Intransigent Coffee Addiction (Cup 1)

Sybil Sanchez Kessler
2 min readDec 17, 2020

Describing the problem: To be the change, let’s first see the struggle.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

With the holidays comes hedonism, and with hedonism comes guilt. Between toxic positivity and biting despair, this year is likely worse.

Compassion is the best, and perhaps only, response. As we ring out the old to bring in the new, it helps to see the struggle while we seek to be the change.

At least, that’s what I think. My coffee addiction intransigence is decades old, the last in a line of struggle that went from smoking cigarettes to consuming sugar, to coffee and caffeine. Having seen friends affected by drugs, having a family history with alcoholism, and having been previously told to watch the booze by a dysfunctional but well-meaning boyfriend, I’m lucky that something in me stuck to more socially acceptable substances.

That’s not to minimize the impact of coffee on me, nor is it to judge the relevance of coffee to others. Indeed, there are studies on its benefits and in his book on coffee, Michael Pollan states that a good 90% of the world, children included, drink some form of caffeine. I’ve had nutritionists and doctors alike gently prod whether coffee was something I really needed to beat myself up about.

Sadly, for me, with my chronic conditions, the answer is yes. I’m on the moderate side of chemical sensitivity but looking at the list below, you can see that I’m highly highly sensitive to coffee.

Just one cup with milk daily has the following impact on me:

  • Greasy skin and hair
  • Acid reflux and other digestive symptoms, such as constipation/diarrhea, small intestinal pain, and increased food sensitivities
  • Wired but tired shakiness through out the day, insomnia at night
  • Increased period problems and bladder irritability
  • The gateway to increased addictive patterns/bad food habits - sugar, dairy, flour, bingieness, etc.
  • This in turns kicks up increased allergies and allergic reactions, inc. asthma, congestion, and skin rashes

All I can say is damn, why did I draw the ‘sensitive to everything fun’ card????

I’ve lost count of how often I’ve temporarily quit coffee. Unlike many, I go cold turkey without problem, no headaches, etc. It’s just that I can’t seem to go more than three weeks without falling off the band wagon.

I’ve talked about my intransigent coffee addiction with health coaches and therapists alike. My motives for quitting are clear, as are the obstacles. In following “cups”, parts two and possibly three, I will review these and openly think through the way forward as I hunker down yet again to be that change I desperately seek and need.

Meanwhile, I’m finishing my cup as it’s almost breakfast time!

Sybil Sanchez Kessler

Chronicling chronic illness. Also: Jewish life, being a US immigrant to Mexico, parenting….maybe some poetry. Certified Functional Health Coach.