Cooking With Chemicals: My Dark Mistress

The social history of Coffee is one of most interesting and enlightening journeys in human history. As a species, we have killed for coffee, we have banned it’s sale, and it has been the subject of espionage.

My love affair with coffee started in my last year of high school. I had a morning spare class, in which I would go across the street to Maria’s in Amherstburg and gorge myself on their never ending coffee and greasy spoon breakfast. There I discovered Hunter S Thompson, Hemingway, Updike and Tom Wolfe, while I drank my coffee. First with cream and sugar, then with just sugar, and finally in it’s unadulterated black form.

Over the next decade I developed one of most substantial relationships of my life with coffee and more importantly caffeine. During university was my first real bout with depression and anxiety. Coffee was one of my coping mechanisms. As I grew up and became more in tune with my disease I began to see that my relationship with coffee might be a problem. To give you an idea, I would normally drink between 4 and 10 cups of coffee a day. Sometimes I would alternate cups of coffee with glasses of water because I found that I would get leg cramps because of the diuretic effects of caffeine.

In January I quit caffeine cold turkey. It was not an enjoyable experience. I’ve never really felt addicted to anything in my life. I am addicted to caffeine. The big problem is that my anxiety was in part triggered by my consumption most notably coffee.

I have fallen off the coffee wagon briefly in the past few months. Usually when I was feeling extra sluggish from new medications and whatnot. And I must say each time I have a glorious euphoria which follows with trouble sleeping for about 48 hours.

In all, I have usually lived my life with the “everything in moderation” motto. And sometimes I actually stick to it. But it took my a decade to learn that coffee, my dark mistress, was something I needed to walk away from.