Feb 26, 2008

In Need of caffeine anonymous

by John Davis

I’m no better than any other addict. There, I said it. I can’t function without the refreshing, tingly sensation that is the new Diet Pepsi Max. I refuse to get my day started until the caffeine, ginseng extract and phenylalanine make my — well, I don’t know exactly what they do. I do know that when I drink it I feel like I’ve swallowed rays of sunshine that my disposition emits throughout the day.
There’s only one problem. When I don’t drink between two to four liters daily I feel like a grouchy monster. Instead of sunshine, I walk around with the little rain cloud over my head like Charlie Brown. I also yawn excessively and get emotional at the drop of a hat. On Sunday I almost cried while watching Hannah Montana in 3-D, not because it was a great family experience. Spending $20.00 per ticket made me oh, so very sad.     
My wife suggested I receive help for my problem. After some searching, I found out there is help for those like me. In September, the Caffeine Awareness Alliance created Caffeine Anonymous, an online forum and chat space with no fees and dues, where the only requirement is the desire to stop consuming caffeine.
“We received many thanks from individuals who are grateful to finally have an outlet to voice their opinion on this controversial drug,” Marina Kushner, founder of the Caffeine Awareness Alliance, said in a September press release. “Caffeine has been linked to heart disease, mood disorders, central nervous system disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, insomnia, and even death.”
I decided I didn’t want to die from my addiction. However, before getting proactive and signing up, I tried to stop cold turkey. I realized this was going to be harder than I thought. I envisioned my Caffeine Anonymous session playing out like this.}
John: “Hi my name is John.”
Class: “Welcome John.”
John: “I’m addicted to caffeine.”
Class: (applause)
John: “I haven’t been doing it long. I only started as a means to stay awake and get more productivity out of my day. Now, I take double what I started to get me through the day. I realized I had a problem when I walked through an intensely cold winter storm to get my morning fix.”
Moderator: “That’s OK, John. The first step is to admit you have a problem.”
John: “It’s not that big of a deal.”
Moderator: “You’re in denial.”
Caffeine Joe: “You don’t understand what you’re doing to yourself. Your behavior is self-destructive.”
John: “I’m leaving — this is too much to handle.”
Moderator: “Don’t worry, class. There is always a breakdown before the breakthrough. He’ll be back. They always come back.”
Well, maybe I can skip the Caffeine Anonymous and take baby steps, starting with making my 2009 New Year’s resolution to stop drinking caffeine. That way I’ll have 11 months to really get prepared for the next step.
If you need caffeine anonymous, you can go to www.caffeineanonymous.org. Tell Caffeine Joe I’ll see him next year.

Contact John Davis at jhdavis2@liberty.edu.

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