By John Horgan
My commitment to being decaffeinated is wobbling, and it’s Emily’s fault. Let me explain.
I was once a java junkie, who swilled 5-7 cups of strong brewed coffee a day. But I began to suspect that caffeine’s ill effects—mainly anxiety and mood swings--were outweighing benefits. I quit coffee last July during a silent Buddhist retreat and haven’t had caffeine since—not counting minute amounts in chocolate, an occasional decaffeinated coffee or tea and one tiramisu.
Caffeine is addictive. Quitting coffee was harder for me than quitting alcohol, because coffee was more integral to my work. I was a machine for turning coffee into words. Cutting back, I went through weeks of withdrawal, during which I felt depressed and lethargic. Writing was tough. Eventually I emerged into a new equilibrium. I felt less anxious and moody, and my writing, if anything, improved.