How I Gave Up My Coffee Addiction For Tea (And How You Can Too)

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I drank my first cup of coffee at age 11. It was not exactly the finest parenting moment on the part of my own caffeine-addicted guardians, but it was a moment I’ll never forget. That probably-shitty cup of instant coffee proved to be the beginning of my jittery love affair with roasted beans and steamed milk.

What was more bad ass than a middle schooler sipping a Starbucks drink that wasn’t a Frappuccino? I was basically one step away from getting a bicep tattoo and smoking a pack a day. My love for the brewed beverage only intensified as the years went on. I reached a point, when I was in college staying up all night to write papers, where I averaged three cups a day. Coffee was a necessity in my world.

And who could blame me? Turn on the TV, and you’re immediately bombarded with pop culture role models downing cup after cup of the Colombian blend, instant mix, or whatever lighter fluid they can get their hands on. Etsy and Pinterest are flooded with “This House Runs on Love & Coffee” prints, and mugs that read “Coffee Before Talkie.”

Now, three months after going practically cold turkey with java, I feel like I no longer belong to this very public cult that worships the French press. I haven’t exchanged niceties with the coffee cart guy in months. I wouldn’t be surprised if he put a police report out for me. My own parents, who brewed an entire pot for the two of them every morning, don’t know what to do with me when I come home. And my friends who don’t want to meet up for a cocktail are suddenly at a loss when I tell them I’m sticking to tea and can’t discuss their painful breakup over an understanding cup of Joe.

So why make this drastic, socially polarizing change so suddenly? Well, I made the mistake of telling a nutritionist that I was “addicted” to coffee. I didn’t think it was a big deal. I say I’m addicted to a lot of things — Beyonce, The Hills, debating whether Clay Aiken should have won Idol — but she immediately raised her eyebrows, started praying for my soul, and told me to cut it out.

Willing to try most things at least once, I decided to give it up and see how I felt afterwards. Unfortunately, I could almost instantly tell a difference. That nervous tick that used to hit me mid-conversation seemed to vanish. Suddenly I wasn’t talking at the speed of a Gilmore Girl. And when I walked down the street in the mornings my entire body didn’t go rigid like a robot or Bruce Jenner.

I started swapping out my three cups of coffee for black teas. First off, for those who haven’t dabbled in tea, it’s delicious. Secondly, it makes you feel more naturally awake not like you’ve chemically forced your body up after staying up all night to binge watch True Detective.

I swear I’m not writing this to be one of those obnoxious, condescending assholes who dictates how you should eat. This just worked for me, and after my track record, it seems like it might just be a miracle. Not a Kim-Kardashian-being-attacked-by-that-elephant kind-of-miracle, but still a noteworthy one.

I may not be like this forever. Like a recovering alcoholic, you never know when I might relapse. I am just taking things one day at a time — tea time, that is. TC mark

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