…and Life: Drug Free for Over Two Weeks!

It’s not what you think, but it feels like it! Seventeen days ago I quit drinking caffeine!

And this is coming from someone who once had 17 diet cokes in one day… when studying for finals in college.

For years I’ve known it was something I would have to do. Then, when I was working at the district office in Newport-Mesa, Lainie McGann made the first inroads toward convincing me to actually change. I remember her saying, “Do you have knots in your shoulders? It’s not from stress.” I started to cut down… slowly but surely. I eventually got to smaller coffees in the morning, though I would refill them, and smaller diet cokes at lunch, though I would always leave with a refill, usually my third. I did manage the no caffeine after 2pm thing, though, and that made a big difference.

I can credit my current resolve to quit to Stacy Deeble Reynolds at the OCDE, who bravely lead the way. When she described to me that she could no longer stay up late working because she fell asleep when she was tired, I actually responded that I was afraid of that! That’s when I knew it had to stop. I recognized it as a control issue, and frankly as being a self medicating behavior symptomatic of being an adult child of an alcoholic. (There’s some new books I’ve been reading I should post about, too… when I have time.)

At any rate, since I’ve quit things have changed. Sure enough, I’ve started falling asleep when Eva does. And just like Stacy (and Ranjit) said, it’s easier to get up in the morning. The past two weeks were the first this year that I actually slept an average of 8 hours a night! (I’ve been tracking how I spend my hours since the new year.) Both weeks were about 4 hours over total… each week prior was about 4 to 8 hours under, or worse. I’m actually dreaming more. I am certainly less stressed, and I think I’m making more careful decisions during the day. It’s easier for me to let things go.

And, given the reading about caffeine I’ve been doing on line, this is only the beginning of the benefits to my body… it’s amazing the chemical parallels between caffeine and heroine.

Unfortunately, this does mean I’m doing less in a day… and I’m quite a bit less motivated to work long hours. Working in my cubicle at work or trying to write at home are both hard… I get tired and want coffee. Shoot, leading a training is hard because coffee is a prop for me… and a stimulant of course. Sitting in a training, or a meeting, is hard too, and I miss the camaraderie of the coffee culture at work, too. Even Sunday breakfast with Eva is hard. I used to love getting a coffee when we went out… and getting a refill to go.

I have a feeling I’m going to be a different kind of educational technologist.

Still, I think this is yet another small but significant change in my path to finding a more healthy balance in my life.

So, thank you, Lainie, and thank you, Stacy.

4 Responses to “…and Life: Drug Free for Over Two Weeks!”

  1. Lainie McGann Says:

    Mark, I am so happy that you are caffeine free! It’s funny… before bottled water was so ubiquitous, I would be somewhere and the only drink offered to me was caffeinated soda. I would reluctantly drink it even though I knew it would only dehydrate me more. Almost immediately I would get a stomachache and tremors. My body no longer tolerates caffeine. Here’s to a balanced life!

  2. Dave Thomer Says:

    Congrats. I gave up caffeine at New Year’s – well, except for chocolate. I’m not sure I feel a whole heckuva lot better, but maybe I’m just too tired to notice. :)

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