I’m caffeine….*gulp*…..free?

It is currently 9:00pm Saturday night, and I haven’t had anything caffeinated to drink since 7:30am Thursday morning. I wasn’t intending to go completely caffeine-free just yet, it just sort of ‘happened’. Ever since the doctor suggested that “hey, maybe those heart palpitations will go away if you lay off the caffeine,” I’ve been trying to cut back, and was limiting myself to approximately 12 ounces of soda (Diet Pepsi, of course!) in the morning and another 12 at night. (Oh don’t worry, I could drink an entire 2 liter right at bedtime and the only thing that would keep me up would be the frequent trips to the bathroom!) So Thursday I had my usual morning ration of caffeine, drank water flavored with crystal light all day long, and then got home and discovered I didn’t have any Diet Pepsi in the fridge – or anything else containing caffeine! I had worked late that evening, and even later the evening before, so I was too tired to make a trip back out to the store. Seems I was about to go cold turkey.

Ever since, I have been waiting for the inevitable caffeine-withdrawal headache. I usually get one if I don’t have something with caffeine in it by lunchtime at the latest. So far, I’ve been tired – extremely so all day Friday – but no headache. There were hints of one approaching yesterday and earlier today, but I’ve been taking naproxen since Thursday night, and so far it hasn’t yet blossomed into a full-blown screamer.

I’ve read that withdrawal symptoms usually begin 12-24 hours after stopping caffeine and can last anywhere from 2-9 days. So far, the worst part has been figuring out what I *can* drink when I go to a restaurant. The first impulse is to tack “with a diet coke” on the end of my order, but now I find that I actually have to stop and read the menu to see what on earth I can order. I never knew until today that Wendy’s sells diet lemonade.

I’m afraid to be relieved that I haven’t gotten the headache yet. After 20 years of addiction, it can’t be this easy…can it?

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