Coffee is my real-life kryptonite. A cigarette helped me realize that.
A lonely cigarette sitting on broken glass.
Why is it the beautiful things that kill us?
There is beauty in the broken.
I was never drawn in by cigarettes.
The smell bothers me.
I tried one once. It instantly repulsed me.
I remember it hurt my esophagus.
*Clears throat*. I started coughing.
Shockingly, the girl next to me had an asthma attack.
I didn’t understand how someone can like something that physically hurt to ingest.
I guess I was always drawn to what makes me feel good- what makes me smile.
Maybe after the initial pain, comfort follows.
Like how the acid inside a glass of Diet Coke brings me relief.
We all have our vices.
Desire has to come from somewhere.
How a cigarette made me realize I have a caffeine problem
Roaming around the streets of Broumana, a hidden gem, in Lebanon. Surrounded by mountainous trees, greenery, and a lot of air. Literally.
At times, in this small town, you feel they will even charge you to breathe.
Unfathoumously, it is not a space I would expect to find an abandoned building or space. Every home and space is curated either to nature, or excess.
At the heart of this seemingly picturesque town, lies an abandoned building, with glass shards on the ground. There, in the rubble, was a cigarette.
In the middle of a walk, we stopped to wander in. Some graffiti was drawn on the walls.
Scenery. A view. All these clashing interesting pictures were calling to me.
Yet, my eye kept wandering to the broken cigarette, on top of the glass. Both, for lack of a better term, just beautiful. Beautifully broken.
With an overactive imagination, I started imagining, the cigarette rise from the ashes, in the shape of a bubble.
Right next to it in the stuffy sky, appeared a coffee mug, with contents of Nescafe (a type of coffee) in it.
Right then, I abruptly noticed- they are pretty similar.
Is caffeine a legal drug?
First, caffeine is defined as a central nervous system stimulant. Also, one of the most used drugs in the whole world.
- Cheap, widespread, available, and most importantly legal.
- Regular caffeine-full drinks may lead to emotional, psychological, and physical addiction. Chronic use results in physical and psychological dependence.
- Some people experience caffeine withdrawal after suddenly quitting.
- Heavy coffee consumption is correlated with high wanting, despite low liking of coffee. In layman’s terms, some people drink coffee even if they don’t like it because they get addicted to it.
Hierarchy of addition
Addiction can come in many different shapes and forms. From coffee, Pepsi, alcohol, drugs, and even showering too much.
Bummer, all of which come with a price. The process though of yearning for something exists in all.
When we think of addiction, a lot of times, dramatized movies depict someone in a dark alley injecting things in their body.
But addiction can come into the comfort of your white picket fenced home, and fluffy bedroom pillows.
We don’t think of luxurious chocolate from a Swiss chocolate factory, coffee brewed from Ethiopia, or local soap scents as an addiction.
Soda and “sin taxes”
Furthermore, soda is so scary to powerful men and women that a tax was considered to be implemented. Do we have a soda problem?
I can’t speak for you but I know I do.
My head starts aching and stunting when I don’t sip my aspartame-induced iced drink.
More people are addicted to caffeine than illegal drugs. Yet, we hyperfocus, shame, judge, and arrest drug users.
“Sin taxes” is a nickname for taxes on goods that are thought to be over-consumed like sugary drinks, cigarettes, and alcohol.
Imagine you could go to jail for every sip of coffee you take. Yes, violent crimes need to be punished that result from drugs. Just like, if too much alcohol caused an accident it deserves a punishment.
However, the mere act of drinking and ingesting, why do we treat it like a crime? Especially, here in the Middle East.
Does replacing addiction work? I’m not sure.
Finally, did you ever notice how people sometimes switch out one addiction for the other?
Replacing food with a cigarette or vs. versa. Sometimes, a legal addiction to an illegal addiction.
When you take a sip of caffeine- you don’t need to look behind your shoulder, for a cop lurking on the corner. Or for a dog to sniff you. In a way, that makes quitting harder. There is no authority figure trying to stop you.
Choosing one addiction sedates the crippling need for another.
Often, I find myself doing the same. For instance, if I quit eating junk food, I start consuming coffee more. Chocolate and diet coke seem to go hand in hand with me.
The mere sip, makes me want to indulge in a Hershey’s cookies and cream bar.
Perhaps, some bodies yearn for addiction. Just one of the presents of having an addictive personality.
All in all, the best way I find to quit something is to replace it with something else, which is not the healthiest of traits.
The bottom line is if you are trying to quit caffeine, a 2020 study suggests decreasing coffee consumption gradually to avoid caffeine withdrawal.
Perhaps, quitting little by little over time can reduce the need to go for another addiction.
For now, my cycle continues.
What is something a lot of people love but you hate?