As you may or may not know I am an addiction worker working with people with alcohol and drug issues. There are a lot of people addicted to non alcoholic and what they see as non-drug based substances such as Coffee, tea and juice. However, caffeine which is in coffee, tea and many fizzy juices is a drug and can be addictive, more of a psychological addiction than a physical one. I used to drink around 12 – 15 cups of coffee a day a few years ago and have managed to control it to around 3 cups per day and can now take it or leave it.
I don't want to go into addiction too much because it's a huge subject. Needless to say a lot of alcohol and drug addicts don't want to stop their addiction they just want to control it and that is great. I would rather someone drink or take drugs when they are in control of it. Aside from the from the fact that most drugs (A lot of people are addicted to prescribed medication) are illegal it's better to help someone control their drug intake rather than lecture to them that they must stop drugs because it is bad for them; that never works.
Here are 5 steps to breaking your coffee addiction
1. Admit you're addicted
This is obviously the most important step with any addiction. If you don't admit it and don't recognize that you have an addiction then in your head you are not addicted. It's only when other people start to say things like 'You drink a lot of coffee don't you?' or when your work colleagues start calling you 'mr coffee'( I wonder if that's how 'Mr T' got his name.) that you start thinking that you might be addicated. When you recognise the addiction it's time to start taking action.
2. Recognise the pattern of your addiction
Most coffee addicts have a routine. For example the first thing they do is have a cup of coffee when they get up in the morning, then again after they have had a shower and put their clothes on and then again before they leave for work. That's three cups of coffee within the space of an hour or so and the pattern continues at work and when they get back home from work and before they go to bed.
I always find it helps to have a visual representation of your habit and you can see at a glance just how much you are drinking.
As such I have made a PDF to record your coffee drinking routine throughout the day.
3. Breaking the pattern
As I said before your aim is to control the habit rather than have the habit control you, so we are not going for giving up coffee we are looking to cut down and be in control.
You can break the pattern by swapping coffee with water. For example if you have 3 cups of coffee before leaving for work, replace your second cup of coffee with a glass of water. This has two benefits; you are breaking the pattern of your coffee habit and you are re-hydrating your body (too much coffee can dehydrate you, this is why a lot of heavy coffee drinkers get headaches).
4. Resisting the craving
When we have a habit of any kind we get cravings to indulge in our habit. When you have an craving to have a cup of coffee during the day, resist it and do something else for 20 minutes. Cravings usually dissappear when we have our minds focused on something else, so if you can manage to resisit a craving for coffee and busy yourself with something else for 20 minutes your craving will go away. It might return again and you may have to busy yourself a few times throughout the day but your cravings will weaken as you mentally get stronger and are able to control the cravings.
5. Tell those around you your intentions
As with all habits that you are trying to break it's good to let other people know about your intention to cut down. This way other people can encourage you when you are feeling particualrly weak.
As I said at the beginning my aim was to help you with controlling your coffee addiction not to eradicate it.
It would be interesting to know how many cups of coffee or tea our readers have per day. Leave a comment and let us know how much you drink per day.