the good and bad of being hooked

For days now, I have been struggling with how to cope with my habit. A coffee-drinking, money-guzzling, gut-breaking habit. And then I realized my problem was far bigger than just wanting a coffee. I wanted the interaction with another (smiling) human being. I wanted the ease and instant satisfaction of the coffee, handed to me, ready to drink. I wanted the instant feel good feeling I get, the pleasure of 10 minutes where I feel like I can safely ignore the kids and relax. But with all this good stuff comes the bad. It is an expensive habit. It is a calorie-loaded habit (see, I tend to get a treat with my coffee too – a double whammy). And then the bad feelings creep in, the guilt totally negating all the good.  It is a lot of emotion wrapped up in one coffee.  And everyday I am riding this rollercoaster.

When I initially tried to cut back by getting smaller sizes, not ordering a cookie, or skipping a day, I started realizing I was compensating in other ways to get the same tiny relaxing high. I got take-out lunch (which was waaaay more money than coffee costs), I ate more candy and sweets at home (a lot more!), or I indulged in a marathon nail-biting sessions (a habit I did have broken). If I did not find a way to unwind and feel better, I was extremely snarly to the little men in my lives, and more often than not, the big man in my life too.

I know I have to break my habit(s). I also now realize I need a sane way of doing it – leaving me not feeling so guilty, so down. It took me 26+ years to quit biting my nails – with a list of arguments why I needed to stop, rewards, mental arguments, money blown on new ‘tricks’ to stop and a lot of frustration. Finally, it just clicked and I just stopped. But I do not have 26 years to break my newest habit. My piggy bank cannot take it, my waist cannot take it, my well-being is too tied to it.

I do not have a solution. Just spending another day thinking the problem over and wondering if I feel so good and then bad the days I splurge, will the reverse be true? Will I feel bad at first and then, once I see the benefits, feel good? Hard to believe it would be true the first cranky day without it.



  1. Amanda said,

    September 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Maybe save up all that coffee money for a bigger splurge? Stock up on hard candy & chewing gum to pop in your mouth when the cravings hit?
    Don’t know why I’m giving you advice. I’m addicted to Mike & Joe’s frozen Mocha myself, which is of course coffee mixed with ice cream, caramel, and a heap of whipped (real) cream.
    We could make a 2 week pact and then a reward trip to the yarn store? 🙂 Oh scratch that… I have no time to knit and new yarn would just depress me. Hmm…

  2. montessorimama said,

    September 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Oooo, a pact. I love it. Of course not for yarn since that is another habit of its own! 🙂 Have to think about it, but I think it could work. Because surely whatever 2 week splurge there is has to cost less than all those coffee drinks, right? 🙂

  3. Suzanne said,

    September 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I think I get off on buying drinks, no matter what I order. It’s a guilty pleasure, I guess. If you like drip coffee, I’d go that route, since it’s the cheapest.

    For a long time, we got rewards for using our credit card (which we use for most expenses), so I got my lattes free. Maybe that’s an option. 😉

  4. montessorimama said,

    September 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    It was funny today to notice the appliances cluttering the counter… drip coffee maker, electric tea kettle, and the espresso machine. Purchased in that order to satisfy or alter a habit. If I make more tea, I will drink less coffee or if I make a latte at home I won’t go out. Sure…. I just need to find a good way to make what I like. Mike and I used to use a creamer (super unhealthy and fake) and now it turns my stomach. Right now, I am on cup #2 of tea. Maybe tomorrow I will become reacquainted with the drip coffee maker.

  5. Michelle said,

    September 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Diana, I’m not much help, as I always promised myself I wouldn’t become addicted as Mom and Dad have. But, Starbucks does sell make-at-home products that you could try. You’d have more control over the calories that way. When I was/am trying to lose weight, I limit myself to a certain number of calories (sometimes 1,200, sometimes lower). And if I know I can only have that many calories, it helps me. So you could have a 300-calorie drink and then just compensate the rest of the day. Maybe you would eventually choose to have something of substance over a coffee drink and you’d wean yourself off.

    Also, if you need time to relax, why not lock the boys in one of their rooms for 10 minutes and just sit on the couch or outside and do some deep breathing. Maybe that would give you the same kind of high.

  6. Molly S said,

    September 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    You know, I really can’t give you much advice on this front. I recently received one of those Rewards checks from my credit card company. Instead of being responsible about it and putting it in the bank or applying it to my next Visa bill I decided to cash it. And do you know where I have been spending it? Just take one guess, well a couple: Vecino’s & Starbucks. I don’t usually succumb to the treats, but I LOVE the feeling I get from spending my “extra” money on something I can immediately enjoy and also do not have to take care of afterward. AND it makes me feel good, peppy and all.
    One idea that I might have, if you really want to do something different is save the money you might have used on Starbucks coffee and buy a one-cup-at-a-time coffee maker. You know, the kind with the little (totally user friendly, but environmentally unfriendly–you’d make it in your own cup, so it’s not as bad as using paper, maybe) cups you place into the machine. It makes just one cup, which would give you a feeling of treating yourself, there’s no cleanup, and it would probably cost less than a trip to the Sbucks. Also, because it makes just one, you’re less likely to overdo it.
    Or, you could just chalk it all up to doing what works for now and leave it where it is. 🙂 There is something to be said to a smiling face handing you a lovely, perfect cuppa…

  7. montessorimama said,

    September 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Part of me says, Oh yes, this is just the stage we are at…. and this will be my crutch. But then I worry, maybe in a few months that will still be the excuse. 😉

  8. Noelle said,

    September 29, 2010 at 10:57 am

    It is always a struggle for me to know when and how much slack to cut myself. This past summer the way I dealt with my grief over moving was to eat. I hated myself the whole time, because I was feeling great about what I’d started to accomplish last spring with regards to exercise etc. and I knew I was completely reversing all of that good work. But I also felt so overwhelmed and unhappy, and food reliably dulled the pain.

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