Is that nagging your soul knocking?

I’m writing this blog while drinking my last cup of coffee, at least for today, and then one day at a  time from there on out.  You see, I like coffee.  I like the taste.  I delight in the process of making coffee.  I savor the aroma of the brewing process.  I enjoy the burst of energy.  But there is a problem.  I am suffering consequences.  Real or imagined, I am not sure.  But nonetheless, I believe there is a downside that I am not willing to continue to experience.

One of the suggestions all newcomers get in the 12 Step program is to not make any major decisions for the first year.  I had decided I wanted to quit smoking during my first year of recovery, and my sponsor and many people in the 12 Step meetings advised me against doing so.  I took their advice, and when I had 18 months sober, I quit smoking cold turkey.  Second best thing I ever did, by the way.

I have asked a lot of people along the way why caffeine isn’t considered a problem drug or one that should be avoided by addicts in recovery.  I haven’t received a very good reason from even the most scholarly of my teachers.  I’m thinking this could be due to the widespread use of this drug, along with a teaspoon of denial.  The best answer I have been given may well be the following:

There aren’t too many people suffering deep consequences from drinking coffee, tea, or sodas.  “Nobody is breaking into cars or mugging people to fund their Starbucks habit.”

You won’t get an argument from me there.  Compared to the consequences I and many others experienced from our addictions — drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, pornography, electronics, always being right, greed, power — caffeine would seem to be as innocuous as broccoli!

Yet for me, I feel that caffeine is causing undesirable effects that I no longer wish to experience.  I am not comfortable knowing that if I choose to not have my morning coffee, by afternoon, I will get a headache.  That is kind of a red flag of addiction, isn’t it?  I also don’t care for the jittery nerves and the rapid thoughts that accompany my cup of java.

I have also used caffeine to exceed what my body’s tolerance is.  I have overexerted myself many times with the use of caffeinated beverages.  That is a pretty big consequence for me nowadays.  I am very conscious of taking better care of my body, and by pushing it beyond the point of fatigue is no longer something I wish to do.

But here is the reason that brings me to this decision so resolutely:  I want to experience my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, my passions, my interactions with others without a chemical in my system that has the ability to pass through the blood brain barrier and tinker with my brain chemistry.  I no longer wish to artificially alter my mood, energy, or creativity.

If I want my mood elevated, I can train my mind to think the thoughts that elevate my mood and do the things that bring me joy.  If I want to have more energy, that is as simple as eating foods that do not drag my system down.  Fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries are very high in energy and easy for the body to digest.  Eating light foods like fish and chicken that are not fried or smothered in greasy, creamy sauces will also keep my energy high.

On the spiritual path of life, I find it important to follow my gut instincts.  What is good for some may not be good for others.  If you are questioning a behavior of your own, over and over again, it is probably your soul giving you a nudge to consider a different direction.  Conversations with God, Book 1, says, “The work of the soul is to wake yourself up.”  I am going to listen to the message this time around.

Is your soul knocking on the door?  Is there something that you keep thinking you should be doing or not doing that you continuously ignore?  What is stopping you?  Fear of failing?  I have quit coffee dozens of times.  Relapse is a part of recovery.  Our past experience is always a valuable tool in our day-to-day decisions.

Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, life coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery. You can visit his website for more information at  To connect with Kevin, please email him at or call 407-808-6431.

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