Why I Decided to Address My Coffee Codependency During The Pandemic

“Hi, my names Matt. And I’m a coffee addict.”

I began noticing coffee had become more than just a morning ritual earlier this year. Steeping and steaming cup after cup of piping-hot, soil-colored gold in thee wee-hours of the morning had begun to lost its inherent sheen; the whole process, like the things around it, became gray. Much in the same way my rather vivacious Adderall and Vyvanse habit had in my early twenties.

That was more than a red flag; it was a brick wall.

Coffee motivated me to crawl, mulishly, out of bed every morning; then, like a well-made fiberglass prosthetic, it kept me upright throughout the day, courtesy of near heart-stopping amounts of brown caffeinated tape water. My clear love for the Columbian elixir had become opaque by the lustful, omnipresent veil that I had once met as codependency.

The hipster—the one we all know with the mild mannered-beard and Kim Jong Un fade—from behind the counter might as well had laid out lines of extra finely ground dark roast along the bar for me clean-up with my one uncongested nostril.

By all connotations of the word addiction, my coffee consumption checked-off more than few boxes.

It just so happens our cultural taboos around addiction don’t come in a venti size—so no one in my coworking space would ever dare bat an eye at the six or so single-use coffee cups that often populated to the left of my desk. All before noon.

Photo by Jocelyn Morales.Photo by Jocelyn Morales.

Photo by Jocelyn Morales.

Admittedly, I’m as stubborn as I am tenacious—for better or worse. Once I’ve come to a solid consensus on how foregoing this or that could potentially be of benefit to me (and my bank account), I tend to stick to it. Like Jiff’s smooth peanut butter on the roof of a labradors soft palette.
So, now three months into being conscious of my caffeine consumption, I have the following to report:

I’m still alive. And even a bit richer.

The first days were unsteady, to put it mildly. It felt as if I was climbing Everest, without the aid of an oxygen tank or HImalayan sherpa, in a pair of drugstore bought flip-flops. I dove in and out of bouts of anger and frustration; I settled into valleys of depression; I found myself flying high on  the wings of my newfound willpower.

“I can do anything,” I said to myself often during those first few days. Then, minutes, perhaps seconds after saying such, a craving would cloud my otherwise sunny outlook on life. “Fuck this.”

To say those first few weeks were rough would be akin to saying the owner of Steep Tea was purely good looking: it would be a profound understatement.

But there truly was a pasture of bright green grass on the other side of that proverbial Everest-esque mountain top.

My mind had settled into a certain steadiness, simple decisions made themselves more abundantly apparent. The irritability fed by my instabile need for caffeine had, for the most part, dwindled from a five-foot-tall Sunflower into a withering dandelion growing from a crack in the sidewalk. People around me had noticed my skin cleared up.

Granted, I’d be lying if I were to say I still don’t enjoy a cup of coffee ever so often. There’s just something in the way it dances on the palate that’s downright sin-worthy.

But it’s now just an act I have to repent for less frequently, these days.

// Feature photo by Jakub Dziubak.

Why I Decided to Address My Coffee Codependency During The Pandemic
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