Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kicking Caffeine's Butt

I've always had a trick stomach (and its cute little trick always involves nausea). Lately I've been having an even trickier time in a way that is suggestive of acid reflux. Before I signed up for the whole scope down the throat bit, I thought I'd try some sensible home remedies. Namely, I am kicking coffee, soda and caffeine to the curb.

I don't know if a higher than average number of writers have obsessions about their caffeinated beverages and their writing routines. Seems like most writers I know have to set the mood in order to write at peak productivity, which may involve anything from caffeine to music to scented candles to evil deadlines. I myself have become accustomed to the way caffeine improves my mental alertness with regards to writing and concentration.

But the stomach aches take precedence, at least for now.

I'm on day 3 of minimal caffeine -- I allow myself a soda or iced tea at lunch -- and so far it stinks. I estimate I had been having between 300 and 400 milligrams a day (according to the chart here and now I'm down to 50 or less. I have a headache, I'm tired all the time yet restless, I'm depressed, I lack focus, I'm irritable, and I find myself staring at the empty coffee pot at least six times a day without remembering how I got there. Worse, the symptoms of reflux have decreased but by no means have disappeared.

At the same time, knowing I'm actually sad and depressed because I can't drink coffee -- that makes me mad enough that I'll be pleased once the withdrawals are over. Do I want any kind of addiction in my life? Heck no! Do I still long for coffee? Heck yeah! But for my health, I've got to put the coffee pot away and try to find other ways to keep myself focused enough to be a writer. Maybe day 4 will be an improvement....

Is caffeine part of your writing routine? What do you think you'd find it hard to part with and still be able to write?

Jody Wallace *


  1. My commiserations...I couldn't endure the day without a coffee in the morning. In fact, mine is sitting in front of me as I type this.

    However, one's health is paramount and the thought of something being shoved down my gullet gives me the heebies so I guess I'd give up coffee, too.

    I used to get reflux but due to a bad fall about 18 months ago, I decided to lose weight (I was grossly overweight) and found that my reflux disappeared, which was a nice bonus for the hard work.

    Anyway, hang in there...the withdrawal symptoms will eventually diaappear. Good luck and I hope you don't need that gastroscopy.

  2. I must have coffee in the morning to be human. But I have cut my intake in half. I switched to Folgers half-caf, so even though I'm drinking the same amount of cups a day, the caffine intake is half. I tried my brain even though I know what I'm doing. And no headaches!

  3. That should have been I 'tricked' my brain. Can you tell the caffine has worn off?