My name is Jennifer Cummings, and I’m a caffeine addict.
Am I making any efforts at recovery? Nope. Do I plan to? No, not really. Let me explain why.
First of all, coffee has been there for me through a lot of tough situations. The fact that I managed to battle through my senior year on a three-hour-a-night sleep schedule is a testament to the Dunkin’ Donuts that was located conveniently across from my high school. Secondly, coffee has played a number of different roles in my life: comforting or energizing, hot or iced, coffee does it all. When I really need to buckle down and write that essay I’ve been putting off for days, I always have my mug close at hand. When I need an excuse not to write that essay that’s due next Monday morning, it’s time for a coffee run. And somehow, meeting up with a stranger is always significantly less awkward when you preface the meeting with a simple “Let’s get coffee sometime.” Coffee isn’t just a drink; it’s an experience. It smells awesome, it tastes awesome, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s pretty easy to attain.
Okay, so maybe I’m getting a little carried away. But with some scientists trying to compare coffee to heroin, how can I help but get a little defensive? Sure, caffeine is technically classified as a stimulant drug. And sure, the fact that I feel the need to ingest coffee regularly in order to function could be classified as an addiction. But I know that my relationship with coffee is deeper than that.
I will admit that I have had my doubts. There have been times when I have wondered whether coffee actually does anything for me at all, or whether my love affair with caffeine has all been in my head. Coincidence or not, most of these instances have occurred on my morning iced coffee run to Pi Café before psychology class. It took only a few minutes of Internet research, however, to reaffirm, and perhaps strengthen, my faith.
Coffee has not only been proven to improve alertness and performance (to which any coffee-lover would attest), some scientists even believe that regular coffee drinkers live longer than those who do not partake in the daily fixation. There is evidence that coffee reduces one’s risk of cancer, gout, diabetes, dental cavities, and more. The other day, I read an article detailing an experiment that, in short, proved that flavonoid ingestion significantly improved snails’ memories. What’s one good way to introduce flavonoids to your diet? You guessed it: coffee. It improves cognitive function, counteracts muscle aches, and keeps you warm. Is there anything coffee can’t do? Yeah, I guess there is. But that was more than enough convincing for me.
So maybe I am a caffeine addict. Maybe I do get a headache when I can’t get to a coffee machine all morning, and maybe I have placed a single-cup Keurig at the very top of my Christmas list this year. Maybe I am sipping some coffee as I write this. But is that so bad? I have accepted the fact that my body content is probably around 75% caffeine at any given moment, that a good stock of my energy is not biologically my own, and that my teeth may not always be particularly white. Coffee makes me happy, plain and simple. So the next time I walk around with a mug donning the phrase “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee,” it will serve as both a warning and badge of pride.
Besides, the other day I stumbled upon a website that uses your weight to calculate how much of a given caffeinated beverage you could consume before you would die, and it turns out that I would need to down roughly 82 cups of coffee in one sitting to make my heart stop. If I ever get close to that number, then I’ll start to worry.