2022, the year of becoming a buzzkill
giving up weed, alcohol, caffeine, sanity, and fun
You may think these are resolutions… but they’re not. I am already a buzzkill. I already gave up everything fun, accidentally. I didn’t even have to force myself.
I started out 2022 microdosing mushrooms, eating nightly edibles to sleep, and dating (very short-term) a big drinker who lived an hour away from me, who loved talking about aliens.
And I ended my year accidentally sober, reading the Bible, and writing a post about how caffeine is one hell of a drug.
I’ve essentially become the biggest buzzkill that I know.
Problems and Pessimism
In a way, this past year was …a series of nonstop problems. There was terror over the world’s treatment of the unvaccinated, major pointless surgery (for a second year in a row), another round of cancellations, black mold mental breakdown, crazy leaks, crazy clicks, and recently I learned I need two major oral surgeries thanks to a dental error. There’s more, but… you get the idea. The problems were real, yes, and they were nonstop. But so was the pessimism that they bred. And the pessimism seemed to breed more problems.
At the same time, there was good — it was just a lot quieter. I gave up my two-year nightly weed/edible addiction, I accidentally gave up alcohol in a way that totally freed me, I started gardening, I went off instagram for two months, and by some wonderful miracle, my restless legs actually went away, and my sleep is way, way better.
But must I really give up everything fun?
I’m also currently realizing, as I cut way down on coffee again, that I’m coming out of … two decades of a stress-hormone-fueled life. Not that I didn’t know this, on some level, but the caffeine piece is a new revelation. I was in denial.
No matter what I knew about stress and stress hormones, and how important I knew it all was, I was still running on them in a dysfunctional way. Yes, quitting dieting helped. It did. I would have been worse off if I’d also been restricting calories or carbs actively for the past 11 years. But… just eating enough didn’t help quite enough.
In my 20s, I would drink endless cups of coffee. Bottomless drip coffee at my own apartment, and also at my the office job. Countless cups of coffee. Then, in a new phase of life: red-eyes at cafés while I wrote. Caffeine fueled my creativity. It fueled my writing. The stronger the coffee, the better. I always put cream in it, which I convinced myself was somehow buffering the drug, and the effect it had on my nervous system, but that was more denial.
Then, maybe 7 years ago? Maybe 8? I thought, “I think caffeine may be the cause of my hormone problems.” So, I switched to decaf. And over the next few months, I became extremely lethargic, uninspired, depressed (which is unlike me… usually), and significantly more anxious. I didn’t put the two and two together for months. Then, I finally realized… wait, can caffeine withdrawal last this long? Can it cause anxiety and depression? Can it be why I am now unmotivated every day of my life?
Turns out, yes. But I’d also come really far, I was months in… so I decided to keep going. And a few months later, I started feeling normal again, maybe around the six month mark. But, I also wasn’t healed of all my health problems, and things were more… boring. So I thought… “well… maybe it wasn’t the cause after all! And my life was so much more fun when I was drinking caffeine every morning…” so I went back on. Less caffeine at first, but it crept up.
The last couple years I would start with a double strong cappuccino before eating breakfast, every day. I would buzz through the morning, often picking at my breakfast and lunch. I was so used to caffeine that I didn’t even notice how it was affecting me.
Then covid came, and barred from my cafés and espresso, I started drinking a full, strong french press alongside my breakfast. I knew I was making them too strong, but I couldn’t stop putting in way too many grounds. Then I switched over to multiple cans of pre-made cold brew, then most recently to my current organic instant coffee. Fun fact… it was from my emergency food storage, that I’ve been eating and not replenishing. I realized… wow this is pretty good, and it’s SO MUCH EASIER. But then I noticed how many PACKETS I had to use in one iced coffee drink (4!), and that made me start to realize… Oh… I do drink really really strong coffee, don’t I?
To me, it was ok because… well, I drank it with milk or cream! I never ever drank it after noon! And! Usually I would just have ONE coffee drink! Just one! It may have been a quad shot cappuccino, or a 4 packet iced coffee! But it was just one! And! It made me HAPPY.
I also have a very strong memory from when I had just graduated college (12 years ago!). I asked my friend… “is it weird that while I’m going to bed, I’m already excited about my coffee in the morning?” It was a half joke, and a half real question. But they just laughed, because this drug is a funny, acceptable, happy, normal drug! Maybe even a drug that’s good for your liver! And hey… coffee is supposed to have health benefits! (It really is!)
Anyway… I started working with someone last March to help me balance my minerals in my body, among other things. One of the big things she recommended, was to have my coffee after breakfast, not before. Ugh. Bummer. That was going to kill my buzz, literally. But I started. I would still have it really strong, but I made sure to eat breakfast (usually eggs and butter and toast) FIRST. I missed my buzzing through the morning, but I did it anyway.
Then… ironically, after a summer of panicking over mold in my house and basement, and remediating, I did a mold urine test. And the only mold I tested high for, was one that was almost definitely coming from something I consumed. And, I don’t know for sure, but a very likely culprit, is coffee. Coffee beans are often moldy, unless specifically tested for mold. I heard a voice in my head say: go down to just one packet a day. And I listened. It’s been… maybe two months?
And, almost like clockwork, I started feeling extremely lethargic, brain fogged, and depressed, similar to how I felt many years ago when I cut it out. (Not to mention the fact that I am also maybe mold poisoned and still drinking that coffee? Just less? Ha.) I also just ordered some mold free coffee (tested for mold!) and… I’m mostly just bummed that it isn’t instant coffee.
But seeing how lethargic cutting back has made me, it hit me… wow, coffee has been… ruling my life?!?!?!?!? Just cutting back, not even cutting it out, is able to make me feel like this?
Maybe this is my chance to break free. What new and even more boring life is waiting for me on the other side? Will I really be able to live a life where my cortisol is balanced and everything else balances too! Or is this a pipe dream!? We shall see.
I have no conclusion. No “and now I am happy and healthy, and I don’t need ANY drugs!” No, I’m tired. Everything is slightly lackluster and low energy. Both from all the circumstantial stuff and stagnation and career and personal crossroads, and existential crises (multiple!). And, also, from cutting back on coffee, my last, beautiful beverage vice. I can’t even trick myself into being happy and excited during my crossroads/existential crises, because I am only allowed to have one little packet a day.
PS. I wanted to write about my God quest, too. I wanted to write about how, after a year of my problems and pessimism… I don’t really feel like complaining anymore. It feels like a small teeny tiny God fueled change. I attempted to put it into this post, but it’s going to take way longer to flesh it out, so I’m writing about it next. It’ll probably be the second installment of my New Age Demons post.
Ok! Happy happy, or rather, neutral neutral New Year!
Drink an espresso martini for me!