Caffeine has always been my constant companion. In my younger years, caffeine came in the form of Mountain Dew. When I entered the workforce, my caffeine delivery system became coffee. As energy drinks entered the marketplace, Monster became my drink of choice. The thing is, caffeine is not good for me. I have known for a while and recently had a doctor prove it. And yet, I didn’t stop putting caffeine in my system.
Have you ever had a habit you wanted to break but didn’t have the motivation to do so? Or if you could break it, the habit would come back? The problem may not be willpower. The problem may be that you are treating the symptom not the cause.
When I was drinking coffee, I didn’t like the taste of every cup and I hated how it discolored my teeth. Yet I would drink cup after cup. If I had a Monster or two, I would have the shakes and couldn’t concentrate. Yet I would have more the next day. When we digest things which are not good for us, we actually experience a high. The high is created when our bodies rally the troops to fight the unwanted guest. As adrenaline attacks the invader, we experience a seemingly pleasurable high from something that is actually not good for our system.
But knowing all this did not give me the power to remove caffeine from my diet. This is because I did not drink it to get the high per se. I was using the high to hide my pain, discomfort, and negative emotions. If I was in a good mood, I didn’t need coffee. If there was troubling me, I longed for caffeine and could think of nothing else. When I was caught up in the high of caffeine, I could ignore what was bothering me. Caffeine is my Band-Aid, my mask. This addiction distracts me from those things I don’t want to face. But you know what? The things I didn’t want to face are still there after every cup.
Next time you reach for your mask of choice whether it is coffee, chocolate, potato chips, or a marathon of CSI, stop. Put down your addiction and wait. See what emotion, fear, anxiety, or worry washes over you. Then work through that discomfort. By going through the discomfort you can remove it once and for all. And in doing so, you can also release your addiction.