Be stronger than the coffee

Strong Coffee

I love coffee.  

It was an acquired taste to begin with, but through the years it has grown to a great morning pleasure. It started out with the simple lure of the coffee smell. The smell of whole coffee beans holds a strange comfort.  But upon first taste it proved bitter in its allure; however,  I pressed on to discover the joy of changing its pure black form to creamy and sweet. Cream and sugar brought the comforting smell in to taste, and for 20 years I have enjoyed coffee.


But something cruel has taken place. I have found that I am approaching the years where indulgence is fun for a moment but I will pay for it later. The years of eating and drinking what I want have caught up to me. I’m having to put on the breaks and face reality. Coffee can’t be good for someone on a daily basis. Apparently Chocolate isn’t either...


I am encountering a great dilemma in my soul verses my common sense.  Heartburn, acid re-flux: Lord, am I that old?  Lemon water, Nexium and decaf tea are trying to be my friends, yet they don’t satisfy. So here I am planning 10-day challenges to help me stop this glorious addiction to caffeine.  

It’s funny how you forget the pain and discomfort of things that are bad for you.   You spend some time away from a bad habit and you start thinking it wasn’t that bad.

Coffee used to make me feel like a grown up.  Waking up first thing in the morning to drink my coffee and read my Bible was so sacred and mature. Now I must take my bible out with me to the garage in the early morning hours. It is here I run the treadmill to force myself out of my morning lethargy. After I have shaken myself up with moderate exercise, I sit on the floor of the garage reading my Bible and praying I’ll make it through the day without wanting a nap.


It is here that I also pray God will heal me of acid re-flux and I will be able to continue drinking my dear friend, coffee!   Since healing hasn’t occurred, I’ve made efforts to walk in maturity and quit doing the things that make me feel bad.  


I’ve done many 10 day challenges now without drinking coffee. I have noticed a subtle difference away from the burning in my chest and the closing-in feeling of panic induced by caffeine.  That last sentence might make you think it should be rather easy to stop drinking coffee for me.  It certainly did scare me into stopping the drink, but it’s funny how you forget the pain and discomfort of things that are bad for you.   


You spend some time away from a bad habit, and you start thinking it wasn’t that bad. Or that you have gained some control over the habit so it should be okay for you to visit every once in awhile. Shouldn’t it? I mean truly… “moderation is key!"


Unfortunately, not everything is okay in moderation. Some thing’s are bad. Some habits simply need to be broken.  Some addictions are just that: an addiction!  Addiction is simply defined as:  "a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)."


I guess that sounds kinda bad, doesn’t it.  "Strong and harmful" is never good, not even in moderation.  Uh oh, am I standing on a soap box?  No, I am not that person.

Some pain you just have to face in life. When you turn away from things that are bad for you, you will miss them.

Ever since agreeing to join in this journey of Passive No More, I am finding my excuses just delay my progress: progress that I actually want to make. I am a person who clings to her excuses.  The truth is I want to be healthy. I want my husband and children to be healthy. I want to think kale chips are normal and herbal tea is civilized. I want sugar to be a bad word in our house and black coffee a once-a-month desert.


In fact I’ve started talking this way to the kids recently.  They are learning of the evils of sugar while they ask for an organic lollipop. They are finding that their “water” no longer has a strange apple juice quality to it anymore. They are becoming pure…  I’m making pure dinners…


Yet the cravings are still there and they are not dying quietly.  In fact we have birthdays this month.  Birthday cake is the whole point of having a birthday, so why would I want to make a false representation of a glorious chocolate cake?  I mean, if you're going to celebrate, have the real thing, but for the last 5 years I have made carob cake for my husband's birthday. Do you know why? Because he asks for it!  I know?!?!  Carob?… someone would actually ask for a carob cake and it not be for their dog's birthday!    I thought carob was for hippy people out in the northwest.  (Disclaimer: I am from the northwest… so I can say this...)


I think the carob cake represents some things for me. It’s like a message to the reality of stepping away from addictions. Chocolate verses carob is no contest, and the truth is there is no good substitute for chocolate anymore than there is a good substitute for coffee. Some pain you just have to face in life. When you turn away from things that are bad for you, you will miss them. But you still have to close the door to them.  Give them a heartfelt goodbye and move on. I think it’s in letting go we become free.  Free from the things we think make us who we are or keep us going.  Letting go of bad habits to move on to a better habit is a good step out of passivity and a good step into thinking different.  

What are your next 10 days going to look like?

I realize that I’ve been known as someone who loves chocolate and loves her coffee. That’s how some have identified me.  I don’t actually like that.  I don’t want to be known for that.  That’s silly!  I want to be known for so much more: for my heart and not my addictions; for my joy and not my worry; for my creativity and not my limits; for encouraging others and not for being consumed with myself.


So here’s to another 10 days: 10 days of letting go of things that don’t benefit me. Here’s to 10 days of learning I can say "no" to a bad habit and say "yes" to better health and a fuller heart. I’m going to say Yes to 10 days of eating foods that will help me feel better and stop this heartburn!

What are your next 10 days going to look like?

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