Five Letters Re: Addictions That Could Be Your Undoing

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Mr. Rawles,
The article written by Z.T. was spot on. As I write this, I have been five days caffeine free.

For the past several months I have intentionally been cutting back on coffee. I was a chronic coffee drinker and had been for about 20 years. As many as four pots of coffee a day by myself. I loved coffee.

Many years ago I spent several months in the woods camping and was stuck with no coffee. I learned first hand how debilitating 'minor' addictions can be. For the first two weeks I was useless. Couldn't do anything but sleep and lay in my sleeping bag, sick to my stomach with my head pounding as though it were exploding. For the first ten days I was completely incapacitated. The symptoms abated after that.

The normal withdrawal time is around seven to nine days.
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are: headaches, fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, impaired concentration and work difficulty, depression and or anxiety, irritability, increased muscle tension, which may also include, tremors, nausea, and vomiting.

In a final note I would like to tell anyone that wants to kick the habit. It can be done.
Perhaps my plan can help some one.

 I went from four pots a day to three pots for about a month, then to two for a month to a few weeks, then down to one pot for about a few weeks. After that I started counting cups a day until I was down to three cups a day for a month; Up until five days ago when I quit.

I may not have quite as much energy but I am much calmer, relaxed, with much less stress and anxiety. My thoughts seem to be clearer and more organized as well.

If anyone gives it a try I hope it works well for you.
God Bless - D.P.


After a trip to the cardiologist last November, I was advised to stop drinking caffeine. I usually drank a cup or so a day, very little by comparison, plus a Monster (Rehab is my favorite - ironically), and maybe a Mountain Dew or Coke. Not always on the same day and not every day. So I thought that it would be no problem to quit.

It took a full month for the splitting headaches to go away. The fog finally lifted from my brain a few weeks later. After about two months I felt like I was finally awake. I was shocked.

Then a couple of weeks ago I had a couple of sick kids and extra overtime, so I got about 8 total hours of sleep in my work week. I thought that I could surely handle one Monster spread over two days. I had energy galore! I could think with great clarity!

Now, three weeks later without any caffeine, I can't seem to wake up, the headaches are still there, and everything is fuzzy again.

I would surely carry No Doze in my bug out bag, but only as an emergency.


Anyone that has an addiction that inhibits them as it did Z.T. needs to rethink their priorities. I've been a pot a day coffee drinker and a pack a day smoker. Nothing is harder than keeping mental acuity when interjected in every other thought is "more coffee" or "another smoke would feel nice, no?"

My suggestion would be to take off a day or two(or a week in Z.T.'s case) and go through withdrawal. Drink plenty of water and remember that any snippiness is not you, but the drugs. I've gone through withdrawal many times, and currently have been off any drugs/stimulants for over a year. It is good experience to know how to get off drugs and how long it takes. I can say that any "boost" in performance granted by caffeine or cigarettes is an illusion created by its dependency causing lower baseline functioning. If you want to be alert, allot yourself 7-to-8 hours to sleep, turn off the electronics and dim the lights about an hour before bed, and do a peaceful activity such as reading or crocheting before heading off. - J.M.


Hi Jim, and Readers,
I realized a few years ago that coffee to me was and addiction, and when I wasn't able to get it I would develop some pretty rough head aches.
this plus having to make too many trips to the restroom were a great interference to my forward momentum while working or driving.

I made a conscious decision to reduce the intake to one, maybe two cups a day, it took a while to get used to the reduction but since we have really good water I now drink water which is much better for my kidneys anyway. And take a bit of a walk to get reoxygenated it really helps, or just go outside and take some really deliberate deep breaths.

I have stocked up on a large amount of coffee, not only for when things happen, but for trading too. Even though I have reduced the amount I drink, and could probably wean off of it after several days,  It is still very good to keep you alert when the need arises and you have to stay awake on CQ or guard duty after the SHTF. Yes I have pulled copious hours of guard duty, CQ, Staff Duty, and other all-nighters, Long radio watches as a net control operator, napping off is absolutely not an option.
I believe that having that large amount of French roast is a very wise idea  when we wind up having to watch out for intruders and can't shake off the nappiness.

The really hard part is breaking the habit, once broken though, The coffee becomes more effective when you really need it.
There is always the social aspect of a good cup of coffee too, Keep in mind that during tough times discussing situations over a good friendly cup of coffee can be a good ice breaker too.
Blessings - Dave of Oregon


Dear Mr. Rawles,
I know how Z.T. must feel, although I don't have the same level of "addiction" to coffee.  My solution is stockpiling little plastic "tubes" of instant coffee to carry in luggage, purse or pocket.  You can almost always get hot water and then the tube of crystals becomes coffee.  Also great for trade or barter. They are available on Amazon,com. The best deal I found so far is the Taster's Choice Columbian: 160 tubes/packets for $26.56 or about 16 cents a cup. Love your blog.  Take care. - Mary J. in Western Oregon

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