Coffee and Cigarettes

Guess what I just did? Made an espresso…it’s excellent. After I’m done, I will have another. Somewhere in between I will smoke a cigarette. Being that this is a forum for folks who suffer with IBS, myself included, I’m assuming most of you see the problem with this. Cigarettes and coffee, or espresso, in this case, are very, VERY bad for IBS. I have an addictive, compulsive personality. I like what I like. And for all the changes that I’ve made to my lifestyle since being diagnosed with IBS, these two things remain the chattering monkeys on my back. You have to understand, I’ve eaten well today; very clean. I’ve taken my IBS medication and probiotics. I went for a long hike. But, for all this, I still cannot shake the urge to lose the caffeine and smokes. I have my excuses like everyone else who smokes or has some indulgence that they cannot seem to rid themselves of. My primary excuse is that I quit drinking alcohol 12 years ago. Yes, 12 years ago. I am proud of my sobriety and I know that I have done right by myself for maintaining it. Problem is, that when I quit I needed a substitute. I suppose you can guess what the substitutes are. It is time that I let go of my two friends because I want to be as healthy as I can be. I just need to find the strength within myself to do it.

Cigarettes and coffee cause more stress

I’ve actually had doctor’s tell me not to quit smoking. They cite my anxiety and depression issues, which honestly have intensified since the IBS thing took over my life, as a reason not to quit. They don’t want me to push myself too hard or increase my stress. Quitting anything is stressful. I know this because I have quit more things than I can count. With the IBS alone, I’ve quit fried food, processed food, energy drinks, milk, gluten, Diet Coke, club soda and a number of other things. I have quit drinking, drugs and ice cream. I AM A QUITTER…:-). I think the thing that we who smoke need to wrap our heads around, is that there is never going to be a perfect time to quit. Things will always be going on in our lives that cause stress. And whether we believe it or not, cigarettes and coffee cause MORE STRESS. I have always found it interesting that whether I’m working with clients with anxiety issues or attending support groups for anxiety and mental health related issues, the majority of the people there smoke and drink coffee. What it is, is the most vicious kind of cycle. You get a few moments of relaxation with the smoke and the coffee ritual, only to have your anxiety increased significantly once the chemicals kick in. It sucks, but it is what it is.

No cigarettes and coffee

What needs to happen is to be mindful of what exactly happens after you indulge in cigarettes and significant amounts of caffeine. It’s pretty obvious, but keeping a journal can help you see for yourself exactly what’s going on. I have reduced my coffee intake from about 90 ounces a day to about 20 ounces since my diagnosis. I believe that if I can quit smoking, the coffee will also go by the wayside. So here I am, staring at the box of nicotine patches that I spent an arm and a leg for. What am I waiting for? I guess only time will tell. But I’m getting there and I hope that if you are in the same predicament, that you will find the will and the way as well. Vaya con Dios, my friends. I’ll check back to let you know how I’m making out…a year or two from now. I’m kidding…really.

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