UnBooks:Caffeine Cold Turkey

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“It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, The hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.”
~ Old Wisdom on Coffee

Coffee, the sweet, succulent nectar of the gods and the most devious addiction-inducing substance on this planet, is what has, for twelve years been the only thing helping me get up in the mornings. The sweet, dark roasted Arabica espresso made in the classical Italian espresso pan on the stove has been a highlight of my mornings for the past twelve years.
The novel Caffeine Cold Turkey is also available in paperback.

As a youngster I started off by drinking a little with plenty of milk, these days it's a pot a morning. A mug of espresso or a pint of it when the milk is accounted for... Ah, the sweet Goddess Caffeina. She even exists in the most thrilling forms of Coca Cola and the wonderful sports and energy drinks a night working wage slave can't resist.

When work became night shifts, the sweet nectar followed, making everything so much more pleasant at work. Then it happened. The doomsday for all addicts...

A friend intervenes

That's what we want. Instant alertness. *cough* Legally...

It came up in casual conversation. Sounded like they had planned for it for ages, days, weeks, months? It did not matter. It came very subtly, ”You couldn't go with even half of your current coffee intake for a month, let alone quit caffeine entirely”. As swiftly as the comment had been said, without my poor little hyperactive and sleep deprived brain realising the brain fart that happened, I said ”it's a bet, then”.

Now I'm stuck having to stay off the only thing I'm addicted to for a whole, bloomin' month. And to make things worse, the bet was about all forms of caffeine. I'm going to try keep a diary of how things progress, as I attempt to make it, using up every conceivable trick in the book to try stay sane and off the stuff...

The first week

Day 1

I can't see a difference. Had herbal tea this morning. And cranberry juice. And a bit of hot chocolate at work. Ok, so a pint of hot chocolate at work. And some chocolate. And had to fiddle with the phone until my workmate glared at me, then yelled at me to stop... then they tried to get me to come on a cigarette break with me. I don't smoke, and I'm proud of it! I'm too minty to want to smell of fags...

Getting up in the morning was the worst thing. It hurt not to get out my coffee pot. It honestly hurt like hell. But I did it. I think I can honestly do this! I can I can I can. I'm good at this. I'll make it through this, just like I barely made it through high school without flunking.

29 days to go, I can do this, I can I can I can... Errr... Sorry, little sugar rush from having all that lemonade and candy. Mmm... Candy...

Day 2

Alright. I felt tempted to have a little sip. I think I did it. I haven't hurt myself yet trying. I've had some more tea. Green tea supposedly contains more caffeine than coffee... I have yet to feel the difference, though. I love my coffee. The beans are there in my fridge, calling for me. I can look away, I can do what I have to to win the bet. I have to. I know I can.

I think I can... *twitch*

I went for a jog later, almost stopped by Starbucks to get some fluids. Not a good idea, let me tell you that. I almost caved in under the smell of those freshly ground beans and freshly brewed espresso. Had a triple strawberry banana chocolate chip flurry yoghurt smoothie in stead, but even that didn't help. Except to give me a sugar rush. Now I'm stuck playing solitaire on my computer, since I'm too worked up to actually get any sleep. Work tomorrow will be a living hell.

Day 3

Alright. I'm cold all the time. I'm shivering and twitching. And I can't focus on a thing for more than three point two seconds, which is bad at my job. Like bad. Really bad. As in awfully doomsday bad. Or that's what they've kept telling me at work. Considering my colleagues aren't much better off, you should be happy I only work at an emergency call centre and not customer support. Boy would customers feel they've been mistreated.

Ah well. Fortunately there's a workmate who's even less competent than I am on top of all the attention span problems.

They've been policing the other guy's doings in stead of mine... *evil grin*.

I'm hurting and freezing. It's summer, and I'm wearing enough clothes to supply a Japanese Arctic expedition with. There might have been a nugget of truth in me being addicted. Damned I'm cold.

Day 4

I woke up this morning in pain. Didn't know what happened, but I think the piercing that has appeared into my ear overnight has something to do with it. I'm messed up. And I didn't even have much alcohol last night. I think... I have a feeling six whiskeys are a little too much for the whole "just so I can relax a little" bedtime drink.

*blink* *twitch*


Hmmmm... Maybe I should go to bed and try sleep some, I'm so cold. I need to get something to keep my mind off caffeine with... Mmmm... Chocolate.

Day 5

Ouchie. Migraine. Gotta call in sick today and stay in bed.

Gotta get myself some migraine meds... *twitch* the keyboard is so LOUD. OUCHIE!!!

Day 6

It is getting increasingly difficult for me to stay focused, although I should be at my sharpest while on duty at work. This is gonna earn me a telling off by the boss. I guess I should try to - in stead of writing into my pink diary with suspicious looking tooth marks on it. I might have tried taking a bite off it during a weak moment earlier this week.

I got a trained professional to give me a massage after work. First time I've been relaxed for the duration of this week. Well, almost. At least I slept after that... Huzzah! I can do this. I hope... I wonder what I should try next. Ah.. I know.. Some herbal tea. Yeah. Tea...

Day 7

A week down *twitch*, 21 days to go. I'm thinking I'm going to go back to bed and hold my head. I'm *twitch* ouchy and *twitch* the air conditioning is making so loud sounds it's like living with a Lear Jet in my home!

Gawwwwd it hurts... *twitch*

The second week

Day 8

*Rocking back and forth on the bed* I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna... Who am I kidding... *fiddles with the coffee maker* My presciouss... Hmm... NO! I'll stay strong. I have to. I'm going to get all the fame and glory of quitting... I'm not going to be a quitter!

I know! I'm going to *shiver* write something. That'll keep me from thinking of... mmmm... Arabica... No! I'll stay strong. Honest! I've never thought about it, but my cat looks like a nice big walking coffee bean...

Day 8, six minutes later

I'm going to make this... Grabs a hammer and smacks hand BLOODY HELL THAT HURTS!

Ahh sweet distraction... No coffee yet... twitch

Day 9

I'm feeling better today, though I woke up with a tuft of cat hairs in my mouth and half my face is covered in claw marks. Why did that happen? Why didn't I think of spam umm... paneki painkillers before? I'm so high on morphine due to my broken hand bones that I can't feel a thing la de dum dum diddly dah! But my hand is so mangled up I need to type using a pencil in my mouth. It's getting mightily annoying with all the typos... Grawr! *chews on the pen* Mmm... Lead... I think they told us in school it's healthy. Good for your bones, right?

Day... um... 11?

I think I slept a little, but the newspaper says I've been out cold for two days. And woke up next to a very suspicious looking chap. How did that happen?

After a little investigation into the matter, the last person to see me sober was in fact the bartender at a pub halfway across the continent. How odd... Thankfully, my credit card still covered for my trip home almost on time for work. As far as they're concerned, I just overslept. Okay?

Day 12

Day 13

13!, my lucky number! However looking at the credit card bill I just got, it isn't. Apparently I've spent three times my monthly caffeine budget on alcohol alone in the past week?! This'll be interesting to solve.

Day 14

Two weeks gone, two more to go.

Week the Third!

That almost sounds obcene. Nevermind. Back to writhing. Umm... Writing. That's the word. W-R-I-T-I-N-G.

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 21

I wonder if the lack of coffee has made my brain fidgety, too... I'm sure I missed a number, but can't figure out which one...

Week 4

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

The Aftermath

Caffeine withdrawal
After the bet was settled, the test subject woke up in a very fashionable hug-me-tight-jacket at a posh new holiday resort.

In conclusion

As a friendly piece of advice, I have, after my experiences with the bet and following holiday at the the Arkham resort, I can now recommend, that if you even consider doing what I have just done. Don't. It's not worth it.

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