Caffeine addiction relapse : CONFESSIONS from a coffee addict

Breaking any addiction is difficult. Participate in this dialogue about stopping drinking coffee. Is it easier said than done? Is coffee the final frontier? Or are the thoughts that drive the behavior even stronger? Read and add to the positive and negative side effects of coffee. Comments encouraged.

minute read

It’s Day 15, halfway through the month of December, during which time I am attempting to NOT drink coffee.  And I’ve relapsed three times.  I’ve rationalized the relapses as “scientific inquiry”, or “winter pick-me-up’s” but the reality is that I’m in the throes of classic addiction.

I probably need not index the stages from withdrawal to sobriety to relapse … but I do want to share some of the physical effects of espressos I have experienced after a period of abstinence.  This short list serves a double purpose.  As an index of the physical effects of caffeine AND a reminder to myself for reasons that I should not indulge in strong sources of caffeine.


  • increased wakefulness and alertness
  • increased energy
  • relieved constipation and easier bowel movements
  • elevated mood


  • increased anxiety
  • nervous energy resulting in shaking hands, toe tapping, etc.
  • stomach pain from higher acidic levels
  • cranky mood upon withdrawal
  • racing thoughts
  • short, shallow breathing
  • dehydration
  • headaches
  • muscle tension, especially in the muscles of the face

What effects does caffeine have upon you?  Should health policy makers be looking at American caffeine consumption as a danger to public health?  Is coffee and caffeine the final frontier in addiction?…and what about the thoughts that drive us to take an action even after we’ve made a good attempt to abstain from that action?

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I used to hate coffee and not until my Junior year of college did I start drinking coffee to make up for the lack of energy that I have. By the end of the semester, I was only drinking coffee (skipping eating and any other beverages) in order to stay up for 2 and a half days to make a strong finish at the end of the semester for finals. The last three weeks were the worst but the last three days were intense. Afterwards, I vowed to only drink coffee on occasion. Well the third day that I am back home, I drink a cup of Joe because of a family issue to wake up. I was great the whole day but noticed that I was starving like crazy. I ate what I could but I literally was so tired of eating I just stopped (I still had the feeling of hunger but it just wouldn’t go away). When my family finally left the hospital (for the family related issue) I was feeling really slow (almost impaired) and cold. We grabbed something to eat and then left. I felt very anxious but so exhausted. My heart felt as if it was racing (but it wasn’t) and I was so tired I felt numb and emotionless. These past two days I have just wanted to sleep and sleep but sleeping all day is not welcomed at my home and I had to work. Am I possibly getting sick or have I relapsed and am having really bad symptoms of withdraw? I am really tired but I am also really testy and much more annoyed by things and am trying really hard not to affect others by it. I would extremely appreciate any ideas, tips, or advice please!!!

  2. Users sometimes don’t think much of caffeinated drinks for various reasons. Beating coffee addiction and other caffeinated-drink addictions are very tough — as you can see by the associated users in that link — because people don’t really think it is an addiction. Soon, you realize that you’re having about 5 cups of coffee a day and then on one day you have no coffee and you’re feeling down and terrible and you can’t figure out why.

    Substitutes seem to be a good way to add some variety to the addiction in hopes of not always associating a “pick-me-up” with coffee.

    The exhaustion, fatigue, headaches, and more in the absence of caffeine are definitely clear signs that one should reduce their caffeine intake. The New York Times wrote an article about caffeine placebos working just as good as regular caffeinated products. Good research!

  3. I like very much the writings and pictures and explanations in your blog so I look forward to see your next writings. I congratulate you.

  4. Me too. Caffiene is a drug I struggle with. I’d like to quit someday, as I have a hard time practicing moderration with it. The consequences have not gotten great enough.

  5. Coffee is definitely bad mojo -I was drinking 4 pots of coffee daily, just to keep up…. the face pain you experience, I had the same thing. For my New Years resolution a few years ago, I quit drinking coffee – cold turkey. It only lasted 6 months, but the facial pain went away in 3-4 months.

    Is coffee a health risk? Beyond a cup or two a day – yes. It is a problem for many. I’ve drank myself to where I’ve even got memory loss. Yes it has it’s moments of clarity, but the long term effects are questionable at best.


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