Health & Medical Fitness & bodybuilding

My Caffeine Addiction

I am a caffeine-holic but I refuse to let caffeine dictate my life any more.
I didn't follow 12 steps to battle my addiction.
It took a massive kidney infection with numerous stones to end my destructive behavior.
Now I drink hot water with lemon, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Growing up, I never liked coffee.
Sure, I got my regular caffeine fix by the likes of chocolate and cocoa drinks but I don't think I would have been classified as an addict back then.
I attribute the start of my addiction with the military (disclaimer: the military did not force me to consume large amounts of caffeine as part of some government lab experiment, at least I don't think so).
When I joined the military at the tender age of 18, coffee was the last thing on my mind.
However, once I began my 26-year career, coffee just became a way of life.
My first experience was in Germany, out on bivouac - you know, sleeping in a tent under cold, wet and miserable conditions.
Although I didn't like the taste of coffee, there was something about it that warmed my poor frozen body and gave me that "oomph" to continue through the day.
Out in the field, one cup of hot java quickly became two, then three...
you get the picture.
Suddenly, coffee was a mainstay.
It was the first thing I drank when I got to the office to get a boost in the morning.
I only drank it in the mornings but then, when I pulled night shifts as Staff Duty Officer or Battle Captain, it became my constant companion.
My addiction with coffee wasn't all physical either, it was emotional as well.
I have many fond memories of sharing the brew with my co-workers first thing in the morning.
We would laugh and chat over a hot cup of Folgers and all seemed right in the world.
Over the years my dependence on coffee increased, not only mentally but physically as well.
I had my first kidney stone in 1997.
I still remember it so vividly - pain and all.
My company was deploying to Egypt and my First Sergeant and I met early in the morning to go over some last minute details.
Unfortunately, I had to get the bathroom every 5 minutes until I doubled over in pain and told him to get me to the ER! After several IV bags of fluid, which just about made my eyes pop out, I gave birth to a healthy pea-sized kidney stone! I never attributed the incident to coffee.
I continued my relationship with the little black bean, relying on its power to make all well in my world.
I had my second kidney stone attack sometime in 2005.
Still, I did not give up my little habit.
Perhaps it was that I didn't realize caffeine might be a culprit or maybe I just ignored that little fact.
Coffee was too important to me.
Once, I went all morning without a fix and suffered a serious caffeine migraine which caused me to throw up.
If you've ever suffered from caffeine withdrawal, you know it's not pleasant! It's taken me nearly 22 years to finally say goodbye to coffee! Recently I suffered a severe kidney infection which made me very ill.
The kidney infection was brought on by kidney stones - go figure.
The urologist informed me to quit coffee, even decaffeinated.
What a blow! What was I going to do now? I decided if I couldn't drink my daily blend, that I would substitute it with tea so I "smartly" made myself decaffeinated green tea or herbal lemon tea.
Although I did suffer from some uncomfortable headaches as a result of the lack of coffee, to my surprise I was able to make the transition.
Then the doctor told me "No tea! Tea is bad for you!" Now, I was devastated.
It clearly became obvious to me that, while I did have physical craving for my hot drink, that my emotional bond was so much stronger.
The doctor told me to only drink water or lemonade.
He said the lemon was good for my kidneys.
So, I obeyed and drank water with lemon all day long but it just wasn't the same and I was depressed.
One morning, something clicked in my head.
I was sick and tired of drinking cold lemon water so I decided to heat it up.
I cut a fresh lemon in half and squeezed it into the hot water.
When I took the first sip I got a happy sensation and laughed to myself.
At that moment I remembered years ago when my grandmother would come to visit us.
All she ever drank in the mornings was hot water.
Subsequently I found out that this really isn't a novel idea and that people have been doing it for years.
I also found out that it is really good for you because it stimulates your digestive system, flushes your kidneys and assists your body in eliminating toxins.
Plus, it actually tastes good (if you squeeze in a fresh lemon).
While I still have fond memories of my beloved coffee, I have now started a new chapter in my life which doesn't include it.
My kidneys are too important to me.
Grandma got it right.
I guess prune juice will be next?

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