I must just be a glutton for punishment ... or something.
In 1996, I quit a twelve year smoking habit - cold turkey. It was just like that. What made it not great timing was that two weeks after I decided it was time to quit, my unit went to the field, which is Army talk for we packed up our crap and spent a week doing our Army job while living in tents, not showering, and eating from our mess kits.
Yeah. It was a long week, during which I ended up with a salt rash in my mouth from eating so many sunflower seeds and made myself sick with peppermints (which is funny, because peppermint is supposed to cure nausea ;).
I haven't smoked since - indeed haven't wanted to ... and I still like peppermints, which I do not associate with deprivation :).
A few years later, I was a totally addicted soda drinker. I realized that I was drinking the equivalent of two liters of soda, per day, by myself, and that was some LOT of calories, and so I switched to diet soda, but after some research discovered that the stuff in soda is just nasty, and not really something any of us should be drinking, especially two LITERS of it per day.
So, I switched to coffee, which I had always enjoyed, but without soda, my coffee consumption increased. My favorite coffee beverage was Dunkin' Donuts iced caramel lattes, large with extra sugar and whipped cream. Yum! Yum!
One day, I realized they cost $4 each. I just hadn't thought about it enough, and when I did start to think about it, I realized that I couldn't really afford to spend $4 once or twice a day for an iced coffee.
Just regular coffee at home would have to do.
But it didn't ... do, that is. I decided that I needed to give up coffee, and I switched to Chai, which was the perfect, creamy and hot substitute for coffee.
Then, I read an article about the health benefits of green tea, and I switched again.
I have become quite the green tea addict. I am probably the most hydrated person in the world and will easily consume ten cups of tea on any given day - more if I have company and we're sitting around drinking tea - I always offer my guests a cup of tea, and I drink tea all day long, all year long, and little else, except an occasional glass of water (... or beer :). I drink tea both hot and cold, all year long, and while I used to drink hot tea with milk or cream and sugar, I now like it with just sugar. Green tea steeped in boiling water with two teaspoons of sugar. My whole family knows how I like it and can make my tea for me. Today, Little Fire Faery told me that she likes making my tea for me. What a sweetheart!
The problem is that green tea has caffeine, and I've been having quite a bit of trouble getting to sleep lately. It could be the mess the world is in, or it could be that I drink too much caffeine laden green tea.
I can't fix the world, but I can stop drinking green tea.
And if I stop drinking so much green tea, then I will also stop using so much sugar, which will be a significant savings at the grocery store, but also, it's something I've been thinking I needed to do anyway, because, despite my best efforts, the camellia sinesis plant, which is the "tea" plant- as in the herb most of us call "tea", won't grow in Maine. It's simply too cold.
I think it's better that I kick the habit now, when my life is very comfortable and I have plenty of all of the other things I want and need, and finding alternatives can be a pleasure of discovery rather than a scrambling out of necessity. If tea becomes scarce, I'd hate to be tempted to trade something I really need so that I can satisfy a caffeine fix ... or worse, to feel rundown and headachy from caffeine withdrawals when I need my wits about me.
I'm giving up tea ... and with it, my addiction to sugar.
I'm starting to feel a little like Thoreau.