"WHen you live in a society where exhausting, spreading yourself too thin, and living off of coffee are 'cool' the temptation to consume coffee is everywhere."
What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and there was no coffee left on planet earth? If you’re anything like me, you would go into a straight panic. As soon as I realized that the thought of no coffee was so terrifying, I realized that the only terrifying part of that was my addiction to caffeine. At the request of a class project, I was asked to give up something that I felt I was “addicted” to. It did not take much more than a few moments before I knew that caffeine was going to be the thing that I gave up.
I contemplated it for awhile trying to justify something else so that I could keep my ever so precious coffee in my life, but ultimately I knew: coffee it was, but not just coffee, all forms of caffeine. The project included giving up caffeine for a total of six weeks. Throughout this journey I kept a daily record of the ways that I was thinking and feeling through this process. Many days consisted of headaches, nausea, and feelings of exhaustion. As I worked through the weeks the physical effects lightened, but the mental cravings still persisted. “I just need one cup of coffee because I am tired and I have a long night ahead of me,” was often a thought that I had to myself. “What will one cup really matter?” was oftentimes another. And let’s be honest, there were a few nights along the way that I “slipped” and had a cup of coffee.
Much to my surprise however, when I did have these few cheat cups of coffee, I never finished them. How could I crave something so strongly, but then not even endure when I gave myself the opportunity? Was it guilt? Was I truly adjusting to life without caffeine?
When looking at change in life, Prohaska and DiClemente created a Stages of Change Model which consists of 6 stages of change. It is important to understand that these stages are not linear and that it is normal to jump around in the stages. This model is simply a guidance of what different stages may look like. Personally, I worked through all 6 stages multiple times, some more than others, throughout my 6 week journey.
Identifying the stage of change you are in
Maybe you don’t feel like you are ready to make such a sacrifice like giving up caffeine, but next time that you’re facing a large change in your life, I want you to recognize the stages of change that you pass through on your own personal journey!
Pre-Contemplation: In this stage you have no intention to change your behaviors. There is denial of a problem existing, and therefore there is no motivation to change.
Contemplation: Someone in this stage is able to identify that there may be an issue, but has not yet committed to any change yet. There are lots of hesitations and ambivalence about this stage.
Preparation: At this point, the decision has been made that a change needs to occur, and that starts
with coming up with ways to change behaviors.
Action: In this stage you take action to change your problematic behaviors. You work to find ways to
change the problematic behaviors that have been addressed, and you put those plans into action.
Relapse: After making changes, the person returns to their problematic behaviors in this stage. Relapse
is part of the process when it comes to maintaining change.
When you live in a society where exhausting, spreading yourself too thin, and living off of coffee are “cool” the temptation to consume coffee is everywhere. People all over are making millions off of apparel, mugs, and many other material possessions with witty comments about the need for coffee; and this is not helping the addiction that many suffer from.
When such addiction is encouraged, it’s REALLY hard to choose to give up that particular substance! While I chose to give up caffeine, addiction is found in many more forms such as alcoholism, drugs, and prescription medications. If you feel that you suffer form any form of addiction, here at Resolve we have many counselors who specialize in addiction counseling. There are ways that you can get help and not make this change alone! We can be in this together, what are you waiting for?
Andrea McDonald, Counseling Intern