Tuesday, April 04, 2006

One cup, two cups, threeeeee.....addicted!

I don't know how it has happened, but it has happened. When I was in university, I remember looking across the classroom and seeing so many young students clutching their coffee mugs each morning - I proudly remember saying to myself 'how do people become so addicted to coffee? I just don't get it?'

Well it's a sad day for me when I have to admit that the addiction has come full circle.

During my early years, the only experience I had with coffee was that first summer my mother left my sister Erin in charge of me. Instead of looking after me like a good babysitter would do, we ate frozen raspberries and drank a pot of coffee every morning with way too much sugar in each cup. The coffee made me sick, as did the raspberries (I think Erin will recall the time I puked up the evidence and tarnished her babysitting record for life). At any rate...I was turned off by coffee at a rather young age.

As I proceeded to enter my university days, coffee continued to be somewhat of a foreign substance for me. I mean I had tried a few cups here and there, and I will admit that nothing cured a hangover in university quite like a few cups of coffee at F&S (I think many F&S faithfuls would refer to their coffee as the surprise cup of java as you never knew what you would find in the bottom of your cup). However, there was never a time where I felt dependent on this substance or any substance for that matter. When I would wake up for an early morning class (which was rare) - the most I would drink was a glass of water, and perhaps on a cold morning I would make a cup of hot chocolate, but nothing to the extent of what I am experiencing these days.

The source of the problem can clearly be identified as the GOVERNMENT (dun dun dunnnuh). When I entered the government work environment, I was a strong young woman, ready to take on the world. That go get 'em attitude dimished rather quickly though, and after 3 months of my first real gig in communications, I was relying heavily on my daily 10 am trips to Tim Horton's to get me through the the mornings.

No need to panic...one coffee every morning, it's not going to kill a person. Everyone has at least one a day...no problem here.....right?

As I finished my first year of full-time work, I began moving my coffee break up from 10:00 am to 9:20 am (right after my daily morning meeting). Still.....it was only one cup per day, and nothing to be worried about except that I failed to recognize that I had a stronger need for a cup of joe earlier in the morning.

I think we've identified two stages of the addiction so far:

Stage 1: Beginning the daily trips to Tim Horton's
Stage 2: Creating a dependency

Now for the third factor:

Stage 3: More stress = more coffee

In January of last year, on a cold Friday morning, P and I decided to buy the house, and then he decided to propose all within the same 24 hours. Can you say holy mother of god?....I was overjoyed, but moving into a new house less than 3 months away, and planning a wedding in under 9 months, I should have bought the Timmy's Pot to Go (a miraculous invention that brews a pot of coffee in under a minute), as I started to increase my coffee intake.....I was not only getting a coffee in the early morning, but then going back for a second cup. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.... 2 cups a day.

I told myself....that's the limit. 2 cups, no more.
But yesterday....I moved into stage 4.

Stage 4: The need to cut back on coffee.

For the first day in my government career, I had a third cup of coffee. These days, I am on french training (as the whole world knows), and so the stress factor is there. I now get a cup of coffee on my way to class, then a second one at the break, and now I have the urge to get a third cup of coffee in the late afternoon. This is when I say to myself - I need to cut back.

I am 26 for cryin outloud....it's usually people in their 50's & 60's who have the 'I need to cut back' thought because their doctor has told them its not good for their heart or some other body part that acts up when you get old! Definitely not a thought that a young innocent newlywed should be having.

What is going on with the world people? Have we hit rock bottom?

Unfortunately, I don't think this problem is about to go away anytime soon - but I sit here and wonder, how did I get to this stage? Obviously, it sneeks up on you. The scary part is that I've always had the same thoughts smoking as I do about coffee, how does someone get addicted to smoking?

Great...in 4 years time I liable to be on the patch, chewing the gum to get off the patch, and then smoking again to get of the gum. It's a downward spiral from here.


Okay -- so it's not that bad, but seriously...I am being extra conscious of my coffee intake these days....it doesn't help that it's Roll Up the Rim to Win season either......it's a damn lottery everytime you buy a cup of coffee....here we go, gambling mixed with coffee....bring on the cigarettes people!

Geesh...between this diagonosis of coffee addiction coupled with my theory on the late syndrome, I am a shoe-in for the expert seat on the next Dr. Phil....or even better Oprah! Perhaps the fact that I have recognized this addiction is the first phase to recovery. Althought I don't want to cut coffee out all together - I am bit a concerned with the role coffee plays in my life.

Someone once told me that in order to phase out an addiction, you should compare the thing your addicted to with something that you don't think you could ever live without. Keep doing that until your left with the most important thing - this exercise is suppose to make you realize that you don't need the substance you're addicted to.

Okay...so let's try it.

Coffee vs. BBQ steak....I'll take coffee.
Coffee vs. Grey's Anatomy....coffee wins again.
Coffee vs. P .......umm..... can I have a minute?

JUST KIDDING...okay okay....so I have a problem, but I am working on it. Anyone else having trouble with this coffee addiction thing.....??