1. You’re always on the lookout for your next fix. Whether it’s inconspicuously attempting to get closer to someone who even smells slightly like coffee or scaring a fellow subway rider who has a cup by nudging him and saying, “Hey bruh, you dealin’?” you’re always squinty-eyed, scanning your surroundings for your next hit of joe. You get an especially frenzied look in your eye when you haven’t located a nearby coffee shop within the first few hours of waking up.
2. You collect coffee cups, in other words, souvenirs of your daily debauchery. Your desk looks like it could be on a special episode of “Hoarders,” because let’s face it, whether you meant to or not, you have built a shrine to your coffee-drinking habits. All hail your treasured and specially designed coffee mug from Etsy, your string of old Starbucks paper cups and evidence of that one time you were desperate enough to settle for your local bodega “brand.” These are all remnants of a beautiful past and hope for a brighter future of sipping.
3. Your withdrawal symptoms are hella scary. When you haven’t had your fix of caffeine for the day, you actually exhibit some pretty terrifying withdrawal symptoms. Signs of caffeine withdrawal can include: becoming inexplicably depressed, feeling increasingly irritable for no reason, and sobbing uncontrollably without knowing why. You might feel like life is meaningless…until you get your next espresso shot. Suddenly, the meaning of life becomes clearer and your attitude is chipper again (albeit a pretty frightening level of chipper and energetic, depending on the number of espresso shots). The popular “don’t speak to me before I’ve had my coffee” meme is embodied in your everyday behavior.
4. Your friends and family tell you that you have a problem. You’re known to pre-game your coffee with more coffee and are a fan of the infamous red eye. You may meet some of the proposed criteria for Caffeine Use Disorder in the DSM (yes, it’s a real thing). You might hear repeated requests from your loved ones to stop drinking so much coffee. You’re told that you need to cut down so you can get a good night’s rest. In response, you have plenty of excuses ready at hand to rationalize the shit out of your addiction. Hell, you even have a binder full of research that talks about the reported benefits of consuming so much caffeine. After all, your coffee-drinking habits are just a way to prevent memory loss for when you get older and a protective factor against Alzheimer’s. Right? At least, that’s what you tell yourself at night as you lie in the fetal position, cradling your most coveted cup to sleep.
5. Your barista issues a warning. Even your barista, who should be encouraging you to come back, is now threatening to cut you off. Who does he think he is, anyway? You don’t need him! You’ll find another coffee shop that’ll have you…and in the meantime, you have no problem going there donning a good disguise and some dark sunglasses to pick up your next quadruple-espresso latte.