Oh, how the mighty have fallen! You may remember me bragging back in the fall of 2008 that I had successfully given up caffeine after a lifetime addiction. In fact, you may recall that I was a bit of a trash talker about it. I gave Warren a hard time for sticking with his coffee (I may or may not have called it his “morning poison”), and I regularly tooted my own horn about successfully beating my addiction. Caffeine withdrawal apparently made me bitchy.
You may notice the wagon on the other side of the street. And me down here in the gutter. Yep, I’ve fallen off in a big way.
How does it happen?
How did I let 14 months worth of progress go down the drain? Slowly, so slowly that I didn’t notice it was gone until, well, it was gone.
This is the way it happens, I think. We make big strides in having a healthy lifestyle, better habits at work, or better relationships. And then we get cocky. Or lazy. Or maybe just let our guard down too much.
At first I allowed myself to have the occasional Diet Coke when I was eating out for lunch (I could handle it!). Then I picked one up every time I had to go to the grocery store (it was a reward – shopping is a chore!). Pretty soon I was sharing Warren’s coffee on weekends (we were bonding!). You can see how this quickly turned into 2 large cups of coffee plus one Diet Coke almost every day by the end of December.
So now I’m back on the wagon, or at least have a leg up. My head hurts, I’m a little bit grumpy, and a whole lot mad at myself for letting this happen. After all, I have blood pressure problems and sleep disturbances when I drink caffeine, so it is not something I want in my life. And when we start traveling I don’t want to “need” caffeine to get going every morning because we may not always have access to it.
It’s funny to be thinking about this issue I already had licked at the same time as we’re focusing on new goals and plans for 2010. It just goes to show that you can’t ever really let your guard down, even from yourself.
Lessons from falling off the wagon
- If you don’t ever become an obnoxious former (fill in the blank), you won’t have to eat your words when you do slip up (and you likely will).
- If something is a big problem for you now, when you break the habit you are still at risk of relapsing. You have not beaten it; you have simply gained control over it. Telling yourself you beat it is an open invitation to test how much control you have by indulging now and then. And that’s where the trouble starts.
- No matter how embarrassing or disappointing it is, you have to dust yourself off and climb back on. If you have done it once, it will be easier the second (or tenth) time.
Have you ever fallen off the wagon after kicking a bad habit? What did you do to get back on track? Let me know in the comments.