I gave in to random fits of rage. I said and did harsh things to the ones I loved. Something would come over me and I was not sure where it came from. I prayed, read my Bible, and faithfully attended church. Yet this monster would come out of me. Then, as I let the Lord Jesus speak into my life, He began to show me, although I fought like everything to not admit what it was.
What I let into my body
It started when I was about 20 years old. I had never been a user and prided myself in that fact. But one day, through a random occurrence, I sampled the product I had avoided for so long. I thought I was safe—I was with family. My first little flirt with the stuff was humorous—it left me with a little buzz. The rest of the day, I had a headache and knew what had caused it, yet I liked how it made me feel. It was probably a week or two later that I had my first man-sized portion. Then I was hooked.
My product of choice came from the jungles of South America. I got the little bags of this stimulant from a variety of countries—or so the dealers said, but one of the best sources was Columbia. In fact, some of the best supply of this addictive came straight from some missionaries who brought it into the country with them. I bought it to help out their ministry and they in turn helped feed my craving.
Then one day, I had a friend take me to a place called Uncommon Grounds in Burlington. Wow! I had never seen this product go from its raw, natural state, to being roasted, ground, and percolated within an hour. That was the freshest coffee I had ever drunk. After that, I began searching for only the best sources of my stimulant.
Everyone else began to change
Normally, I was a happy person. Somewhere along the line, however, a number of jerks entered my life. First it started around the periphery of my life. The odd customer who annoyed me, that supplier who got on my nerves, and that weirdo at church began to irritate me. Then I began to notice how irksome some family members were—real jerks. I tried to avoid them. Life is hard enough without too many of those people around. Of course, some of my co-workers and even old friends began looking like idiots. Over time—and it was a slow transition—even my own wife and kids became frustrating annoyances.
I didn’t drink every day, but a little bit went a long way. Some days everyone was nice and life was good. Other days, they were all jerks and I had to straighten them all out. I did not start realizing the connection between my caffeine use and their idiocy until after about ten years or more. My addiction was especially powerful when mixed with a white powdery substance. Yes, mix caffeine and sugar and I became violent. My kids would avoid me, probably for their own safety, and my wife learned not to bring up anything controversial.
I experimented with quitting coffee a few times. I thought that as long as I left the sugar out of it, I would be fine, and things did improve. Then I would skip drinking it at all for a couple weeks. When I imbibed again, I noticed muscle cramps returning—I began to see the connection. I found out that caffeine can rob your body of calcium, B vitamins, and other essential nutrients.
Is there any excuse for this?
What is the point of taking a healthy-looking product, scorching it, grinding it up, filtering water through it, and then drinking the water? I wonder how we began this dietary experiment. So many people add cream and sugar to cover up the really awful flavor some coffees have. Other coffees have a delicious taste and I think real men will drink it black. I want to go on the record as saying I don’t care how bitter the coffee was, I (usually) drank it like a man.
Now that I quit, I feel like more of a man to not drink it at all. Do I feel everyone should stop drinking coffee? Of course, just like when you are a fan of a sports team or have a church you love, you want everyone to see things your way. However, I realize coffee and caffeine may not affect everyone the same way. Others might be able to hold their caffeine. Yet there are millions of dads who could have a better relationship with their wives and children if they avoided the mistake I made.
What about others?
You can quit drinking. I know it is a social acceptance thing and everyone is doing it. I know your church, like mine, promotes coffee and gives you this drug for free. Yet even for those who can drink a pot of coffee and go sleep like a baby or drink a ten-shot espresso and still be a delightful, contented person, I challenge you to find something else to please your palate other than something out of a sippy cup. No matter how it affects your nerves, caffeine robs your body of nutrients and could be causing long-term kidney, liver, and immunity damage which will show up later in life. Look at life-long coffee drinkers, they look old at fifty—wrinkles and graying have become the norm a lot earlier than they should be.
The biggest difference in my life is not being mad all the time. Anger had become a lifestyle during my heaviest times of using the product. Now, I enjoy time with my family. I found out that the world is full of wonderful people. My jerk-detector is no longer hyper sensitive and I can see people with the love God has for them. I got rid of that demon drink and am happy to be free.
Perhaps I have made you mad. Go a week without caffeine, come back, and read this then. You might not be so on edge and will admit your life could be better without this South-American, addictive substance. Let the Lord lead you in making the best choice for your body—and your soul.