Confessions of a Coffee Addict

Commentator Ed Cullen talks about quitting his favorite addiction: coffee.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Some of us who aren't watching the NCAA Tournament have to get our adrenaline rush another way. Coffee might do it. But not for commentator Ed Cullen. At least, not anymore.

ED CULLEN reporting:

I decided to quit coffee the morning a guy in a small, peppy car darted into my lane of traffic. A Tasmanian devil sprang under the hood of my truck to do the dance of the five furies. I recognized the maniacal motorist as otherwise sane, me.

I cut my coffee consumption from seven or eight cups a day to two, then none. I was rewarded with crushing headaches, flu symptoms, and the inability to wake up. This misery lasted a week, to be replaced by something akin to depression. I sat at my desk entertaining a thought loop that went, Dum de dum, de dum, de dum.

I felt unplugged. A toaster at room temperature. An egg whose water would not boil. A racecar on blocks in a locked garage. Quitting coffee, compared to quitting cigarettes, is the difference between kicking heroin and kicking lettuce.

A heart surgeon I know says his patients are more anxious about going without coffee the morning of their operations than having their chest cracked open. Coffee drinkers quote studies that say coffee is good for you, makes you quicker and smarter. If that's true, why are we made to suffer coffee-fueled ravings at the office when we run from people on street corners who abuse other drugs?

To friends who cite scientific studies commissioned by coffee companies, I say, I haven't felt this calm in years.

The other afternoon a driver again cut me off in traffic. When I was Mr. Coffee, I'd have shoved one hand through the horn button while waving the international anger sign with the other hand. The driver gave me a little wave of apology. I waved back.

SIEGEL: Commentator Ed Cullen is a columnist for the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.