I need to let you in on a little secret.
I am an addict.
I’m addicted to several things- one is coffee.
Normally I wake up feeling lackluster and reluctant to start my day. Sadly, coffee has become the metaphorical whip I use to beat energy out of the exhausted personal workhorse I call my body.
It was the start of day 3 of yoga teacher training. To my surprise, when I awoke, I felt vibrant. I was excited to start my day. I felt calm and centered, so much so that I thought I’d try to kick my caffeine addiction- for the trillionth time.
Given my elevated mood, I thought anything was possible. So I skipped my morning coffee and made myself a smoothie instead. Here is the recipe if you’d like to try it!
After making my smoothie I hopped in the car and headed to the studio for day 3 of training. Eventually I arrived, walked inside to the greeting area and sank in to a comfy armchair. I was in the middle of downing a sip of my smoothie when a classmate came over to greet me.
“ Hey nutritionist! What are you drinking! It looks sooooo good!” She said with a smile.
I smiled back and then responded.
“ It’s a blueberry smoothie! I decided to forgo my coffee and drink this instead. I feel like coffee makes me too anxious.” I said.
“ Great! I love making morning smoothies! I’ll have to get your recipe! I know what you mean about coffee. It does the same thing to me! I can’t drink it either!”
Eventually, training began. Our teacher, Karen, had us do some meditative work. Without any caffeine in my system it seemed easier to meditate --- at first. Usually I find it challenging to quiet my active mind. My mind likes to plague me with incessant thoughts of personal inadequacies, past failures and possible future worst-case scenarios.
Interestingly, today my mind seemed a bit quieter – that was until the thought of coffee spontaneously emerged. Suddenly, my mind became aware that I had not consumed coffee. So, it nicely asked me for a cup. I sheepishly said “NO”.
After hearing the word “NO”, like a rebel child, my mind threw a tantrum. In response, like a well intending parent, I tried to logically reason with it as to why it couldn’t have coffee. My mind, after not getting what it wanted, continued to throw a fit. I began to feel an uncontrollable desire for coffee surge through every part of me. I now had a ravenous, animal like, craving for coffee. I yearned for coffee like an unrequited lover.
Despite all of this, I continued to sit in meditation. Had I not been sitting with my classmates or, in other words, had I been alone, I most likely would have stopped meditating and got a coffee.
Bare with me while I side track, but I think this is something worth mentioning…
There is a study called Addiction: The view from Rat Park. This study found that rats in solitary confinement where much more likely to become addicted to drugs than rats who lived amongst other rats. On that note, I find it interesting that the mere presence of my classmates helped curb my own addiction.
There are many forms of addiction including, food, love, money, cigarettes, power, work, video-games, internet, exercise, shopping, alcohol, drugs, gambling and more. Addiction is pretty common and apparently it has to do with trying to fill a void.
Personally, I wonder if the bigger someone’s void is the worse his or her addiction will be? I also wonder how much that void has to do with the ever-growing amount of isolation, damaged relationships, chaotic lifestyles, crushed dreams and lack of overall peace seen in our society?
I wonder if addiction is merely just our body’s way of trying to queue us in to how off balance we are? In that same regard, does the addiction epidemic we currently face in New England mean that our cultural way of life is off balance?
Could yoga and meditation help with addiction? What about community? I wonder how much the people we surround ourselves with influence our own addictive behaviors- whatever they might be?
What do you think? Feel free to comment below!
After meditation was over, it was time for lunch. I sat relaxed, chatting with the group and eating. I was so lost in the moment- surrounded by good food and people- that I forgot all about drinking coffee.