospital bed who had gotten and little too depressed and a little too bored and took to popping pills. I'm no stranger to addiction - well, personally I guess I am; I smoked cigarettes for 5 years and quit the day I got tired of it, never looking back. I was lucky, I guess. I've seen friends and family fight addictions of all kinds, and none of it was pretty.
I'm telling you about this so I can admit to my one true addition (and no, it's not my computer as my husband likes to say). You witnessed me giving up soda a few days ago, and I did that full well knowing I am addicted to caffeine. But I kept my safety net, my coffee I could have every morning and whenever else the urge crept in. However, I decided in order to keep it real, I had to be honest with myself too. Giving up soda was fine, but it wasn't accomplishing my goal...making myself healthier. And being dependent on anything isn't healthy. So I decided that once I ran out off coffee, I would be done with that, too.
Today was that day. Now let me tell you, I've had caffeine headaches before, when I went too long after waking up to make my coffee or I didn't drink my soda before nighttime, and they are excruciating. So I knew what I was in for today. I had hoped, however, that it wouldn't be so bad since I had done it step by step...soda one day, coffee a few days later. I couldn't have been more wrong.
I woke up slightly before 6:00am with my kids (God's little joke on me...two kids that are morning people and a mom who is not...haha). It hit me about 15 minutes later as I looked at my Senseo that today was the day. I thought quickly about loading the kids int he car and going in search of caffeine, but I decided to stick with it. Ugh. Ok, I thought, I could do this. No big deal. I'd just keep us busy and I wouldn't even think about it. By 10:00am I was laying on the couch wondering when the headache was going to let up. By 11:00am I had moved with a bag of frozen shredded zucchini on my head to the cool floor of my dark and quiet bathroom upstairs. By 11:30 the puking began and by 1:30pm I had thrown up everything I had put in my stomach in the last day and then some. Did I mention my husband was out of town and totally unreachable today? So, I crawled (literally) down the stairs to lay on the couch at least in the vicinity of my children, who had managed to find some Ritz crackers and bologna to feed themselves. I lay there alternating between shivering and shaking with cold under a blanket (it's 90 degrees today and we don't have A/C) and kicking the blankets off sweating. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I was really sick, that it wasn't caffeine withdrawal alone that was doing this. But it was. And I have so much respect for people who are brave enough to face withdrawal from real drugs. I can only imagine how much worse it must be.
Finally, I woke up and thought, I can see again! I stood up, and although my head pounded, it was bearable. Oh thank God. The worst was over. It was 3:00pm, and I was finally able to keep down some water and some animal crackers.
And now, we are sitting at McDonalds, my thank you to my girls for being so patient and understanding today. And I'm able to eat (and drink lemonade, not Diet Coke or one of those heavenly Vanilla Iced Coffees). I'm hoping tomorrow will be better.
I tell you allt his mainly to keep myself accountable, to continue to refrain from using caffeine, my "drug" of choice. But also to keep my promise from the beginning of this blog, to choose to be healthier. What can you do to make yourself and your life healthier today?

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