How to Withdraw from Caffeine by jgn on Friday, January 7, 2011 in Travel

I'm a caffeine addict, but I've gotten off caffeine quite successfully a couple of times: The first for 4 years, the second for 2 years. To stay off for a longer period you probably need a sponsor (as in AA) to keep you on the straight-and-narrow, but for getting clean over the medium-haul, here's a procedure that has worked for me (when I was a 3 to 10 cups daily man):

  1. Do this on a vacation, ideally at least 10 days. The change of scenery and habits will make it easier to switch over to your new regimen. Because you're on vacation, you can sleep later or take naps. This is key. You want to let your body take a course that is more in line with its dictates, separate from your work and family schedule.
  2. Before you go on that vacation, get rid of all of the caffeine in your home and work so that the setting will be without temptation when you get back. Get herbal tea (the good stuff), lemonade, and other hot and cold drinks that you will use instead of caffeine when you get back.
  3. While on vacation: Drink one coke a day for the entire vacation. This is your "maintenance" dose of caffeine.
  4. When you get back from vacation, go cold turkey. Because you're back, you'll have another serious context-switch, and you should be more amenable to "getting on a schedule" and making the overt decision not to drink coffee, sodas, etc. If you must, stock up on decaf coffee and tea. To be sure, decaf has a small amount of caffeine. But if you're an addict, you do what you can do.

That's it. And good luck.

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