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Pssst . . . want some candy? Seriously. No pressure. Just a little . . . it’s good shit. I would know. Chances are . . . you’re right there with me, every morning, with a drug of choice. And for my addiction, I blame a very, very slick marketing campaign.

In college, I bought a little four-cup coffee maker and dutifully made a cup when I really needed it: exams, the morning after a party, maybe if I got up really early. But a regular cup of coffee every fucking morning? No way. I knew better. Caffeine was a drug. Enter Folger’s “Jump Start Your Brain” campaign. In the late ’80s, coffee was losing ground to soda in a big way. Soda was cheaper than ever (thank you high fructose corn syrup – rant for another time), and coffee was fighting for its life. And Miami University presented the perfect testing ground for what Folger’s hoped would be its secret weapon: flavored creamers. That’s right – I went to college before flavored creamers were available. I can almost here the whispers now, “Wait . . . French vanilla double whip cream hasn’t always been in the frig? WTF!” but it’s true. And so, Folger’s would bring 50-gallon pillars of coffee to dorms every night, replete with baskets and baskets of flavored creamers. “We’re just helping the kids study,” was the default message that Folger’s would use. Meanwhile, they knew they had a captive audience (no car campus, isolated in the middle of no where), and they made a generous donation to the University. Win-win?

Try addiction-addiction. The first thing to change? Get a better coffee maker because that crappy assed coffee maker wasn’t cutting it. Four cups? Bitch, I have flavored creamers. Flavored creamers! But, hey, Folgers had partnered with Mr. Coffee to sell a nice “sneak-a-cup” coffee maker for only $8. The next thing to change was the reservation about coffee. No longer was it saved for special occasions. Every morning like clockwork. And without it? Holy crap . . . I was a raving lunatic. And after a few years, and two kids, the morning cup became two or three or just give me the damn pot!

Try cutting out your coffee intake cold-turkey, and you’re virtually asking for someone to murder you because no caffeine equals irritability, crankiness, headaches to rival migraines from hell, upset stomach. Sounds like the side effects from a new drug for an unknown disease. And here’s the pisser. You willingly started using caffeine in the first place. And for some reason, you think you’ll be better off without it, but god forbid you do it the right way – cutting out a little bit each week – because the side effects can’t be that bad. You’re basically giving up you’re rights to be treated like a sane person for a week of so.

But you persevere and get up morning after morning and move smugly past the coffee maker. You don’t even look at your mugs anymore. You even get a little cocky and think that you might sell some of those bad boys at a yard sale. But then one night, you have a small piece of tiramisu and realize that you’ve been missing the taste of coffee. And the next morning, you make a small cup . . . just one. You savor the last drop. Think of licking the side to get that drip. And the next morning, you make another but a little stronger this time. Before you know it, you’re hooked. Because like an addict, you’re either in recovery or knee deep in addiction.

Oh, coffee, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Start your day with a morning cuppa? Or are you a more refined tea drinker? Perhaps you like to wash down your vitamins with an ice, cold diet Coke. Maybe you scoff at my weakness . . . so what gets your mornings going? Because without my travel mug of coffee, I’m a straight up bitch. And I can admit that.

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  1. kristin #
    March 29, 2012

    HA! yep. mug right to me left as i sit here with my laptop.
    hello my name is Kristin and i am a coffee addict.
    i blame my 3rd (beautiful) yet totally freaking insane baby. i never drank hot coffee. my parents did religiously. my mom was that mom, that if we were low on coffee and/or cigarettes (hey it was the 70’s and 80’s) RED ALERT!!!!!!!! milk bread that stuff, eh that can wait, but coffee and cigs we are getting in the car!…. without a seat belt…. πŸ™‚
    so yeah, brand new baby #3 who never ever slept unless she was flat out exhausted from her screaming, a toddler of 23 months old, and a teenager.. well you get the picture, things got sketchy, and i got a caffeine iv. i called it survival.
    fast forward almost 6 years to the day and i have a habit.
    but hell it could be worse, i could add ciggys….

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      Oh, my! I probably would have a worse drug to write about than coffee with a screaming infant (totally out of practice). But I remember those days of the 70s/80s when it was all about the cigarettes or coffee or wine. My grandparents smoked, so I well remember those fun day! I would call a caffeine IV survival, too . . . maybe even just plain life!

  2. March 29, 2012

    I’m a coffee whore too. It makes me peppy and tastes damn good. Double whammy of goodness, right?

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      Slut, whore, bitch . . . coffee had me at hello! I really am useless without it.

  3. Kate #
    March 29, 2012

    I have my TWO coffeemakers side by side on the kitchen counter, one with a coffee mug perched underneath the spout because I know one morning I’m going to be stumbling over the dog in the dark and forget to put my cup underneath that life force and make a huge mess all over my counter top.

    And cleaning up a coffee mess is no way to start the day, not to mention wasting a perfectly good cuppa! Cheers!

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      HA! I bought a Keurig over the summer, and I still have the old coffee maker on the floor because I can’t bear to give it away. I might need a full pot and not want to wait until the cup stops brewing.

      Cleaning up coffee mess – especially grounds – sucks so bad!

  4. March 29, 2012

    My weakness in coffee, love the taste, love the smell and with a bite of dark chocolate..heaven.

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      Now you’re talking my language! Coffee AND dark chocolate . . . totally buying into that!

  5. March 29, 2012

    Oh coffee, my love, savior of my sanity and reason I’m not passed out on the couch right now from being up half the night with a baby, oh how I adore you.

    • March 29, 2012

      But actually my parents got me a fancy pants espresso maker for Christmas… so I’ve offically moved on to straight liquid crack. Don’t judge me.

      • Jill #
        March 29, 2012

        I would never judge you . . . trust me. I’ve been so desperate some mornings that I’ve brewed the same basket from the day before just hoping it had enough of a kick to get me to work. That’s how sick I am.

      • Becky #
        March 31, 2012

        I’ve been so desperate I’ve brewed coffee through a paper towel when I was out of filters. I’m considering adding an espresso machine to my pile of moderately unnecessary kitchen appliances. Worth it?

      • Jill #
        April 1, 2012

        Oh, I’ve so done the paper towel/napkin filter. We had a really nice espresso maker (from Dave’s company’s “Thanks for working here XYZ years” catalogs) but it was confusing as shit to use. So we gave it to the girls.

  6. March 29, 2012

    My name is Earl, and I’m addicted to (strong) coffee. (What do they serve to drink at a Coffeeholics Anonymous meeting? Alcohol?)

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      Hi, Earl! I’d tell you how long I’ve been clean and sober, but that would be lying πŸ™‚ And I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to have a Coffeeholics based on the drink choice . . . unless they offered wine instead.

  7. March 29, 2012

    My mom every year in January (after the gluttonous holidays!) cuts out everything (mostly coffee and wine.) I personally dont know how she does it but it is inspiring and impressive. The way i tend to work (because i really like the taste of coffee but not all the time. I go in waves.), i switch up coffee and tea. If i am on a high caffine addiction period but my stomach cant take the acid of coffee, i make some PG Tips tea with milk and sugar. After a week or so i can usually start substituting it with green and then decaf. green. It is the only way i have found to get out of the clutches of coffee without having a nervous break down. AND that way, when you NEED it for the caffine, it works!

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      My mom always cuts back on the wine during Lent, and I don’t know how she does it. Lucky for me, the acid in coffee has never really bothered me, and I’m a sucker for a really strong cup. Tea just doesn’t do it for me for some reason, and that makes me a little upset.

  8. March 29, 2012

    Unfortunately (or, perhaps fortunately), I can only drink about a cup and a half of coffee before my stomach starts getting sick, so I’ve learned to enjoy tea just as much. Although, I have to say coffee frappuccinos from Starbucks are my ultimate weakness. I could drink those things all day, every day.

    • Jill #
      March 29, 2012

      I think everyone has their own little “jolt” to the morning. My faithful cup of coffee every morning comforts me to no end. Tea has never really done it for me, but the Earl Grey latte that Starbucks has? Oh, my . . . it’s lovely!

      • March 29, 2012

        I’ve never had that but I’ll have to try it! I also like the iced chai lattes there. Too good!

      • Jill #
        March 29, 2012

        My oldest gets the iced chai lattes all the time. The original name for the Earl Grey thingy was the London Fog, and it was delightful.

  9. lifeineden #
    March 29, 2012

    Coffee, started in college too. Although then it was more cream and sugar then coffee. Then I was just a one-in-the-morning gal. Then after child #1 and Buffalo winters, I would sometimes have one in the afternoon. THEN … the twins came. And it was coffee in the morning, later in the morning, after lunch, in the evening … whenever. We’ve cut back, but I still like my cuppa on a winter afternoon.

    • lifeineden #
      March 29, 2012

      Oh, and Kristin — my mom was the cuppa with ciggies lady too.

    • Jill #
      March 30, 2012

      I absolutely have a cup every morning. Even if I’m sick, I’ll still figure out a way to crap a cup because I’m worse without it. But the weekends, I usually add two or three. And snow days? Liberal amounts of Bailey’s, too!

  10. kathy #
    March 29, 2012

    I’m at a loss without coffee…I’ve done the desperate, used coffee grounds, and reheated from night before. Not sure when my addiction started…sometime after marriage. I remember coming home from my honeymoon, we were traveling with another couple we had just met and my “new” husband asked me what I wanted in my coffee…the look of horror from the other couple…the fact he did NOT know how I liked my coffee basically set us up for divorce in these peoples eyes. We were so new to the coffee scene…now he better have the pot brewing before I roll out of bed. πŸ™‚

    • Jill #
      March 30, 2012

      Oh, I’ve done the whole brew the old grounds method, but I usually had about a teaspoon of new grounds. Or, since I take milk in my coffee, I have used a small bit of buttermilk just to cut the coffee (no judging). I can only imagine the look of horror on your honeymoon . . . we’ve had instances like that, and you just want to smack the other people’s heads.

  11. March 30, 2012

    You know I need it.
    But “flavored creamer” is probably the most disgusting thing I’ve read all morning.

    • Jill #
      March 31, 2012

      I couldn’t even tell you the last time I added a flavored creamer to my coffee, but in 1989, it seemed so revolutionary. Now, Bailey’s is my flavor πŸ™‚

  12. April 1, 2012

    Hi, I’m Heidi and I also love coffee. I must have one take away capuccino a day which I buy in the coffee shop on the ground floor of my office building.

    When I catch up with girlfriends I have capuccinos, on the weekends at home I have perculated coffee. But the thing is – I only want one coffee a day – after my habituous morning capuccino I don’t want another until the next day at 8:45 am πŸ™‚

    My capuccino must have two sugars and full cream milk, otherwise I won’t bother. For me that’s my second breakfast πŸ™‚ My evening ritual is one can of diet coke/pepsi. Such a creature of habit …

    As I don’t drink alcohol or smoke anything – I figure my caffeine “habit” is okay.

    • Jill #
      April 2, 2012

      Hi, Heidi . . . what would they serve at an AA program for caffeine junkies? Martinis? My Friday ritual is a triple venti non-fat latte from Starbucks on my way to work. So long standing is this ritual that if I’m a tad late, they will ask if I am sick because it was 6:34 and not 6:33. So . . . habit lovers unite!

  13. April 2, 2012

    I am trying to kick caffeine per yoga teacher training. They by no means tell you not to have it, but coffee doesn’t necessarily fit in with the objective of trying to unwind your nervous system. I am down to a couple of cups a week but those are a good couple of cups.

    It is so easy because there is a Starbucks conveniently parked in the lobby of the building where I work. It is an accepted break to run downstairs and get a coffee 3-4- sometimes 5 times a day for some. (That is ~$20 a day!).

    This makes me think of when I was waitressing and how it was ok to go out back for a cigarette break, but god forbid I excuse myself to go to the bathroom to space out for 3 minutes and decompress.

    Be productive! Keep going! Do what it takes to never stop!

    I want some coffee.

    • Jill #
      April 2, 2012

      I used to drink two to three cups a day, but now it’s just a cup (maybe two on a really, really bad day). And I know what you’re saying about it not fitting into yoga. Made the mistake of having a coffee late in the afternoon before yoga one day . . . never did that again!

      Crazy that people would spend that much on coffee, but I know what my daughters spend on their Starbucks cards during finals week, so maybe it isn’t that crazy after all.

  14. April 3, 2012

    I have happy memories of being woken up by the sound of the coffee grinder and the smell of coffee wafting into my room. My parents ground their own beans made a pot of coffee every morning, but I didn’t like i and didn’t start drinking it until I “needed” it in college and have been a big fan of the stuff ever since. Now my husband and I grind our own beans and steep them in a french press, and I assume my children will have the same memories I do. I’m only moderately addicted, because oddly (I have never heard of this happening to anyone else), if I drink coffee regularly for a few months, I start getting nosebleeds. I cut out the coffee, and they go away. So I’ve learned to keep it down. I always have it on weekends and when my husband works at home, but on other days I sometimes substitute tea (PG Tips is almost as addictive) and sometimes go with nothing.

    • Jill #
      April 3, 2012

      I have bought about three French presses and I just can’t get it right. Coffee mugs full of grounds. Blasted stuff all over the place . . . so it’s the coffee pot for me. I’ll have to try the PG Tips as you’re the second person to recommend them.

  15. April 3, 2012

    I am a straight up you know what too! I seriously think I have CJA (Chronic Java Addition) Yah, I made that up….I think. I am doing this whole 17 day cleanse to bring sexyback and after 32 hours I went staright to Starbucks. That is the one thing….I am not giving up. I may limit consumption during times of cold and flu but if anyone dare take my java away…beware! Glad I am not alone! Funny as I totally get the whole flavored coffee creamer thing too! That’s what actually started my addiction when I was in college. I have no idea how I drank that high fructose laden artificial liquid but I did. Now, just a shot of espresso times two, three, four…will do!

    • Jill #
      April 3, 2012

      I couldn’t tell you the last time I HAD a flavored creamer (does Bailey’s count?), but it was huge in the early ’90s. How do I know? Because Proctor and Gamble used my university to test market it in ’89! We’re talking baskets and baskets and baskets of the crap. Give me pure coffee with just a tinge of milk and sugar . . . joy in a cup!

  16. July 7, 2014

    Hi Jill,
    Weird story, I was just mentioning to my boyfriend this weekend that my school had been used by Folgers to test flavored creamers, so just to be sure, I googled it today and *bam* here is your blog. I was there! I remember the Folgers experiment at Miami and when they took the sweet nectar away, the jerks. Just wanted to thank you for documenting it. hahaha
    Becky Leidy (Miami U, class of ’91)

    • Jill #
      July 9, 2014

      Oh, it happened alright . . . excuse me while I take a sip of my coffee right. Ahhh! My husband used to deliver the huge urns to all the dorms, and he remembers how viperous people were when they were out of creamers. Ironically, I despise flavored creamers. He’s ’91, and I’m ’92. Gotta love a school that puts a slight finical gain ahead of student interests, but I guess we survived!

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