Disguised as an aromatic and inviting liquid, coffee temporarily empowers us with energy and clarity while seducing us as its slave. Ultimately weakening our actual energy and clarity, along with our wallets.-John Cain
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, third behind water and tea. That makes 2 out of the 3 most consumed drinks of our civilization to contain caffeine, a psychoactive – the most widely used drug in the world.
At a certain point in my life I decided to cut my vices and reduce dependencies to the absolute necessities. Specifically in this case, I didn’t want to be dependent on coffee and caffeine to function at my best in both my personal and professional life.
Like most Americans, I started drinking coffee as a non-negotiable daily ritual believing (knowing otherwise in hind-sight) that I needed it to get my mornings or certain activities started (or get through it). Which is the reason why almost anyone who drinks coffee, drinks coffee.
Think about that, that’s fu*king pathetic.
So the process of finding a vendor or brewing it myself and making the time to consume it was just one more thing I had to do each and everyday. The cost of this dependency was of no concern as again, I felt this was a necessity for daily survival and functionality.
We were on what became a routine… we’ll just call it “stakeout”, at the end of a long and uneventful assignment. I was stuck with… we’ll just call him Guy 1, as my partner for the duration.
Guy 1 is one of those “I ain’t doing shit until I have my coffee” kind of folk, so not unlike most coffee drinkers.
Well perhaps worse. Guy 1 needed coffee like it was a medical condition and was compelled by it like it was his born into religion. Yeah, you know the type.
With just another rotation left on this “stakeout”, Guy 1 left our post in search of his umpteenth cup of Turkish coffee. Effectively reducing our coverage capacity in half.
We were supposed to be the eyes for Guy 2, an old buddy from training. To provide visual support from street level. Sometime while Guy 1 was getting his caffeine fix, a hostile slipped through our (specifically his) coverage.
It was a disaster and so avoidable. Guy 1 became a detrimental liability because of his dependency weakness on a dark beverage with psychoactive functions.
Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of coffee during this OP but nothing like Guy1. But it got me thinking that it could have been me going for that coffee run. That maybe, my dependency for coffee could affect my judgement into thinking that I need it to better do my job.
The aftermath of those events made me obsess over what we could have done to avoid it.
Guy 1 let his weakness adversely affect his ability to do his job when he thought it could help. What’s worse is the fact that he wasn’t even present to do his job because of this addiction – it didn’t get in the way, it took him away.
Quitting caffeine or coffee breaks the cycle and frees us from needing a daily drug to function normally.
At most I didn’t want to depend on a substance to be sharp and alert on the field. At the least, I didn’t want to rely on a drug to keep me functioning normally and awake.
Caffeine temporarily enhances our cognitive functions and even athletic performance, but we have to keep taking more to get the same effect over time due to increased tolerance and altered brain chemistry.
Now that I don’t drink coffee on a ritualistic basis (or hardly any at all), my migraine episodes have significantly been reduced and sleep has been far more consistent.
This doesn’t mean I don’t drink coffee period. If I’m at a cafe with friends or want to warm up and it’s around, I’ll enjoy a cup. But never will I depend on it to merely function.