Sunday, January 4, 2009

Are Addictions All Equal?

Having spent the last 19 days trying to stay on this caffeine-free wagon, I think I am much more empathetic to people with "real" addictions. I have some questions, however.

1. Having stopped using, do little uses of a preferred substance set an addict back, causing them to feel both sick and desperately wanting more at the same time?
• I've allowed myself a few caffeinated beans here or there, or an afternoon espresso with just one shot of the goods, thinking that this little infusion would help take the edge off the headache or tiredness. I'm wrong. That little bit of caffeine makes me anxious, tired but desirous to drink more.

2. Is this why "real" addicts who are recovering can't just ease off their drug of choice?

3. Is it possible, say in a month or two, to be able to have a cup of java every once in a while without going back to pre-December 15 behavior?
• I'm hoping that once my body is purged of its desperation for caffeine, I'll be able to socially drink again.

So, any real or former addicts out there who could give me some advice?


Jenna said...

i would love to leave a mock comment about addiction, but it's the world wide web...and some people can't take a joke.

i'll say this: you and marty look good. i really think there is something to this no-caffeine thing. it's ironic that you look so alive and awake. not that i thought you looked tired before...ever. but you do look sprightly.

so, friend, it makes me wonder how analogous this is to the christian walk...

oh. and as a subscriber to your blog, it just occurred to me that you've traded in coffee for blogging. but, no. this is not an addiction. this is chronicling the detox.

SteveQ said...

Saying to yourself that "maybe a little wouldn't be so bad" is pure addict-speak. The difference, really, is that with most recovering addicts, a little soon escalates until it's life threatening.

It's an addiction if it has a massive negative impact on your life. Caffeine's never that serious... I think.

Some addicts do have to wean themselves off their chemical of choice - in a hospital setting - or else their body shuts down completely, but, generally it's only cold turkey that works.

Three days after cutting off the drug, it's out of your system and the physical addiction is broken. From there on, it's mental. The biggest problem is avoiding the old behaviors that lead to use and the people who encourage it.

Matthew Patten said...

I used to go cold turkey on caffeine a couple of times a year just to prove I was not an addict. It is really tough to do when you work for Starbucks.

I agree with Steve, I don't think caffeine is a destructive addiction. Although, there are a few cases of "caffeine poisoning".

I would not put alcoholism and caffeine on the same leve.

I think it was Ron "tater salad" White who said "Rehab is for quitters"