Day 37 - Addiction - Part 1
I went to get acupuncture again today at the teaching school. I had the doctor and four students asking me about how I was feeling, asking me about my energy, my bowel movements. I pretended to lift a handle. “It’s soft serve,” I said. I’ve been eating nonprocessed food for over a month. I’ve cut out dairy and gluten and sugar. You’d think I’d be pooping champion turds. The people in the room were mystified. Why is she making soft serve day after day? I looked at the earnest faces and felt awful.
“I’ll tell you a secret,” I whispered to the doctor and his students, “but don’t tell me to stop.” They didn’t agree or disagree, but it was too late. I’d trapped myself in my own awareness. “I’m pretty sure if I stopped drinking coffee, my poops would be normal,” I said.
“Then stop,” the doctor said. I looked at him. He had gentle, curious brown eyes that were impatient around the edges.
“If I stop, I will hate everyone,“ I told him. "Mostly myself." He was taking my pulse, my wrist with its tatttoed lovelay in his hand.
“Just try for a few days,” he said.
“No,” I said.
He needled me and left me for about an hour on the table so I had plenty of time to think about my choices.
I thought of all the things that have feed my body as a long string from my first meal to the bullet-proof coffee I’d had for breakfast that morning. (That’s coffee with butter and a special kind of oil if you don’t know. It’s flipping delicious.) The string started, I’m assuming, with baby formula. So, let’s face it: I was probably getting high off sugar from the get-go. That string of high went from one sugary thing to the next as I grew up: formula to baby cereal to Corn Flakes and Sugar Pops to chocolate chip cookie dough batter to brownie batter to Peanut M&M’s to--and here is where I started being weight conscious and shifted from sugar to caffeine--to Diet Coke to coffee to iced tea to expresso back to coffee.
If, tonight, someone airlifted me to an exotic resort, say something in Fiji, where there were young coconuts halved by shirtless men and empty hammocks swinging in lightly shaded beachy areas, and there was everything I could ever want and nothing for me to do but relax and read sleep and enjoy the sound of the waves--everything I could ever want except for caffeine--I’d be chewing on my own arm by 10 a.m. trying to extract caffeine. I’d be on the phone calling for the closest Uber boat back to some caffeinated mainland because I have my habits, my routines, okay, okay, my addictions, and an Anne without her fix isn’t an Anne at all, It’s a grumpy, sweaty, boring mess.
And this is why I don’t give up caffeine. I have only known myself high. Yes, when I was pregnant, there was a period of time I didn’t drink coffee (but, yes, after month 3 or 6 the doctor did say I could start on Diet Coke again!), but I was pregnant, and those hormones are their own kind of chemical high.
And, yes, when I’ve had the flu I haven’t had caffeine or sugar. (Did I mention that when I got my DNA tests back, one thing I learned was that I was sensitive to caffeine?)
But if you were to tell me, Anne, starting tonight, you can never use caffeine or sugar to pull yourself out of yourself or make your life seem more exciting or bearable, I would feel like Miss America being told she can never pull on her crown again. I’ll be so plain. So boring. So sad.
That is seriously messed up.
I don’t think I’m good enough just to walk around not slightly high on something. I’m getting mad. This is ridiculous. I was born naked and perfect, right? Granted, there was the small glitch of my mother not keeping me and then whoever had me next for ten weeks not keeping me either, and then finally going to a couple, my parents, who did keep me, but that whole no real home thing was over in just seventy-fiveish days or 1800ish hours. No big deal.
It doesn’t mean I have to avoid being alone with myself for the rest of my life.
This is bullshit.
I’m giving up coffee tomorrow. I’m cutting the cord.
I have more to say about this, but I’ll have to continue later. I’m going to bed and to gather my strength for tomorrow. I have no idea what it will me like: Anne without coffee. I’ll probably start craving a beer around eleven a.m. which is pretty funny since I almost never drink. Maybe by tomorrow night I’ll be in Macy’s buying a martini shaker. Anything to take the edge off.
Edge off what?
Off being me.
Okay. No martinis. No coffee. Anne is going at it alone. She’s going to see how she feels when she’s herself.
Holy crud. This does not sound like fun. It sounds like going to the dentist to get your gums scaled.
I’m pretty anxious about the whole situation.
See you tomorrow.