Coffee – moderation vs abstinence, again!

I spent most of the weekend laid out on the sofa with extreme fatigue and a headache which wasn’t much fun. I did get to have a guilt-free netflix binge though so it’s not all bad. I’ve been weaning down off my prodigious coffee intake which was probably the cause. It’s something I’ve had my head in the sand about for a while but I’ve decided it’s time to tackle it.

I know coffee has had a lot of good press. It’s rich in antioxidants and polyphenols and there have been studies that link it with the prevention of some diseases. That being said, red wine has also had some good press, and look where that got me. Coffee also definitely has a dark side with a number of negative side effects – particularly when consumed in excess and hey, this is me I’m talking about ;D

It’s particularly questionable for somebody suffering from autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s). When I was first diagnosed, many years ago, my initial research found this out fairly quickly and I quit straight away. It was one of the combination of things that temporarily put a halt on the disease and made me feel much better.

I need to cut it out again and I’m struggling, much in the same way that I did/do with alcohol. I can list the logic and reasons for quitting – the effect on autoimmune antibody levels, the flogging of the adrenals, the effects on gut microbiome and gut lining, the possible interference with T4 to T3 conversion etc, etc… But, in the same way that knowing the health risks of drinking didn’t rein me in, it’s not stopping me from staring at the dregs in my ever-weakening cup and really, REALLY wanting ‘just one more’. Just one more – yeah, that sounds familiar.

One of the myriad of thyroid symptoms that bothers me the most is the constant tinnitus – it drives me nuts. Coffee is guaranteed to ramp this up within a few minutes. It’s not guaranteed to be a deterrent though, just like a hangover never was with alcohol.

Aarrghh! Why am I like this?! When I was feeling low over the weekend I had a niggly voice telling me that as I was feeling so crap I may as well drink, it wouldn’t make any difference. I didn’t listen but I’m feeling frustrated, grey and pissy today – to match the weather. There’s a part of me having a tantrum inside that just wants to down wine, strong black coffee and slabs of chocolate while rolling around making rude gestures at the part of me trying to sort my life out. I won’t though…

Ah, the ups and downs… Wishing you an UP day today.




27 thoughts on “Coffee – moderation vs abstinence, again!

  1. Mark David Goodson March 20, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    I applaud your struggle to give it up. That’s one I hold onto with shaky hands. I gave up coffee for lent a few years ago and had similar withdraw symptoms that you describe. It’s tough. But, you can do it! Sounds like you have to, and I’m sorry about that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 20, 2017 / 4:01 pm

      Thanks Mark. Maybe I’ll end up compromising and just having a fairly mild one to start the day, I don’t know. I’m not great at moderating anything really.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ainsobriety March 20, 2017 / 2:21 pm

    Focus on one thing. Removing alcohol is a huge change. Adding coffee to the list might just bee too much.
    What about slowly transitioning to decaf?

    Coffee does have some strong research to show health benefits.

    A few savoured cups a day might be important now.

    That said-I drink energy drinks when necessary. I know they change hard on the adrenal system, but sometimes i need a boost.

    I poured alcohol in for years, never really thinking of the horrible impact it had on my body. A little caffeine won’t kill me.

    Take care. Small changes.


    Liked by 6 people

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 20, 2017 / 4:07 pm

      I’m undecided. If I can keep it down to a minimum maybe I won’t feel deprived. If I don’t though, and it tanks my thyroid function I get really sick, depressed and unwilling to take care of myself. It’s a bit of a no win really. Too much and I feel so poorly I could give in and drink because I feel so shit anyway. Give it up and feel deprived which may trigger me as well. Decaf won’t make much difference, it’s the actual coffee beans that can cause an antibody cross-reaction with thyroid tissue not the caffeine. Thanks for your feedback Anne 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • ainsobriety March 21, 2017 / 4:17 am

        I have celiac disease. All my reading shows there is no basis for cross reactivity…but each person definitely reacts to different things.

        Are you completely gluten free?

        Liked by 1 person

      • tiredoftreadingwater March 21, 2017 / 6:56 am

        I’m not currently gluten free but I probably should be, I tried it for a long time and felt much better, my semi permanent skin rashes went away too. My discipline collapsed in the end but I’m feeling so poorly at the moment I’m willing to try removing things again. I agree the case for cross reactivity is vague but I can’t help noticing that certain things keep producing certain results – for whatever reason, but in a pattern that would fit the theory. It confusing and scary 😦


      • ainsobriety March 21, 2017 / 2:54 pm

        I am definitely not an expert, but I understand the idea of coffee cross reactivity is that the body thinks coffee is gluten and responds as such.

        I considered this, but being strictly gluten free has pretty much changed my health for the better. My lifelong eczema, that was blistered and weepy, Is gone. Brain fog, constant headaches, etc, improved. I am serious. I have my own toaster, butter, I don’t eat things cooked in the same oil. I’m militant.

        In early sobriety I thought coffee might have been an issue and I removed it, but I didn’t really see any change and I missed it terribly. I was exhausted. For quite a while.

        Our bodies are so trial and error. It’s tough.

        Removing the booze was a vital step to healing my digestive system. I tried many dietary changes prior to that and found I really never saw the results. Too much alcohol induced inflammation.

        Food and health are a hard combo. I know many people who try everything with no real success. Doctors don’t support a lot of it (except gluten free for celiac).

        Whatever you do, embrace it because it makes you feel good. Somehow that stops me from feeling deprived.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tiredoftreadingwater March 22, 2017 / 9:27 am

        I don’t blame you for being militant having celiac. It’s a good point about the alcohol causing gut irritation. I think I’ll get back on track with gluten first because that’s not stressful to me like the coffee thing. Maybe I’ll keep coffee to sensible limits and tackle that a bit further down the line. Sometimes people say to me, OMG how can you give up _______! I tell them if the feel shit enough for long enough they would be surprised what changes they’d be willing to make 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  3. mikeykjr March 20, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    I too agree with AINSOBRIETY. Don’t take to much on in early sobriety. Professionals push for everyone to rid themselves of all addictions (including caffeine) in early sobriety. Personally I disagree with this. Stay focused on the major ones: alcohol, drugs and/or gambling. The others, unless they immediately risk your health, can be dealt with later. Ask the doctor for insight/suggestions.

    Liked by 3 people

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 20, 2017 / 4:12 pm

      It’s not so much the caffeine in itself, it’s the substance of the coffee beans that can cross-react with thyroid tissue. Basically my antibodies that attack my thyroid are about 1000% too high and coffee is potentially shouting – ATTACK! and I get really poorly. But I also feel cranky and deprived at the thought of giving it up… I don’t know which way to go on this one. Thanks for your advice and feedback 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. soberisland March 20, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    I have no advice but you cracked me up at the end with the rude gestures! I’m sorry you are going through this- all of sudden since my move I can only drink a small amount of coffee in the morning and then I am done. I hope that you can figure out a way to feel better. What about green tea or chai? I don’t know- like I said I have no advice….

    Liked by 2 people

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 20, 2017 / 5:11 pm

      I really like green tea but strangely I can’t drink green or black tea on an empty stomach, they make me really nauseous. After/with food it’s fine. I’ve always found it odd that coffee is fine on an empty stomach but not tea. I’ve had some luck with redbush tea in a morning but it still doesn’t quite have that kick up the butt, wake up effect that coffee does. I know from previous coffee abstinence spells that once it clears my system I feel so much better I don’t need the kick but getting to that stage can be tough and my addicty head whinges about losing another substance. It’s great that your coffee drinking changed without you needing to try. Maybe all that healthy outdoor living makes a difference 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. feelingmywaybackintolife March 20, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    Hey ToTW,
    Coffee… by the time I was offered coffee in my teens I already knew that I should not drink it because I would get hooked.:-) Lucky my body expelled it in a few minutes. I considered that to be the answer: it is poison. 🙂 I was lucky.
    I used to drink…. 3 liters of cola a day and a few liters of black black tea though. Trust me: coffee is better. :-D. I quit cold turkey replacing the morning tea and breakfast cola with freshly pressed lemon juice in either cold or warm water. 1 Or 2 lemons. (Flush teeth with normal water after.). It aaarrrr, helps you wake up! 😀
    Concerning the ear noise: I would use homeopathy or Schuessler cell salts to try to get rid of that. But because of the other meds you take I would go visit a homeopathic doctor for that. Not take it on myself. Homeopathy can fix all kinds of ‘weird’ things normal doctors can’t. Might want to check it out if you are into this kind of stuff.
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 1 person

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 20, 2017 / 7:47 pm

      I didn’t start drinking coffee until my mid twenties, it was actually living in Amsterdam that got me going, you have such nice coffee over there! Cola for breakfast sounds a bit scary, I only ever did then when I was hung over. I’ve seen the hot lemon juice suggested in quite a few of the healthy places that I read/listen to, it’s such a different sort of flavour to coffee though. It makes sense but it doesn’t make me excited. I should just try some different options I guess. The homeopathy sounds interesting, I’ll look into it. Thanks for your suggestions and support feeling 🙂 x

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Untipsyteacher March 21, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Oh boy!
    I am sorry you have to give up coffee.
    I am now drinking it in the am, and switching to herbal tea in the afternoon so I can sleep!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 22, 2017 / 9:36 am

      Hi Wendy, that sounds like a sensible approach. I also like herbal tea, but it doesn’t quite float my boat first thing in the morning 😦 Hugs x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hurrahforcoffee March 21, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    OK, I couldn’t understand the title of this post. I had to reread it three times. In my world, there is no such thing as moderating my coffee intake. Perish the thought! My whole blogging identity revolves around the precious brown liquid. It will come as no surprise to learn that I am a bit like Gollum when it comes to my coffee…I know it makes me jittery but it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Mwah ha ha ha!

    If you have to give it up due to health reasons there is a really nice tea that may hit the spot (that’s if you don’t mind licorice)

    Liked by 1 person

    • tiredoftreadingwater March 22, 2017 / 9:45 am

      Haha I can just picture Gollum with a cup of coffe now! I just counted my tea varieties and I have 22. 6 of them are pukka teas including the one you kindly recommended. You’d think out of that lot I’d find something to hit the AM spot but nope, coffee is my morning obsession still 😑

      Liked by 1 person

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