I Can't Stop Drinking Coffee Even Though I've Got an Ulcer Because I'm A Self-Obsessed Idiot

Have you ever woken up to the smell of your own blood and vomit warm on your chest? I cannot not recommend this highly enough.
Publish date:
June 9, 2014

I have vices. I don’t think any of them are unusual. None are even cool -- by which I mean, could ever be construed as dangerous. I was a smoker for a long time, but I gave that up. I don’t drink to excess (often), I don’t make deliberately destructive romantic decisions. I’ve never flirted with narcotics. But I still do plenty of things the current lifestyle eblasts would strongly suggest that I NOT do to my body.

If I get a hair on my nipple, I pluck it. I stick Q-Tips way too far inside my ears. I do it until I feel a tickle at the back of my throat and a sort of, I don’t know, throat orgasm? That can’t be good, right? Sometimes I stop and try to think about the last time I ate a fruit or a vegetable and it’s shocking (note to self, eat a banana or something). I peel my lips with my fingers when I’m stressed, I dig at blemishes on my face, I watch TV to a degree that they could make a clinical study about me. I hunch in front of a computer more hours than could ever be considered reasonable, but really don’t we all?

The only ‘vice’ I’ve got left that I can’t really rationalize anymore is the amount of coffee I drink.

I drink between 5 and 7 cups of coffee a day. When I’m actively counting. I’m not always actively counting -- I’m sure there are days when it has easily been between 8 and 20. When I started taking Prozac for anxiety, my doc recommended cutting back. This seemed like a reasonable request as I sat there in his office shaking like a leaf. I took him at his word and went down to 3.

Cut to me clutching my guts and sweating bullets as Satan weeps in a corner. I’m back up to where I was before. Satan is still weeping in the corner, but that’s probably because he’s lost and afraid of the amount of clothing I’ve got on the floor.

That brings us to today. There’s me, lazy in bed, feeling sick to my stomach. I’ve been feeling queasy most of the time lately. This is a new feeling for me. My stomach is like a labrador’s usually. I once ate a rainbow cookie I spotted on the top of a public trash can.

But those bygone days are long behind me now. Turns out, I’ve got an ulcer. The big tell was when I spent a good part of my morning spewing blood into the shitter. Between shuddering, choking puke sessions I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror. True Blood is full of lies. I looked like ass.

A few conversations with a doctor later and I’ve got this ulcer. “One of the good ones,” he assures me. Which means I didn’t do this the way my fourth grade teacher predicted -- “Worrying yourself to an ulcer at age 8.” Turns out it's purely bacterial, which is nasty as balls, but I’m down. The only awful thing (you know, aside from the regurgitation of my own inside parts) was learning that until the ulcer healed, I’d be best advised to stay away from coffee.

I cried all the way home. It should have been in relief, or discomfort, or frustration. Instead it was the petulant addict in my head wailing that I was taking away the only thing she had left. “I can’t eat what I want to anymore, I can’t smoke, and now you’re doing THIS to me?” I felt lightheaded. Admittedly that could have been because of the fucking ulcer, but I decided to believe my body had gone into withdrawal from the caffeine already. I frantically texted friends who shot back suggestions (“Cold brew is low-acid.” and “What about caffeine pills?”).

By the time I got home I’d actually managed to convince myself that this was A Real Problem -- with capital letters. I started researching, I joined a couple of forums, I drank so much water that I am pretty sure my ulcer drowned, and came back to life in the ambulance. It wasn’t until I settled down that I started to feel slightly chagrined about my behavior.

So I had to stop drinking coffee, so what? I was able to go SEE a doctor who told how my problem would be fixed. Not everyone can do that. My cat died last week. People get shot everyday. The world is vast and terrible. And I’m bitching...about coffee? So great, yeah, I shamed myself thoroughly and am now drinking iced green tea. It’s terrible and I hate it. I half-wish I was enlightened enough to get past this shit and think of the big picture. The other half of me has just decided that booting up my self-obsession should just be next vice.

You guys ever kick coffee, and did you feel stupid whining about it? Or whinging, I guess, depending what part of the world you are in.