I can’t Live without Coffee

by Deborah McInnes

Since I was 17 years old, I couldn’t get out of bed without a coffee in my hand and I completely identified with drinking coffee all day every day. I loved it and I couldn’t imagine living without it! I had the belief that I could never give it up or I would get withdrawal symptoms (which I wasn’t at that time prepared to feel). I went straight from the coffee shop to a session with Serge Benhayon when I was 30 years old. We got talking about coffee and he asked me how I have it – milk or sugar? I told him black and strong and that I have always loved the smell and the taste of coffee. Serge then asked me why I needed the coffee? I didn’t respond but this question stayed with me for a long time. I knew when I was asked that I was run down and exhausted – it didn’t take a genius to work that out – but nobody had ever asked me to be honest before about why I was needing the coffee. They were far more likely to ask me if I wanted to go and have another coffee – or let’s meet at the coffee shop. Never “Why are you having the coffee?” or “Why do you need it?”, “Could it be helping you to get through the day?”, “Are you tired?”,  “Are you using it to stay awake?”.

I began to slowly address the way I was living that resulted in me feeling so tired and needing the coffee to keep functioning. As I looked at things such as my diet, how hard I worked, how late I was staying up, the dramas I was involved in with friends, how drained I felt from my responsibilities as a parent, how far I was pushing my body during exercise and all the late night drinking to take the edge off my day, I began to understand my reliance on the coffee and how I was using it to prop me up and keep going. When I was honest, my body wasn’t feeling so great after I drank it and I would feel racy. I wondered what would happen if I stopped drinking it? Would I fall into an exhausted pile?

I gradually began adjusting the way that I lived and discovered that I didn’t need to have the coffee anymore – it was my own natural process.

I still enjoy the smell of fresh coffee being made but I no longer need it to get through the day. 

83 thoughts on “I can’t Live without Coffee

  1. It is amazing how it took one person to ask a very simple question – ‘Why you needed the coffee?’ in this instance, for a process of reflection and honesty to unfold that then brings about a change in behaviour. Thankfully Serge Benhayon cares enough to ask the simple questions, ones that allow us to consider a different way of being or to understand why we make certain choices.

  2. Same here Deborah, I still like the smell of fresh coffee, not so much when it’s in a liquid form but when it’s freshly ground. And I too no longer need it, so I don’t consume it.

    A little while ago I was talking to somebody who trades on the New York stock exchange and he said that coffee (along with crude oil) is one of the biggest selling commodities. Just how tired is society?

    1. For me, the taste of coffee never lived up to the smell of it, it is almost as if the smell of coffee is a part of the poison that coffee is, it’s there to attract you to it but never gives up the goods and you are always looking for the one cup that will give the hit you want, but it freely poisons you in the process.

      1. That is brilliant Ariana, actually coffee fools us , just like sugar, milk (diary). It might smell or even taste good, but it does not serve our body , as for real it poisons it. It is up to us to re-unite to feel what certain foods do to our body and let go of everything that we have let come in the way of feeling that.

    2. The huge array of coffee shops in every town centre across the world suggests we are deeply exhausted. So Serge’s question could be posed to society as a whole: Why do we need the coffee? How are we living that is propelling this need for so much stimulation?

    3. Great question asked Dragana “Just how tired is society?” What way of living do we accept as normal. Do we accept exhaustion as being normal? And coffee as the solution, if we are honest.

  3. I used to drink copious amounts of tea and coffee, up to 30 cups a day! Then a health professional advised that I give it up for a while, just to give my body a break as I had physical twitching and sleeplessness problems, I just could not slow down at night.
    I went cold turkey and after 24 hours i got so sick I could barely stand, I was shivering, sweating and had blinding headaches. I was so sick I had to stay in bed for ten days, even then I was left washed out and exhausted.
    I realised that if I got THAT sick from cutting out coffee and tea, then it MUST be having a pretty bad effect on my body, I swore i would never drink another cup of the stuff and have not. That was 25 years ago and I have not looked back since.

      1. I agree pernillahorne. Thank you for sharing your experience Ariana, we need to talk about things like withdrawal effects of coffee.

  4. Very interesting that you approached this not by ‘tackling’ coffee head on, but by looking at and addressing many other areas of your life.

  5. As I grew up I watched all the adults drinking coffee (especailly after dinner) and so started drinking coffee in the evenings and in the breaks like everyone else. It never occurred to me that there were these physiological effects that were going on… I thought I was immune.
    I gave up many years ago so am now sensitive to its effects – but recently ended up having some caffeine and could feel my heart race, my head ache and I was left lying wide awake for hours when it was time to sleep. It was following that experience that I could truly grasp that it is actually a poison for the body.

    1. The last time I had a ‘de-caf’ soy flat white, I spent the entire day at work feeling anxious, it was horrible. I hadn’t had one for several months, so that allowed me to feel the effects that day – I loved that creamy drink but certainly not worth feeling that way -it was like a drug. I guess the effects are always happening when people drink coffee, it’s just the awareness is not.

      1. Once we become conditioned to feeling a certain way we perceive that as normal and so it’s when we take a break from ingesting whatever substance we’re using to keep ourselves going and then reintroduce it that we can feel exactly what it’s doing to us. From there we have the awareness and opportunity to make a choice.

  6. Yes, I find this interesting too…It seems as though that question “why do you need the coffee?” gave you permission to explore this….and come to realisations in your own time. Great that you really took this to heart and gradually came to address the whole way you were living . Realising coffee was a crutch you were willing to put other parts of your life in place to the point where you didn’t need your crutch anymore. I can feel that there are still totally unnecessary ‘crutches’ in my life. Areas where what I think I need no longer truly supports me. Your article highlights for me that by focussing on the way I am living not on the supposed need is the way to go.

  7. It’s so interesting how addictive coffee is and how we avoid admitting that caffeine is just as powerful a drug as any other. I used to be quite the coffee fanatic (going on a vacation to the coffee capital of the U.S., Seattle, Washington didn’t help) and really enjoyed my coffee in copious amounts, but eventually gave it up when I realized how I simply could not function without it. I felt like a heroin addict, but with coffee being my drug, and that felt pretty awful. I remember a time when I contacted a marriage counselor back when my relationship was rocky and the first thing he said to me was “Do you drink a lot of coffee, because you sound quite anxious and agitated and this will definitely affect your relationship if you are in a constant state of adrenal exhaustion and operating in a “fight or flight” mode physiologically all the time. Boy did that tick me off to hear that, and I got very defensive. I told him I did not agree, and never spoke with him again. Your article here Deborah has inspired me to contact him (5 years later and totally caffeine free) and thank him for his wise and insightful, honest words!

    1. After reading your comment Michael i ask myself how come we are raised as children in a society where drinking coffee is one of the most normal things in the world and why are we not told about the side effects coffee has??

  8. I can really relate to this. I was for sometime addicted to jasmine green tea, I kidded myself it was good for me, but I was using it in excess and making it as strong as I could, brewing it for a long time and many times filling half the cup with leaves so I could get a stronger hit. I went on like this for years overriding what my body was telling me. It wasn’t until my first session with an esoteric practitioner when I was asked to look at the reason as to why was I addicted to caffeine that I started to heal.

    1. I had a similar experience Samantha. I gradually let coffee, and the more obvious ‘caffeine’ go, for it left me far too racy feeling, and the rest. And yet the green teas took their time… ‘all the way’ to a super-low caffeine, finely made Japanese variety, which by the way I did drink quite a LOT of for quite some time… Until, over time, and through honouring and attuning more deeply to its affects, I realised that it also was too much for my nervous system.
      Removing caffeine from my diet was a gradual process, and one in which I felt several layers of nervous energy drop over time, and a sense of inner centrelines and stillness deepen.

  9. Deborah this is very inspiring and it feels very important to have this article available as an example, that we can let go of the things that we feel that we need. I can so relate to what you speak about re the concern that if you had let go, you would turn into an exhausted pile. I have often used the drive of overworking to keep me going and ignore my exhaustion, but like you, simple and small loving choices made consistently start to chip away at the pattern and the exhaustion gets dealt with slowly without a complete disintegration! Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Wow that’s amazing, coffee is a very big part of a lot of peoples’ diets, and for many looking honestly at the reasons behind needing the coffee can be difficult, as even if they do admit that they need it for ‘X’ reasons, there is a sense of responsibility that comes with making new and more supportive choices. So for you to be so honest in looking at your life, seeing what is exhausting you and making the choice to change is deeply amazing, thank you for sharing.

  11. My day use to start and finish with a cup of coffee in my hand, and several cups in between. It took a long time before I realised that I had a coffee addiction and what was fuelling my need for it. It was that I was plain and simply exhausted. With the assistance of a Universal Medicine practitioner and my willingness to change, I have now eliminated this stimulant from my life completely. Your blog Deborah, has inspired me to appreciate how much I have healed, from my heavy drinking coffee days. Thank you.

  12. Hi Deborah, I can relate to drinking a lot of coffee to get through my day; on and off for years I would give it up whilst I was on a health kick, but always ended up drinking it again. These days I no longer use coffee to keep me going and it has been 5 years with no relapse.

  13. Deborah, it’s great to read this as it shows that a number of things we say we “love” and “enjoy” are things we need to keep us going through the day. Be it coffee or sugar or cake etc…What was really interesting was when you started to look at how you were living and made some supportive changes so that the “need” for coffee went away. I’ve experienced the same thing and it’s quite amazing how the need suddenly drops off and you wonder why you were so hooked in the first place.

  14. Wow thanks Deborah for sharing how one simple question encouraged you to look at why you needed coffee and how you then made adjustments to your life which meant it was no longer needed as a crutch.

  15. I was thinking about this yesterday – I’d let myself get a bit run down but had things to do as well. So the familiar question comes up of whether I look after myself first or to put the task first, and I know that the traditional response in the world today is to reach for the stimulant (coffee) and keep on going, overriding what the body felt. For me it was simply a case of taking some time out to rest and looking after myself, and then getting back to the tasks at hand. This is coupled with a look at how I am living, and how did I get myself so run down in the first place… all opportunities to learn and refine going forwards.

  16. Deborah thank you sharing your honesty about your relationship with coffee through which you developed a deeper love and a truer relationship with yourself – a beautiful unfolding.

  17. I agree with everything you have said here about coffee Deborah. I consumed around 8 cups of tea and coffee a day for most of my life without once asking myself why I was doing it. And we pride ourselves on our intelligence! When I decided that it was clearly harming me and to give it up is when things got hard. As soon as I stopped it I would get a horrendous headache that no pills could lessen. Certain proof of what a powerful drug it is. The only thing that would reduce or cure the headache was to have some caffeine and so I would cave in after three or four days and this went on for months before a friend informed me that all I had to do was to put up with the headache for a week or so! It was a great day that my body was clear of caffeine and I would never touch it again.

  18. Isn’t it gorgeous the power of a simple question that makes you stop and get honest about something you normally wouldn’t even consider. I love that. Thank you for sharing this.

  19. I was also controlled by my need for coffee. Because I was so exhausted I relished the ‘raciness’ it provided so that I could rush around and get things done, until the effects wore off and I would have to have another. When I finally stopped drinking caffeinated coffee, I had major physical withdrawal symptoms – a week of headaches and nausea. What I gained was the opportunity to be honest, now that I could feel, that I was exhausted and had to look at how I was living my life that left me that way. I needed coffee to combat my exhaustion and to feed my dishonesty and irresponsibility in relation to the way I treated my body and lived my life.

  20. Thank you Deborah. I loved the image and idea of being a coffee drinker – it was an identity for me – I like my coffee strong and made with a particular coffee pot and drunk in a particular mug. It was a ritual that allowed me to distract myself from ever wondering why I needed this charade in the first place. I have now replaced this ritual with herbal tea I am now realising – it is a work in progress as I let go of the need for distraction and more fully embrace that I am enough.

  21. What you share Deborah shows how we make devices a normal thing even if in truth we are using them to band aid the effects of how we live our lives. It seems there are lots of things we need to sustain us such as coffee, sugar, alcohol, milk etc… and there seems to be a pretty strong resistance to look at why we have it. Usually we tend to defend it even though we know it’s not really great for us, which I find somewhat strange. Maybe we miss the joy we had when we were younger but we’re not sure of how to get there again so we use lots of things to keep us floating or perhaps numb to the fact that we miss it so much.

    1. I agree Matts, what are we missing that allows us to indulge in any activity that takes us away from that youth-full joy? Then we have the replacements such as decaf, that hold us away from that true inner joy, Serge Benhayon presents. Until we get to the root cause, we will not truly heal what has taken us away from that joy. Thank you Debra.

  22. Oh, the relationship with coffee! I started drinking coffee in high school, only instant coffee with milk. Then I discovered the Italian coffee maker and that was a killer since it tasted quite yummy. Then I discovered good coffee. The smell of coffee being grounded in a coffee shop was just beautiful. Then I realised that I preferred the smell of coffee and not the taste of it. I also discovered that I preferred to eat coffee grains and not drink it. That was my way of deciding what coffee to buy. In 1994, I decided to stop drinking coffee. It was no problem whatsoever doing so. What I discovered was how steady and consistent I became during the day. No ups and down. It did not last for too long, my break with it, but that recollection remained with me. I did not drink a cup in the morning after that. A few years down the track I quit altogether. It is long gone now. I do not need it or crave it.

    1. That is interesting emfeldman. Our bodies respond so differently to the same substances. Every coffee detox I’ve ever done has been painful but worth it. I started drinking instant coffee when I was a child (monkey see, monkey do) and I loved the way it took the edge off life. I had trouble sleeping so I felt like coffee was a lifesaver even though I wasn’t officially ‘allowed’ to have coffee as a child I would sneak it and make it myself when I could barely reach the kitchen counter (I remember crawling up on to the bench to make it). It’s amazing how quickly we work out which substances will provide the medication that we need to avoid feeling what we do not want to feel.

  23. It’s beautiful to read how a simple question about why you needed coffee was enough to make you reflect on how your body was truly feeling, and how coffee was being used to prop you up and keep you going.

  24. I feel many people rely on coffee to get them through the day. I wasn’t a coffee drinker but I ate loads of sugar, any way I could get it, I would always have a bag of lollies, a frozen drink or something to suck on, not too far away. It was how I fed my high paced life of work, high intensity sport and a pretty active social life. As soon as I started to change the racy and hectic life, as inspired by Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon to begin to be more caring and considerate with myself, the sweets just went, I didn’t even see it happening, but one day woke up realising I feel so so much better and didn’t need the sugar hits I used to rely on. It’s not completely gone, but it’s no where near what it used to be.

  25. I can so relate to what you say Deborah. I definitely needed coffee to stimulate and pep me up to help me survive each day under the disguise of me thinking I loved it. It is always confronting to realise that something you think you love comes from a need.

  26. Awesome Deborah. I have always liked the smell of coffee and enjoyed the taste too. For me it was a comfort thing too with heaps of sugar and a tonne of milk. Looking at the way I lived I found coffee didn’t have a place anymore as I became way too racey afterwards- even with decaf I would get racey heart beats and feel funny in the tummy.

  27. Deborah, the way that you gave up coffee, by addressing why you needed it, and then eliminating the need,is the way to go when addressing anything that does not serve us. Address whatever is lacking or out of balance, bring in the balance and then the thing that we are seeking to change will just drop away by itself. Bingo !

  28. “it was my own natural process” this to me says it all, and shows the true power that Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine present, the power of learning to feel for ourselves what serves us and what does not.

  29. It’s so true what you write Deborah, how often are we asked why we need a food, a drink or to consider why we choose the things we do. Taking the time to ponder this question, I can feel you were able to stop and begin to feel for yourself. I too am taking the time, in my time, to feel what is true for me, delving deeper and considering the impact of the choices I make. It is only since my involvement with Universal Medicine that I was presented with the true responsibility we all have in feeling and choosing for ourselves and I am ever grateful for the awareness I am developing.

  30. Serge Benhayon has an amazing ability to ask the right questions at the appropriate time, which allows for deep consideration to occur.

    1. I totally agree Joe, Serge’s questions are always timely and they support us to go to a deeper level.

  31. Thank you, Deborah. Those simple ‘why’ questions can be a real life changer. I remember having a session with my esoteric practitioner after not having seen her for a few years, and I was sharing with her what I had been up to during that time – she kept asking me why I had made certain choices. I felt annoyed because those questions were really pulling the carpet under me upon which I had built what I declared to be an OK life, and could expose the painful truth I was not willing to feel. But all I was being asked to do was just to take a moment to stop and be honest for a moment. I now have learnt to ask those questions myself, and it’s such a loving thing to do.

  32. Breaking old habits sometimes seem impossible until we ask ‘why’,why indeed. Once you understood the reason for your addiction it was easy to let go of it. So the more I ask myself why am I doing this or reacting to this, the more I can let go.

  33. No one can show the way out of a mess, if they too are in that mess.
    i.e. a drug addict can’t council a drug rehab group.

    Thank God we have people like Serge Benhayon who have the love and care to actually show another way.

  34. I remember in the past when whoever was first in the office, it was their job to get the coffee percolator on, and as soon as it was ready we would all sit and have a coffee before we started work. It was what everyone felt they needed to start the working day, the percolator would be on all day for copious amounts of refills. Eventually I gave up drinking coffee because when I was honest with myself about it, I didn’t even like the taste, and my body was already giving me strong messages that it didn’t want it either.

  35. I never liked coffee. I drank it a bit at work, when visiting clients, to not stand out or be ‘a trouble’ because I preferred herbal tea. I love the question Serge asked: why do you need coffee? I used a different substance to keep me going: sugar. And the same question is relevant here as for all the others devices we use to numb ourselves from feeling what is actually going on in our bodies and to cope with life.

  36. I gave up coffee when my body said ‘yuk’. I knew I was pregnant on each occasion within a couple of days as I couldn’t stand the smell of coffee. I remember thinking that if my body couldn’t tolerate coffee while I was nurturing a developing child what was it doing to my body when I wasn’t pregnant.

  37. I love the smell of coffee but I never felt it tasted as good as it smelt. I drank it and made it for years but found at different stages of my life I would just stop having it. The affects of caffeine on my system was always an issue as I really didn’t like the racy, panicky feeling that came with too many cups or the terrible headache that came when I didn’t get enough. So I had to look at the fact that coffee affected me like a drug and perhaps that need was something to look at.

  38. An honest personal appraisal that reflects the insidious way coffee has penetrated our lives, woven itself into our social scene and daily rhythms – and with such ubiquity that it’s no longer seen as the stimulant it is, because it’s become so normal, so commonplace, so unchallenged.

    1. Absolutely Cathy. We need to be cautious and aware that it is in fact a potent stimulant and be wary about using anything to encourage our nervous system to keep going when we’re exhausted. Our body can be sending us a message to rest and we override this with dire consequences one of which can be adrenal exhaustion, which can take months or years to recover from. There’s nothing normal about stimulating the nervous system.

  39. Most people I know who talk about coffee say that they “need” it and are too frightened to try to get through the day without it. Many people have also communicated to me that they especially “love” the morning coffee because it’s the stimulant that allows them to function, and without it, it’s too daunting to face a day. I also used to need help waking up either with strong black tea, or many years ago I drank coffee but gave it up as it caused digestive pain, but I have such a better experience now of mornings because of the self care I live with each day and honouring when my body wants to sleep. I’m so glad I found Universal Medicine and their presentations on self care as it’s had a very positive effect on my health and wellbeing.

  40. Coffee has become one of those items we consume where we don’t even question why we consume it in ever increasing quantities. So much so that we don’t even consider that our consumption could be harmful, by masking the effects of how we are living. Being honest with ourselves in terms of why we need something is the first step to making true change.

  41. Simply nominating what the true cause is behind our addictions and needs works miracles as it raises our awareness and makes us realize that we have a choice and then we can practice making a different choice which will eventually lead to us being able to let go of what for so long had a hold on us.

  42. It is beautiful that without needing to detox or suffer withdrawal symptoms as many do, you were able to let go of what was propping you up through simply addressing and adjusting those things in your life that were not supporting you. This is how to naturally let go of what in truth we only tell ourselves we need…and do so without any cravings.

  43. There are a number of things I used to eat and drink that I have let go of over the past few years. On reflection, I used to believe I needed such things to feel energised and to get through the day but today I can honestly say the opposite is true. Living without alcohol, sugar, caffeine and an excess of food has given me more energy, allowed me to feel lighter and with it I have lost 2-3 stone in weight. It is clear to me that the things I believed about needing such things for energy were not true and that when we tune into and listen to the wisdom of our bodies, we access energy in abundance.

  44. Honesty is the hardest bit, even opening up to the potential that we may actually ‘need’ rather than ‘want’ our drug of choice. For some it is coffee, for others sugar, wine, cigarettes. same same. A need rather than a want and it is only when we understand why we need that we start to not want 🙂

  45. One thing I have embraced from Serge Benhayon is the depth of his questions meeting you where you are at with the utmost of integrity and respect, from a place of love knowing you are that too, so their is an opportunity to be honest than we would normally be.

  46. I never really was a coffee drinker, but I used tea in the same way. My day had to start with a cup of tea or Chai as we would say it. Without a chai, with spices and milk, my day did not begin. It was doing the same for me feeding the exhaustion and tiredness in my body.

  47. Thank You Deborah – I loved reading about your session with Serge. I just started drinking coffee again after living coffee free for 4 years and it has been extremely confronting as I knew that I was exhausted and I felt as though coffee was the only thing that could help me. What it actually did was allow me to push my body past the point of exhaustion and I now have a glut of exhaustion to clean up. ‘Quick fixes’ don’t work, they only delay the inevitable and make things worse.

  48. I like how you point out that nobody ever asked why you drank coffee. This is with so many things in life as we take them as normal and label them with lifestyle. But whether they do us truly good or not we do not question.

  49. It is a great question to ask someone who drinks coffee, ‘ why I needed the coffee?’ It is then a choice for the person to feel what it is giving them and be honest about that.

  50. I can’t live without sugar would be my title….. truth was I became so dependent on sugar as my feel good drug and I used sugar as a way to sweeten my life…… what changed? I made different choices and started to self care and self nurture, and many things changed in my life, including going sugar free and no longer needing my dairy free soya coffee latte!

  51. It is amazing how one simple question can unlock a lifetime of following a particular habit. Why do you need coffee is such a great question and one that we can literally go a whole lifetime without asking ourselves such a question. This alone should make us question the human mind and its intelligence and is it as intelligent as we like to think?

  52. Great blog Deborah. I’m off coffee (again) but I’m very aware that my pattern of turning to food and drink to prop me up is still there (especially fruit and herbal tea). You remind me that the best way to start to tackle this reliance is to get honest about what is causing the craving in the first place and then addressing the root cause.

  53. When we are honest about why we actually need something, it helps us to understand the attraction which in turn supports us to work through its hold over us and let it go.

  54. I thought that I loved coffee also until over 20 years ago, when I decided that I wanted to try to live without any caffeine. I was a two coffee a day drinker but also drank copious cups of tea at that time. The withdrawal symptoms lasted for a week! I could not believe the scale of the negative impact caffeine had had on my body to create such symptoms. I can recall clasping my knees to my chest and rocking and sweating unable to sleep for nights as the caffeine left my system . . . all the time suffering with the headache from hell. Needless to say I never touched anything with the slightest trace of caffeine in it again as I now consider it a deadly drug. P.S.Chocolate and cacao, now touted as a super food, both contain caffeine!

  55. It is indeed interesting to see how much we can convince ourselves about something that we know is not good for us.. I too loved coffee but was completely unwilling to admit all the symptoms that came with it, the shakes, the coldness on the inside, the wiredness on edge, the feeling ill – crazy really, but an important thing to consider is what are we trying to escape feeling and what other behaviours are we being equally wilful and stubborn about not seeing or admitting.

  56. Coffee and what a growing industry. Someone said to me in a conversation that look back 20 years and you wouldn’t dream of going out for a coffee everyday and yet here we have now coffee shops outgrowing all other shops in towns. Not only that but the huge growth in coffee machines at homes and in work places, coupled with drive through coffees and mobile coffees and the list goes on. You don’t have to walk to far these days to get a coffee and even though I don’t drink it I am seeing it everywhere. I am not saying people should give it up in fact enjoy your coffee but I will ask why are we seeing such a continued growth of this bitter tasting drink? Is it the taste, the flavour etc or is it what it does for us? This is not to be critical of those that do or don’t drink coffee but just a question to see if everyone sees what I do, coffee continuing to pop up everywhere.

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