Giving up coffee and alcohol: recalibrate and rejoice!

giving up coffee and alcohol

Why am I giving up coffee and alcohol?

We’re all feeling the same at this time of year, right? Run down, tired, sick of making freaking school lunches and getting up early to get to band practice, or running around to tennis and gym and jujitsu. It’s not just me, is it?

Add to that that I’ve been feeling a bit anxious lately (and from the comments I got on that one, I know a whole lot of you have been as well). I haven’t been getting quality sleep and have generally been feeling ratty and a bit – hmmm, just not awesomely awesome.

You know?

So I decided I needed to recalibrate, to reset my body a bit and feel a bit clearer, calmer and more in control.

My solution

The answer to what was bugging me was pretty clear to me. I needed to give up coffee and alcohol – two of my two favourite food groups. I did this for two weeks.

Now, those astute amongst you who follow us on Facebook or Instagram might have observed I originally said it was going to be three weeks. To that, I say, yeah well, shut up. You’re not my mother.

Unless you are. She reads my blog. Hi Mum.

The point is that I felt I was on a never-ending roller coaster ride of drinking coffee to wake up in the morning, then coffee after lunch to keep perky through the afternoon/dinner rush, then having a glass of wine to calm down while cooking spaghetti freaking bolognese for the third time this week. Then another to help me go to sleep. Then my sleep would be shit because of the wine. So I’d wake up tired. Boo hoo. Poor me.

And my enthusiasm to exercise was also affected but I found a solution for that and waxed smug about that one last week.

Week 1

I actually found the whole thing super easy to start with. Husby was away for work most of that week so I needed to be sharp at all times. I found myself more energetic, calmer and more patient with the kids. I ate more sugar than I usually do (I generally try not to eat any added sugar but I’m not all Sarah Wilson about it) because I felt like I needed some sort of treat/crutch to get through.

My sleep was deeper and I woke half an hour earlier (thanks to my kids) but feeling rested. I also tried to get to bed at a decent hour each night and read a book, rather than kicking on and faffing about.

Mood boosting foods

I also researched mood boosting foods to give myself the best chance at success. After researching various sources, I came up with this list of foods I need more of in my diet:

  • dark chocolate
  • Greek yoghurt
  • asparagus
  • honey
  • cheery tomatoes
  • eggs
  • coconut
  • grass fed lamb
  • organic blue potatoes
  • Swiss chard (as a source of magnesium)
  • Mussels.

I’ve done well getting more dark chocolate, Greek yoghurt, eggs and honey into my diet. Not so much on the lower half of that list. But, hey, it’s a start.

I also read somewhere that anxiety sufferers should not suppress their anger. They should express it as soon as it arises so it doesn’t fester and turn inwards. I have warned Husby he should brace himself.

giving up coffee and alcohol
I’m especially proud of this shot because I took it on my iPad with my toe. No shit. That, and the fact that I chose a stemless wine glass.

Week 2

This week was harder, which surprised me. Wednesday was a tough, stressful, long, hot day and I really wanted a beer at the end of it, but I didn’t because I knew I’d be disappointed with myself for not following through.

I’ve been tired in the mornings and wishing I could have a coffee but in reality what I should be doing is getting another 30-60 minutes sleep each night and then I’d be fine.

I am still noticing I am more even tempered and energetic with my kids, which makes me happy.

Husby says I am talking about booze a lot. We are planning our holiday to North Stradbroke Island and, a week out, I’m talking about which gin we should buy and what cocktails we might want to make. I don’t really miss coffee all that much. Brisbane is very hot.

The one down side is that I’m tired. Anxiety still hits me late at night and so I read and read and read, rather than lying there waiting for sleep to claim me. So I’m up late. I resolve to try to go to sleep when I’m tired rather than waiting till I can’t keep my eyes open.

Exercise is going well though. I am more motivated and actually enjoying myself again. Big major happy win: tick!

The wash up

Overall, I think the detox was a worthwhile exercise. I feel like I have reset my body; I’m more even tempered and energetic. I still need to sleep more, but I have just downloaded some bedtime meditation apps on my phone, so hopefully that will help. I had my first coffee yesterday and have to say I didn’t feel one way or another about it. I am thinking of doing without the daily coffee injection I am used to and keeping it for a sometimes thing. As for wine, I would like to think I will also put that in the ‘special occasion’ category. Or at least only a couple of times a week, rather than most nights.

It can be a slippery slope when you treat your uppers with downers and your downers with uppers. And I think my family appreciate the new, more balanced me. Long may she last! And, you know, what could possibly go wrong with this plan over the Christmas period?

Have you done any kind of detox? How did you find it? Or is there something in your life you feel like you depend a little too heavily on at times?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • I looked at that photo and thought ‘she must have pushed the button with her toe’ and I was right 🙂 Great shot. I was a bit scared to read this because I gave up wine too-for 1 night and that was all I managed, so I’m feeling guilty about it. But (and don’t tell my husband I said this) I do find myself a bit cranky pants on weekend mornings when I’ve had more than one glass the night before, so it would be a good exercise for me to try. On the upside, my new workplace doesn’t have a vending machine and I’ve had no chocolate for over two weeks. I’ve been eating fruit and salad and nuts because I’m stuck in the burbs without a decent shop anywhere and the coffee in the work cafe…let’s just not go there. Glad you’re feeling better, just need to get that sleep thing working out for you now. Big huggz x

    • That’s great re the new workplace, M! Guilt is our enemy – don’t allow yourself to get into the ‘shoulds’. Just do what you can, and keep doing what works for you. There are plenty of people in this world that want to make you feel like shit – don’t be one of them. (BTW the button is much harder to push with your toe – it’s like the ipad knows it’s not a finger – I was clicking away like a contortionist maniac!) xx

  • Well done for the coffee/ alcohol and the ‘toe’ photo 😉

    I gave up alcohol 2 years ago, I wasn’t much of a drinker but I wanted to be healthier. On a hot Friday afternoon after work I sometimes think a drink would be nice but I haven’t caved. Socially I think people think I’m weird when I opt for an OJ! I gave up caffeine (other than in chocolate) about 6 months ago. I thought it would be hard because I would have up to 5 a day, but it was surprisingly easy. I traded the usual caffeine drink with Rooibos tea and as a treat I occasional grab a green tea latte. All good! I haven’t really noticed any health benefits yet but I’m sure it’s happening internally 😉

    • Wow, K, go you! I enjoy drinking too much to give it up (and it’s not enough of a problem to make me need to) but I do feel better when I take a step back occasionally. I’ve been thinking about having one dry week a month.

  • This is a great little snapshot! And who would’ve thought that side benefits such as photography genius would come from this!!! Yeah so I often detox in January as I end up being a bit nuts in Nov Dec. I love the Chridtmas party season! I think I might book it in. Anyway really well done, I’m very proud of you. It’s not easy. I tried dry july and lasted 24 hours. Good effort. Xxxx

  • Go you to give up both for a body reset. Well done.

    I’ve decided that I will not sacrifice my one coffee a day. I wonder if it is more about the routine, chatting to the cafe girls and boys, sitting quietly speed reading some blogs while I enjoy it. But I figure it is one a day, and besides, I live in Melbourne, it is my civic duty.

    Alcohol, well that is more of a vexed issue. We already have four alcohol free days a week and at the moment I am suffering hideous hayfever which wine exacerbates, but come Friday evening, I REALLY feel like a glass of wine. Yet if I don’t have any, I like the clear headed feeling on wake up. And of course I sleep better without it. But it’s Friday! And it’s been a long week and I deserve it! Blah blah blah. I do FebFast every year and that is a good exercise in self discipline.

    • Oh, I so get you on the ‘I deserve it’ thing! I’ve been trying to reason with myself that I also deserve to wake up fresh in the morning but that reward doesn’t feel so immediate. I do know, though, that for me it impacts my whole day. Without the good sleep, I’m less likely to exercise, and that impacts everything.

      LOL re coffee being your civic duty – totally agree. That and a lifetime of wearing black and chasing giant balls of wool through alley ways is what you’ve signed up for.

  • Bravo for listening to (and acting on) what your body needed right now! I am usually pretty good with the coffee thing – I stick to one a day, which husby makes us each morning. And as for alcohol, I keep to 4 alcohol-free days for the most part, but I think I should pull back a little on the other 3 days to make sure I’m still getting quality sleep and not traumatising my insides too much. x

  • Oh Carolyn…just reading your blog on your detox….you could be the inner voice in my head!!! You have such a way with words…I laughed out loud so often, my work colleagues were looking at me strange! Thanks for being so refreshingly honest….xxx

    • Oh, thanks Bernie! I tell you what, it has made SUCH a big difference. And sure, I’ll slip back into old habits – especially as we head into the Christmas season – but at least I know I can go back and do it again when I need to. Glad it spoke to you – and that it gave you a laugh! xx

    • That ain’t willpower, ladyfriend, that’s just what we call ‘holy shit, if I don’t do something tangible soon, I’m going to end up in an institution making mobiles out of paddle pop sticks’.

      But hey, whatever works, right? 😉

Leave a Reply