Been a hardcore caffeine addict for 10 years. I recently came off it for a month purely because I was afraid to do it.

George Mack

Been a hardcore caffeine addict for 10 years. I recently came off it for a month purely because I was afraid to do it.

Some non-obvious personal observations on caffeine:

1. The best metaphor to describe caffeine addiction: Interest rates on your energy.

I'd wake up with 15% interest rates on my energy, I'd then drink my coffee to drop my energy interest rates down to 0%, and then steeply incline back to 15% throughout the day.

When on decaf, the interest rates on my energy stay about 3-4% all day.

2. My bullshit tolerance decreased.

In the same way a lot of bullshit gets funded in the economy during 0% interest rates -- my bullshit tolerance on caffeine in hindsight was so damn high.

I thought my caffeinated behaviour and ideas were useful -- but a lot of it was just a zero interest rate phenomenon.

3. I found myself talking less.

On caffeine, I used to just talk for the sake of talking. Every conversation sounded like a good idea -- but it was just the stimulants perception.

The curse of caffeine is that you can get caught up in conversational nonsense like the cocaine addict that thinks everything is insightful.

Without caffeine, I'd get faster to the important parts of the conversation.

4. I enjoy listening more

On caffeine, I wasn't a great listener.

My mouth would talk before I could think.

5. Calmness is easier

Before this habit, the last habit I tried was sitting with my thoughts for 45 mins - 1h per day.

This habit made me calmer.

I found removing caffeine did almost the same effects as sitting with my own thoughts for 45 mins - 1h per day.

6. The easier way to quit:

I quit by rationing my coldbrew coffees on the following protocol:

• Day 1 - 80%
• Day 2 - 60%
• Day 3 - 40%
• Day 4 - 20%
• Day 5 - 10%
• Day 6 - Just decaf (Note - I’m aware there’s still some caffeine in decaf - but the amount I’m consuming is down by 85-95%)

One weird hack I've not heard discussed: Time getting off caffeine with when you get sick or hungover.

You're going to feel awful during that period anyway -- so you barely notice that you're not on caffeine.

If you get sick for 4-5 days -- use that as on the on ramp.

7. Some life events can be a bit more boring.

It's not all net positives...

When you're going from 15% to 0% to 15% interest rates everyday -- there is an element of fun to the craziness.

The main way it's more boring: Social occasions.

If you remove caffeine, alcohol and sugar from your diet -- you realise there's almost no universally available good drink when you're travelling with friends.

8. Closing thoughts

Caffeine is a helluva drug.

Both good and bad.

I wouldn't be surprised if the rising world's anxiety levels are linked to the rise of the world's rising caffeine levels.

However, I'd be sad if I could never have it again.

Such a bizarre and strange drug.

I think drinking it daily was a net negative for my life.

However, I think If I save it for special occasions, jet lag and urgent deadlines -- it's a net positive to my life.

Table of contents

Been a hardcore caffeine addict for 10 years. I recently came off it for a month purely because I was afraid to do it.

Some non-obvious personal observations on caffeine:

1. The best metaphor to describe caffeine addiction: Interest rates on your energy.

I'd wake up with 15% interest rates on my energy, I'd then drink my coffee to drop my energy interest rates down to 0%, and then steeply incline back to 15% throughout the day.

When on decaf, the interest rates on my energy stay about 3-4% all day.

2. My bullshit tolerance decreased.

In the same way a lot of bullshit gets funded in the economy during 0% interest rates -- my bullshit tolerance on caffeine in hindsight was so damn high.

I thought my caffeinated behaviour and ideas were useful -- but a lot of it was just a zero interest rate phenomenon.

3. I found myself talking less.

On caffeine, I used to just talk for the sake of talking. Every conversation sounded like a good idea -- but it was just the stimulants perception.

The curse of caffeine is that you can get caught up in conversational nonsense like the cocaine addict that thinks everything is insightful.

Without caffeine, I'd get faster to the important parts of the conversation.

4. I enjoy listening more

On caffeine, I wasn't a great listener.

My mouth would talk before I could think.

5. Calmness is easier

Before this habit, the last habit I tried was sitting with my thoughts for 45 mins - 1h per day.

This habit made me calmer.

I found removing caffeine did almost the same effects as sitting with my own thoughts for 45 mins - 1h per day.

6. The easier way to quit:

I quit by rationing my coldbrew coffees on the following protocol:

• Day 1 - 80%
• Day 2 - 60%
• Day 3 - 40%
• Day 4 - 20%
• Day 5 - 10%
• Day 6 - Just decaf (Note - I’m aware there’s still some caffeine in decaf - but the amount I’m consuming is down by 85-95%)

One weird hack I've not heard discussed: Time getting off caffeine with when you get sick or hungover.

You're going to feel awful during that period anyway -- so you barely notice that you're not on caffeine.

If you get sick for 4-5 days -- use that as on the on ramp.

7. Some life events can be a bit more boring.

It's not all net positives...

When you're going from 15% to 0% to 15% interest rates everyday -- there is an element of fun to the craziness.

The main way it's more boring: Social occasions.

If you remove caffeine, alcohol and sugar from your diet -- you realise there's almost no universally available good drink when you're travelling with friends.

8. Closing thoughts

Caffeine is a helluva drug.

Both good and bad.

I wouldn't be surprised if the rising world's anxiety levels are linked to the rise of the world's rising caffeine levels.

However, I'd be sad if I could never have it again.

Such a bizarre and strange drug.

I think drinking it daily was a net negative for my life.

However, I think If I save it for special occasions, jet lag and urgent deadlines -- it's a net positive to my life.

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