Many have often asked me how I know if I’m an alcoholic since so many years have gone by since the last time I ever consumed anything with alcohol in it. Some have even suggested that maybe I could handle it differently now, especially since it’s been so long (25 years now). Well, I can put all those questions to rest in light of something so silly as how I found myself consuming caffeinated beverages again in recent weeks.
I know caffeine isn’t good for me. Frankly, it makes me have incredible mood swings where I quite often do a Jekyll and Hyde transformation whenever I’ve had too much of it. Yet, every time I go through certain rough periods where everything seems to feel upside down in my life, I tend to start consuming caffeinated beverages for the slight ease and comfort they give me.
Here’s a quick statistic you may not know. Every day, about 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in some form. More than half of the adults in the country consume 300 milligrams a day, making it America’s most popular drug. Scientists have even classified caffeine as a psychoactive drug that can alter moods and behavior, which is probably the very reason why I’ve frequently fallen back into consuming it from time to time, even when I know it’s not good for me.
My most recent battle with it started 5 weeks ago on a day where I was feeling totally unloved by my partner, where my pain levels were also high, and where loneliness was the only feeling I felt within me. On that day, I chose to go to Starbucks and order my favorite drink, one that normally had 3 shots of decaf espresso in it. But, this time I ordered two of them to be decaf and one to regular. A week later, I ordered the same drink with 2 regular shots of espresso and only 1 decaf. The week after that, I had all 3 be regular espresso in my drink. And finally, on the fourth week, I began ordering iced drinks with 4 shots of regular espresso, which is precisely when I realized how much I had fallen back into an addiction to caffeine and how much it also reminded me of the way I once consumed alcohol.
One beer to relax, became two beers, became three beers, became four beers, until it was many beers. The same became true with so many other addictions over the years as well. So, I’m actually thankful I saw how quickly I descended into addiction with caffeine because it was such a great reminder that I still have that “addiction gene” going on within me, meaning that if I drank any bit of alcohol again in my life, that same old drunk within me would return.
Thankfully, a caffeine addiction can be easily broken in a week to two, even for the die-hards who’ve consumed caffeinated beverages for years and years. In my case, after only four weeks of it, I was able to quickly detox from it in about 4 days. But, I can promise you that breaking an alcohol addiction is far more difficult, and something I don’t EVER want to risk trying again to see if I can handle it differently. As they say in many-a-meeting I’ve been to in Alcoholics Anonymous, “I may have another relapse, but I may not have another recovery.”
While there probably will be another relapse of caffeine at some point for me, and another quick recovery when I see my reaction to it hasn’t changed, I’m not willing to risk a relapse with alcohol ever again, because I know I wouldn’t recover from it, not after all these years. So, thank God caffeine doesn’t destroy a life as bad as alcohol can, and thank God for the great reminder through something as silly as overly consuming caffeine, that yep, I’m still an alcoholic and always will be!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson