Coffee addict kicks habit for week challenge

“Vices” is a series that challenges what we think we need. Each week, a different writer will give up something he or she “can’t live without.” We watch them land safely or crash and burn.

Screen shot 2011-10-10 at 9.03.11 PM“Vices” is a series that challenges what we think we need. Each week, a different writer will give up something he or she “can’t live without.” We watch them land safely or crash and burn.

Ever since I was two years old, I have loved coffee. Neither of my parents enjoy their morning cup of joe, but my aunt and I used to bond over coffee when we went a café before shopping. As we waited in line, we would fight about the kind of coffee we wanted because she liked hers with cream and sugar while I liked mine black. Fast-forward 17 years, and nothing has changed.

I wake up every morning at 9:47 a.m. to the sound of my coffeemaker grinding and brewing fresh beans for my cup of liquid energy. At approximately 10 a.m., I stumble out of my room with my eyes half closed, pour myself a double cup of coffee, check my daily schedule and read the news on my iPad. While it’s important to catch up on current events, I take this time to wake up and prepare myself for the day ahead. Once I’m finished, I go shower off the monster that appears every morning and mold it into the Mark we all know and love.

As I leave my apartment, I grab my four-cup-tumbler full of piping hot coffee and sip it to stay caffeinated throughout the day to avoid a mid-afternoon caffeine withdrawal. Once my withdrawal starts to hit in the early evening, I pour two more cups before working on homework.

I repeat my routine almost every day because once I feel the caffeine withdrawal, I have to get another fix, and I can go about my life.

I realized how bad the addiction got the day I ran out of coffee beans. I walked to Starbucks with my eyes half closed, my hair standing straight up and my breath smelling worse than the subway just so I could get those precious, dark-brown beans. Once I got them and brewed my coffee, I felt human again and all was right with the world.

It’s an awful feeling to realize that a substance controls your behavior and that I can’t be myself without giving in to my addiction, so I decided to try a week without coffee and see how it went. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

Day One:

I stumbled out of bed expecting to have the rich aroma of coffee filling my kitchen only to realize I didn’t set my coffeemaker. I awkwardly sat down on my couch and reached for the iPad to try to catch up on everything that happened the day before, but I realized I couldn’t read anything. It was like my mind would just wander for a couple minutes and I’d finally regain focus only to realize my iPad relocked itself due to inactivity. I tried several times to read the news, but gave up after staring at the wall for five minutes. It was like my mind was just screaming “where’s my coffee?”

I decided to shower and go about my day, but all I could think about was where my coffee was.

I sat in my lecture hall staring off into space without absorbing anything.

The rest of the day was a blur. The only thing I could think about was getting my caffeine fix and how I didn’t remember anything from the day. Later I attempted to read for Intellectual Heritage, but ended up falling asleep with my iPad in my lap.

Day Two:

I woke up thinking about coffee again, but my outlook wasn’t as glum. I actually went about my day with some sense of normality, despite my head feeling perpetually cloudy. It was like everything was going in one ear and out the other. I couldn’t focus no matter how hard I tried, and to add insult to injury, I couldn’t retain anything I heard even if I got a moment of clarity.

Day Three:

I woke up to my phone blasting my alarm feeling like Katy Perry in “Last Friday Night.” There was no way I was getting through the day this hung-over, so I caved and set my coffeemaker. Like an expensive cologne commercial, my heart started racing as that beautiful scent glided up my nostrils. Finally the coffeemaker beeped and my coffee was ready.

I filled my coffee cup and chugged the black gold for dear life. Once I finished the cup, I caught up on world events, showered and felt like my normal self.

The reason I can get everything done in my life is because I have eight cups of coffee per day. As college students, we live very busy lives. Some people can manage their time very effectively, but others rely on a little help from our friend stimulation, whether it’s from adderall or just a strong cup of coffee. The boost of caffeine from coffee has been shown to increase attention, memory, muscle performance and muscle recovery, yet it’s almost calorie free and all natural.

With so many benefits, I won’t be giving up my coffee addiction any time soon because without it, I would cease to be myself.

Mark Longacre can be reached at


  1. Sounds like you have a serious coffee problem!

    Maybe try weaning yourself off instead of stopping cold turkey?

    Great article!

  2. May I just say what a relief to find someone that really understands what they’re discussing on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you are not more popular since you surely possess the gift.

    Excellent article. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep it up!

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