Confessions of a Caffeine Addict

I’ll admit it — I’m addicted to caffeine. And no, I don’t mean that I’m a coffee junkie (although I do love my coffee). I mean, I am 99.9% certain that I’m addicted to caffeine, specifically energy drinks.

Confessions of a Caffeine Addict
Image: “Shining Red Bull” by reynermedia on flickr.com, used with Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license; text added

Now, before you try to lecture me, please note that I understand energy drinks are bad for me. Especially drinking as many energy drinks as frequently as I do. I know it’s a problem and I’d love to quit… but they are just so delicious!

I’ve tried several times to quit drinking energy drinks but the withdrawal symptoms, particularly the headaches, make me legitimately afraid to quit (check out this article on caffeine withdrawal). The headaches get that bad. Some have been so severe that I couldn’t manage to function — I even had to take a trip to the ER once for the worst headache of my life after giving up energy drinks and all other caffeinated beverages. I’ve also been to the ER for an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath which was most likely related to drinking energy drinks, although I was drinking far less at that time than I used to.

My sophomore year of college I could drink up to four in one day and often did. (I know, that’s absolutely horrible, disgusting, and unhealthy.) Recently I’ve been drinking at least one each day but I’ve managed to go energy drink-free for almost a full week now. I have had a couple caramel macchiatos… One thing at a time, right? On the plus side, I have been able to quit drinking pop permanently.

Yes, the once delicious nectar now takes like a concoction of disgustingness, so at least I have that going for me.

Trying to quit energy drinks has been much harder, though, especially since they were part of the reason I was able to quit pop. I just love carbonated, sugary beverages. I’ve been able to make it a few months at a time without drinking energy drinks before, but then water loses its appeal. And then I’ll try to go back on pop, telling myself pop is better for me than energy drinks, but then I feel like I need to quit drinking pop and need some energy, and BOOM! I’m right back on the energy drinks. I tell myself that I’ll just have one on a certain day because I’m tired and need it, but then, as I’m sure you can imagine, I find that I “need” to drink another one the next day.

Image: "Rockstar Sparkling Energy Drink, 9/2014 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube" by Mike Mozart on flickr.com, used with Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license; text added
Image: “Rockstar Sparkling Energy Drink, 9/2014 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube” by Mike Mozart on flickr.com, used with Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license; text added

Part of my motivation for giving them up again comes from wanting to protect my teeth. I cannot stand having cavities (specifically getting them filled), and I am looking into getting Invisalign. I had braces in junior high and into high school, but I hated wearing the retainer because I had thought I had done my time. Now, my teeth are starting to shift and I want to have a straight smile. Since you get Invisalign from dental care professionals, I figure they will want a mouth free of cavities, and so I want to make sure that the energy drinks do not destroy my teeth.

I’ve tried to quit “cold turkey” before, but that usually leads to massive headaches that interfere with my ability to function, and I simply do not have time to put life on hold in order to nurse a pounding migraine. Hopefully, slowly backing off the energy drinks will help eliminate them completely, and maybe even rid me of a few more pounds.

Wish me luck, everyone, I’m going to need it.

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