The Ladder and the Crutch

I spent the entirety of September without coffee.

Or any caffeine for that matter.

I did this by choice. And for a couple of reasons.

One, I was tired all the time. It seems like an oxymoron to cut out something that wakes you up, but it needed to be done.

As far as consuming caffeine, it was getting out of hand. No matter what time it was, if I yawned, I drank something caffeinated not long after. This was a problem that was causing other problems. I couldn’t sleep very well because of the late consumption and I was waking up so early so often that it was just a nightmare. The coffee was no longer a ladder to my productivity, it was a crutch.

And I could say it was a slight addiction, although I’m not claiming to be any sort of hero for this or claiming withdrawals. I was in mild discomfort to put it heavily.

However, to certain standards, I felt like garbage for the first 10 days. Headaches, irritability, and tiredness were all prevalent. After the 10 days, I found that I was feeling better every day. Approaching day 20-21, I wasn’t even thinking of coffee or caffeine at all.

I honestly just missed the taste of coffee. And that’s what I wanted to know. Do I drink it for the taste, the smell, and the ritual? Or do I drink it because I need to?

Well, now it’s the taste because I was able to go without it for 30 days. Today, being day one, I had a small cup in the morning, and I was pleased with the taste and how I felt afterwards

Two, it was an exercise of challenge.

Like I said earlier, I needed to know if it was a ladder or a crutch.

For the first 10 days, it definitely felt like a ladder.

Afterwards, relatively speaking, I was good to go. I slept better, and my moods were better regulated. I felt more alert during the day because I didn’t have this carry over of caffeine into bed time. I was awake when I needed to be, and my I (bleeping) crashed when it came to bed time.

Again, I did this by choice. I wanted to have something that was causing me slight discomfort to prove to myself that I could handle a hard/long work day without a reliance on caffeine before every session.

Psychologically speaking, I feel more confident to tackle big business related tasks without the need to “caffeine up” before a big meeting.

Physiologically speaking, my body has up-regulated again. That means, my body is much less tolerant of caffeine, so when it is ingested, that hits big. I was down-regulated, and my body wanted more and more to stay awake and alert.

Now, this is my own challenge to myself. My question for you is, what do you do every day that you “need” to do?

This, of course, is in the sense of “want”. You need to wake up and get your kids ready, you need to eat breakfast, you need to go to work to fulfill financial needs. You “want” to drink coffee to wake you up. You “want” to do your hair to look professional.

Find that “want” and address it head on. Responsibly take a look at what it affects in your life, and then decide if it needs to be changed or not. For many, it is caffeine. For others, it could be social media, Netflix/Hulu/HBO, or a midnight snack.

Then, if you need to, stay away from it for 30 days.

Note, this should be something measurable. For instance, time on your phone, time watching television, ounces of coffee drank, etc.

A bad example would be “not swearing”. It’s pretty hard to measure swear words through out the day. A journal could be used to tally up how many you use or don’t use, but you may get frustrated and swear at your journal, point defeated.

Measurable. Time, ounces, grams.

If you want to talk about it, feel free to email me at I’d love to hear about it.

Coach Mike

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