The Decaffeination of Ms. Tracy Beckerman

coffe cartoonI love coffee.  I have always loved coffee. 

When I was a kid I would have a big cup of sugared-up coffee every morning with my parents before school.  Back then, nobody thought that loading your kid up with caffeine every day was a bad thing, except maybe my elementary school teachers who couldn’t understand why I was bouncing off the walls of the classroom each morning.

So I’ve been drinking coffee for something like 40 years now.  I am an equal opportunity coffee drinker:  I will drink Kona or Colombian, Hazelnut or French Vanilla, Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.  I drink it hot in the winter and iced in the summer.  It is the first thing I have in the morning and the last thing I have at night.  This is obviously no secret to my family.  Both the kids and the dog know that they do not get breakfast or even get let out to pee (the dog, that is, not the kids) until I get my morning cup of Joe.

Unfortunately, while I love coffee, I recently discovered that I can no longer tolerate caffeine.  Maybe it has something to do with all that coffee I drank as a child, but at some point my body said, “done.” (Sort of like what happened after I had my second child).  One day I woke up, had a cup of coffee, and got a humongous headache.  It was clear, my caffeine days were over.

“Why couldn’t it be Rings Dings or Pop Tarts or something else I really shouldn’t have anyway,” I moaned to my husband.

“You can still have coffee,” he said sympathetically.  “Just switch to decaf.”

Decaf?  Ugh!  Real women don’t drink decaf.  Decaf is for sissies who are afraid of a few heart palpitations and sleepless nights if they have a cup of coffee past 5pm.

Decaf is for men who wear their trousers up under their armpits and women who wear pantsuits with palm leaf prints.  Decaf?  Please.

Just the word made me grimace. It’s like offering Tofutti to someone who regularly eats Haagen-Dazs.

Stubbornly, I tried just cutting down.  But that didn’t help.   Then I mixed caf with decaf for a half-caf.  But the headaches persisted.  Eventually I realized that I was either going to have to stop drinking coffee completely or switch to decaf. I was not thrilled by either prospect but decided to make it my New Year’s resolution to give up the coffee.

“OK, here’s the deal,” my husband announced to the troops. “Mom has to stop drinking regular coffee because it gives her headaches.”

coffeeadA collective hush filled the room.

“No more coffee for mom???” whispered my daughter.  The dog looked ecstatic.

“She’s still going to drink coffee, but it’s going to be decaf,” explained my husband.

“What’s the difference?”

“No caffeine,” he said.

“So what does that mean?” they wondered.


Everyone slowly backed out of the room so as not to disturb the scary lady who was giving up caffeine.

For a week I woke up and felt like my eyes were glued shut.  I stumbled through my day and eventually woke up just long enough to go to sleep at night.  But slowly the fog lifted and then one day I realized I was actually alert, and thankfully, headache-free.

Then one night after dinner, I reached for a piece of dark chocolate to go with my decaf coffee and my husband stopped me.

“What!” I shouted.

“You know… chocolate has caffeine in it.”

I sighed and then popped the chocolate in my mouth.

“We’ll tackle that one in 2015.”

©2014, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Growing old ungracefully

15 responses to “The Decaffeination of Ms. Tracy Beckerman

  1. Luckily, there is no caffeine in vodka or 2016 would suck.

  2. Carol Baron

    Welcome to the club. I will not give up chocolate even if I never sleep again. So it’s haf/caf in the morning and then decal for the rest of the day. But be aware that decaf is not entirely caffeine free and if you drink enough of it, you do get some caffeine in your system. Good luck!

  3. Say it ain’t so! Just the title of this post frightened me! On a serious note, glad you are headache-free. That isn’t fun. I pinned this post on my “Blogs To Take A Shine To” board. You can see it here:
    Blogs To Take A Shine To
    I would love to have you as a pinner on this board. If you follow me on Pinterest, I will add you right away. Well, after I’ve had my coffee!

  4. I am in your camp and would rather cut off my arm than stop drinking coffee or eating chocolate. Believe it or not I began drinking coffee when I turned 40. So I can’t stop now!

    Great post.

  5. I’ve heard of others with the caffeine-headache thing. That really sucks. Hope you’ve found another ‘upper’ 🙂
    When I have to give up coffee … I hope I am living alone!

  6. Tracy, So glad you are mostly caffeine free. That is a rough road to walk. Keep up the good work.

    I went caffeine free several years ago, and I didn’t even drink coffee. It was tea and Pepsi. I didn’t think I consumed much caffeine so went cold turkey. Bad idea! Drove everyone nuts until my body was caffeine free. Should have weaned myself off gradually.

    2nd big mistake, a little more than two years ago I decided to take up coffee drinking, after all, I’m a big girl now. I limit my self to two cups a day, in the morning – but still . . . sd

  7. Megan

    I drink half-caff b/c regular made me anxious. I would NEVER be able to give up chocolate, however, especially dark chocolate. Kudos to you for giving up your regular coffee!

  8. I hope that never, ever happens to me. Though admittedly I’ve cut back to a 50/50 split…well maybe it’s 60/40. Because? I think the Dr. said I needed to for some reason? Convenient forgetting!

  9. I gave up caffeine about 20 years ago. The withdrawal sucked so bad it deterred me from ever going back. It’s weird, but you’ve got this!

  10. I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it.

    I have you book-marked to look at new things you post…