New Crutch

So.  I have a new addiction.  It’s coffee.  It started while I was in Aceh and it’s deepened since I’ve been in Jakarta.

I was never a big coffee drinker.  I think the first cup I ever had was when I was in graduate school.  I would drink it every now and then when I needed to stay up all night to study or work on assignments.  While I’ve always loved the smell of freshly brewed coffee, I never liked the taste and I steered clear of it because, while it achieved my purpose of keeping me alert for whatever task I was trying to achieve, my system was so unused to it that 1 cup would keep me up for 2 or 3 days straight. I would be left exhausted and drained from lack of sleep every time.  So I used it sparingly and only in emergencies.

During the last few months of my corporate life, when I knew the end was near and while I was struggling to stay engaged and not totally check out of my job, I found myself making a daily afternoon run to the coffee shop across the street.  When I realised that I was starting to depend on my daily capuccino to make it through my afternoon slump, I quit cold turkey, which wasn’t difficult.

On top of this, I was a total philistine when it came to fresh ground coffee because I preferred instant.  I know, right??  If I was drinking coffee of any kind, ground or instant, I would dose it up with sweetened condensed milk because I absolutely couldn’t stand the taste of black coffee.  In 2015, when I discovered that the source of my acne was sugar, I learned to drink the occasional cup of instant coffee with regular milk only.

Fast forward to Aceh and early morning wake-up calls from the nearby mosques, which I had to get used to.  I made it through those first few long workdays by the grace of God and coffee.  Of course, it didn’t help that A is a coffee aficionado who believes that no day is a good day without a good cup of coffee, and who wholeheartedly encouraged me to drink up.  I didn’t have a cup every day but I had one maybe 3 or 4 times every week.

Since moving to Jakarta, I struggle through a workday that is devoid of coffee.  My local 7-Eleven convenience store is my supplier.  They have a machine over there that does fresh brewed coffee, as well as one that does different flavours of instant.  Every morning after I do my devotions and have a shower, I grab my wallet and walk on over there to get a large (16 ounce) cup of freshly brewed coffee.  I get a combination of a capuccino and a latte, because I still can’t stand black coffee.

I realised that I may have an addiction problem when I went one morning to get my fix and there was no milk in the fresh brewed coffee machine or anywhere in the store, so I decided to get a cup of instant and it was so bad!  I could  barely drink it because it tasted so sweet and so unnatural that I couldn’t even taste the coffee flavour.  I had to struggle through the next 3 days without coffee because they took that long to get milk again and I refused to defile myself with another cup of instant.  One morning last week, I decided that I wouldn’t have coffee that day.  My resolve lasted until 8:30 am then I said the heck with it and went on my usual coffee run.  The 7-Eleven people probably wondered how come I showed up so late that day.

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My typical breakfast…fruits, a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of coffee from the 7-Eleven

But why do I even need coffee?  It helps me to focus while I’m working, especially when my morale was low.  One cup of coffee powers me through the whole day.  I was wondering if I should be worried about this but I’ve decided not to be since I have far more important things on which to focus right now.  On the plus side, I keep my Sundays (my weekly day off) coffee-free because I try not to engage in anything productive on those days.

Now, people, you must understand why this is even a topic of interest for me.  I spent literally years of my adult life living with a coffee addict and was never once tempted to become one myself.  I spent those years buying top-shelf coffee beans and even grinding those beans, but I never, ever enjoyed drinking a cup of fresh-brewed coffee from my own kitchen.  Now here I am, needing a cup every day.  I had to ask myself why.  Why did I never fall victim to the addiction while I was living with a real live addict?  Why did I always dismiss the soliloquies over the benefits and joys of coffee for years, yet here I am soliloquising myself?  Why did I always scoff and refuse to drink it, yet here I am now looking for a cup within 2 hours of awakening?

I think the main reason lay in the fact that I used to be a really inflexible person.  I set an idea in my head and kept it set, and only dynamite could blast it out.  That’s a part of being a judgy type of person.  I had decided that I didn’t like the taste of coffee so I didn’t want to try to like it and really only used it when I wanted a kick to help me stay awake longer than my body would allow me to.  I think I’m not so inflexible anymore (God has really been working with me on that) so I guess I was a prime target for coffee to take down.

I find that my body has adjusted to the caffeine kick.  It doesn’t keep me up for 2 days and I don’t struggle to fall asleep when I go to bed; I drift right off as usual.

Ya, I think I’m going to keep this habit for the foreseeable future.

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