Like so many of us I made a New Year’s resolution...to quit caffeine. Getting support from my spouse, and also my wellness guru, Dr. Thomas Mitchell (www.chicagohealthandwellness.com/) was critical to my decision. You see my particular caffeine addiction began about 15 years ago with a daily Diet Coke (...only McDonald’s formula would satisfy me)! The years passed as I continued enjoying my daily “treat”. But after religiously throwing down “Super-Size Coke’s” I became curious as to what the ingredients of this addictive drink actually are. It was at that moment when I discovered the dangers of artificial sweeteners! Well then, I thought, just switch to the natural alternative...coffee!
So now it goes like this. Replace my daily run to “Mickey D’s” for a trek to the local Starbuck’s. Venti, full-caff, in the morning. Grande, iced-caff, in the afternoon. I’m set. Now I had what I needed to keep me energized through my busy schedule. Or so I thought. I started to sense a feeling of irritability and tension. I thought maybe those symptoms just comes with the territory after being a CPA for 25 years. But because I knew something wasn’t right about how I was feeling I decided to dig deeper.
At the urging of one of my closest friends I decided to have a full blood analysis performed. Further I began to see a wellness physician. As it turned out my instincts where not far off! The doctor advised that I knock the caffeine (also informing me that coffee is the number one chemically sprayed crop in the world) out of my life! Why not...I thought. Make it a New Year’s resolution. Piece of cake!...wrong! I spent two of the most miserable days of my life as my body purged itself of the caffeine.
Over the course of the next few weeks I, and others, began to notice a change. I felt less anxious, even though our firm was entering the hectic “tax season”. Work, and life, issues began to appear less complicated. I began to sleep better. Wow..I had no idea! I was using Diet Coke, coffee...caffeine...as my crutch. I thought it got me through the day by giving me an energy boost. I was working on crutches.
Realizing that something is controlling you, in a negative manner, is not always easy. Friends, spouses, co-workers, and associates might find it hard to be straight with their observations of your behavior and actions. Let’s just say that going through the withdrawal period gave me all the reminder I’ll ever need to not walk down the same path again. I never want to become hooked on caffeine...or any other false crutch... again!
The 2013 tax season was one the of highest volume years at HTH in recent history. Funny thing though...I never felt the anxiety which was so common in the past. It wasn’t until after April 15 when I reflected on the end of another tax season that I realized my angst and stress during this time of the year was absolutely, without a doubt, diminished greatly without caffeine (crutch). I felt pleased that I actually followed through with a New Year’s resolution.
My crutch was the caffeine. You may or may not have had the same experience. You may love coffee...and that’s all good. But caffeine was my “crutch”. But now I am more observant of other potential “crutches” in my life. It is important for me to keep my eyes on the primary goal in my life: to be an effective, patient, and compassionate leader, partner, spouse, and friend. I am not sure what my 2014 resolution will be, but I definitely will be walking through it without “crutches”.