Healing My Coffee Addiction

personal reflections Apr 04, 2023

Anyone out there a diehard coffee lover? So was I. Coffee is always a notable topic when it comes to cultivating balanced health. Coffee can be a lifeline when we’re struggling to keep up with the demands of our day to day life, children, work, families, friends, and household. This uniquely bitter and satisfying companion held my hand through my pre-med degree, my holistic health certification, flight attendant training, my masters degree and my licensing board exams - it was a good albeit abusive ten year run.

While coffee was a lifesaver and my greatest ally it was also my most prominent vice. We all have them: alcohol, weed, stimulants, xanax, sugar, drama, behavioral patterns, negative self-talk…what these vices all have in common is this ever present dynamic between pleasure and pain. Why is it that we know something is "bad" for us yet we just can't kick the dependency or habit?

In my early to mid 20s I contended with severe chronic fatigue. I was so deeply exhausted and run down I had difficulty getting out of bed or off the couch. True to form I relied on coffee heavily to help me rally and face my crippling work and study load. Prior to this time I always felt more clear-headed, sharp, and responsive after my first cup, but then things started to change much like a new love interest that is all sunshine and rainbows for three months then the switch flips and a darker side emerges. Whenever I drank it I would feel even more tired than before, my stomach would knot up, I’d feel nauseated, break out into a cold sweat, and either throw up or need to use the restroom immediately (sorry for the TMI). I finally went to the doctor and received an IBS diagnosis, the source of which was unknown but there were a few things I could do to ameliorate the symptoms - one being cutting back on/cutting out caffeine.

I did my best. I’d go off it for a few weeks or even months, deal with the withdrawal migraines and brain fog but I’d always go back to it when life became too challenging for me to manage. I was stuck in this insidious loop of dependency and I never fully felt free until I got to the root of what was going on with my physical, mental, and emotional health. I went digging and with the help of a comprehensive team of holistic practitioners I discovered that I was suffering from severe adrenal fatigue, a chronic Epstein Barr infection, and had completely overburdened my body with a toxic cascade of adrenal waste. Coffee exacerbated these underlying imbalances by creating a false fight or flight response which triggered my adrenals and further damaged my struggling brain, liver, and kidneys and wreaked absolute havoc on my hormonal health.

So how did I heal? I started to rebuild my body slowly but surely and focused on the right healing foods, beverages and supplements (like coconut water, celery juice, mangoes, ashwagandha, spirulina etc.) and I tended to the emotional connection I had to coffee as well. This was where the pleasure aspect of my addiction came in.

Nothing's all bad. It’s difficult to give up things like caffeine, alcohol, drugs, etc because there is something so deeply nourishing about them and the known harmful effects are far outweighed by the part of us that feels cared for, loved, and nurtured by our vice of choice. To me, I equated coffee to early mornings with my mom and dad growing up and the alluring smell wafting through the chilly house before school. I think of journaling by myself at a sidewalk café the first time I went to Paris and walking through Prospect Park with my husband back in Brooklyn when we first fell in love. I reminisce on sunrises on the beach in Hawaii, coffee dates with childhood friends, and after dinner espresso martinis in Charleston. To me, coffee was more than just something functional and necessary. It was love.

When I finally realized this after quite a bit of meditation and reflection I felt a wave of grace wash over me, forgiveness for all the times I struggled to give it up, and compassion for the part of me that ached for connection and companionship. And it was this realization that finally allowed my addiction to soften, fade, and let go so that a new form of pleasure could take its place.

We must ask ourselves when we’re struggling with cravings, addictions, and vices - what aspect of us needs to be loved? Yes, there is the physical and chemical component but what about the emotional? What void is being filled by this substance, pattern, and/or behavior? What do we ache for? What do we need to feel whole? We must take control and discover the root of our addictions and then fill our cups with compassion, empathy, generosity, and acceptance. In this way it is possible to rid ourselves of this manic, abusive, addictive love and move towards practices, habits, and substances which will truly fuel our healing journeys.

If you’re ready to untangle your own vices and receive clear action steps and guidance so that you can finally feel free, empowered, and balanced I’d love to hear from you! Don’t be shy, the unconditional love I’ve cultivated for myself extends to you as well. Click HERE to book a FREE Clarity Call with me!





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