In Blog, Fun Stuff

This isn’t a normal blog post for Wizard News. In a few days, it will be 1 year since I stopped drinking caffeine. Why am I sharing this? In the course of talking to other Admins and Devs, going to user groups and Dreamforce, one thing became very clear. The grand majority of drink a ton of caffeine.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drinking some caffeine. It can be very helpful during a stressful day when the kids kept you up late or you simply had to play “one more turn” of your favorite game.

In my situation, I was drinking a LOT of caffeine. I discovered that I was drinking it for a variety of reasons, but one of them was to address stress. I had a job I was very frustrated at. It also had free coffee. I was drinking six to eight 16 ounces of coffee a day, by noon.

Needless to say that this had some major impacts on my health. I was getting jittery at work. I became less patient. I also was having more and more trouble with sleep. This all started to snowball. The less sleep I got, the more irritable I became. The more irritable I was, the more stressed I began to feel. The more stress I feel, the more coffee I started to drink.

Ultimately, I hit a point where I contracted a heck of a illness that prevented me from drinking anything other than water for about a week. I was caffeine free for a week.

When I got healthier, I decided I might as well continue. I decided I might as well purge caffeine from my body for a month. A month became a quarter, and then I decided I might as well make it a full year.

It hasn’t been easy. It’s amazing how many drinks of caffeine in it. Going out to eat really limited yourself. There’s only a few soda/pops that are commonly served in restaurants that are caffeine free. I caught myself drinking a lot of water and lemonade.

The up-side to all this is I feel pretty darn good. I’m sleeping better overall and I even managed to lose a little weight from nearly removing soda from my diet completely.

Will I stay caffeine free forever? Probably not. I love a good cup of coffee. For me, this year has been an exercise in will power and life style change. It’s something I hope to carry over to other things I want to change. Reduce my weight, get more certifications, learn a new skill. These all take will power.

My recommendation for you my readers is to consider doing a purge of caffeine. Pick a length of time and try it. I would suggest starting with a week. That’s the shortest period of time to not have caffeine and have your body start to adjust. See how you feel. We may all be better without caffeine in the long run, but I still plan on having that good cup of a coffee occasionally.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for a more “normal” Wizard News post next week.

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Showing 8 comments
  • lifewithryan

    I’ve gone for stretches without it, but like you — I love a good cup of joe. I’m slowly reducing my caffeine intake as well. I thought what I really wanted was just that hot coffee taste so decaf would be my answer (or so I thought). Decaf ain’t cutting it today — which tells me, its time for another purge. As for soda — I don’t do soda anymore unless we’re stopping somewhere for fast food. Normally its just water for me. Congrats on the kicking the caffeine!!

    • Salesforce Wizard

      Coffee Coffee Coffee!

      I think when I go back to drinking some coffee I’m going to be a snob. It has to be really darn good coffee. I’ve heard homemade cold brewed coffee is simply awesome. That may be my requirement for starting caffeine again.

      The hardest part of not drinking caffeine was when my kids kept me up most of the night. I REALLY wanted to drink caffeine then. The second was when I was traveling. I realized I had a habit of wanted to drink caffeine when I go to trade shows, user groups and so forth.

  • David Berman

    Hello Brian,

    I like the personal post – thank you for sharing your story and *trying* to make us better and healthier admins. I have caffeine on a regular basis, but only 1 espresso-based wussy latte/mocha/Chai-based Stabuxian concoction a day. Regular drip coffee actually is a lot more caffeinated than your standard espresso-based drink. I digress….

    Occasionally I miss out a few days on my drink and though I don’t specifically crave the caffeine, I do notice I’m more likely to get a headache. My hypochondriac inner complainer tells me it’s from caffeine-withdrawal, and self-medicating via my local Stabux home-base usually does the trick.

    If I’m thinking this, others might quickly join me, because who on Earth gladly and willingly wants to give up on their daily (socially-acceptable) drug of choice?

    I know caffeine is bad, I know the milk we put in our coffee is bad, but these are all just excuses. We really ought to get off the Cuppa-Joe wagon.

    In the interest of full disclosure I would like to know how your first day, first week, and first month without caffeine went. What did you experience? Were you distracted? Did you intentionally distract yourself (from the craving), and how? I think knowing what’s ahead of you on the “Kill Joe” journey helps you plan for it and be prepared for it, we’re system designers by day after all.

    Thanks again for sharing and the inspiration.


    • Salesforce Wizard


      I love coffee. A love the smell, the taste, and warm feelings and I hold my mug bearing my children’s photos on it.

      That sad, I didn’t have any headaches from caffeine withdrawal… that I could tell. I took advantage of the fact that I was “detoxing” at the same time as I was spewing out from various orfices already. The pain from the caffeine headaches are quickly drowned out by everything else.

      I have quit caffeine before. It was common that I would go 3-4 weeks without caffeine as a “purge.” I did get headaches during those period.

      The headaches wouldn’t last all day (normally), but I would get a headache for the first two days. After that – I was fine. I still craved it like crazy. It’s difficult to know how much is from psychological habit and how much is physical desires.

      As for distraction, that’s tough to tell. I have ADD like… squirrel! Unless I’m very stimulated by something my attention wanders very easily. My best explanation is that my filter has too many big holes. I simply notice too much stuff. The only time I replace my filters is when I’m really “into” something.

      So yes I was distracted… but mainly from the smell of coffee coming from the break room and the neighboring cubes. For about 4 months I drank hot water instead of coffee. Same habit to get up, go to the kitchen, fill a mug, hold it for warmth… Not quite the same taste but I suppose it was something similar to those folks smoking sage cigarettes instead of tobacco.

      The best thing I could do was just say “no” and avoid coffee all together. No decaf (which isn’t truly 100% caffeine free anyways) and try to avoid places where caffeine was the only option. I drank a lot of water which on the plus side made me hydrated and saved me 2-3 bucks when going out to eat.

      • David Berman

        One burning question I do have though is… why consider going back to it, when you’ve done without for so long and see all the positive outcomes? I liked the ‘redirection’ of getting up for a cup of hot water, so you can still keep the habit. You can add ginger and/or lemon and then honey and you’ve got a decent-tasting hot drink that also helps fight off the lurgies (BOGO!)

        I understand it’s an addiction just like smoking, but it pains me when I see someone who’s “quit” smoking for months, maybe a year, and then goes back to it. Addictions are addictions, and it takes a continued conscious effort and life-style change, unfortunately there’s no Easy button for this one.

        • Salesforce Wizard

          because I like the smell and taste of coffee. That’s really the only reason. I’ve been thinking of a series of rules to follow.

          1. Restrict to 1 cup per time period (I’m think a week. 1 cup a day is probably too much)
          2. I must make it myself to drink it. No store bought coffee. That includes grinding the beans myself
          3. I cannot drink it when I’m tired or not focusing. This isn’t a medication… it’s a treat.

          So I’m lumping it into the same category as a dessert. It’s okay to have one every once in a while, but it shouldn’t be a habit.

  • angelaahunter

    Thanks for sharing! I have a similar problem. Quitting caffeine is one of the hardest things to do. It’s been a goal of mine but I’ve struggled. Reading your post definitely helps me feel motivated to work harder on this. Thanks again!

    • Salesforce Wizard

      Good luck with quitting caffeine! The first few days are the hardest… followed by those days when you don’t get enough sleep…

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