Lent Update

It’s Friday! Do you know what that means?

Pictures of cute puppies!

I just made that rule up, but you know what? I think I should keep that as a rule for my Friday posts. It has been decided.

So, I have about a weekish left until Lent is over and I can drink coffee/caffeine again!

I figured I’d tell you guys how it went since I do it as a way to learn more about myself and as my role as a counselor.

So, I was kicking ass. I had hot tea in Seattle when I got the, “I’m cold, need warmth!” itch. I had a hot chocolate not realizing the whole chocolate = caffeine thing. Once it was pointed out to me I got really belligerent with Jesse, using my hate-rage face and complaining about him being a party pooper. So, I had another hot chocolate in spite about two days later and then I pulled myself together. I did a very good job at using denial on that one.

Then, I was back on the wagon. I was really committed. Still no coffee! Victory!

I coasted, but I suffered. I really thought I would stop drinking coffee and get over it in like 2 weeks, tops. I was catching myself salivating when I saw people with Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups. I would get borderline grumpy/envious that they could have coffee and I couldn’t.

Then, I went to Harry Potter World. I woke up extra early on those days to make it to the park and on the rides before everyone else. I could smell everyone’s coffee. There was free coffee at my aunt’s hotel! I did not cave. I stayed strong. I was impervious to these temptations.

But wait, what’s in that cup everyone is drinking? It looks so cold. So inviting. I can hear the bubbles hissing in the cup.

CHERRY COKE!

It was so hot. I was so thirsty. My water was all lukewarm from said heat. I took a sip. I took two sips. We went and ate pizza and I thought to myself, “Well, you already had two sips, might as well order your own.”

So then I got my own cherry coke and the guilt and sugar was too much for me. I only drank half of it. Victory?

I’ve kept my nose clean since then. I’ve got 9 days left. It’s no big deal anymore. I’ve already planned my coffee drinking experience. It’s going to be so rad.

What I Learned

I am no greater than the people whom I counsel for their addictions. I spent a lot of time justifying my slips during Lent. I would say to myself, “Well, I don’t have a problem with coffee/caffeine, so it’s OK to slip here. I deserve it.” I seriously should get an Oscar for my rationalization skills. I also should remember this the next time a client tells me why it might be safe for them to drink or use in the future.

I also realize I still haven’t had coffee. I did fulfill what I set out to do. Caffeine was just an afterthought. The first lesson I learned is that caffeine is sneaky and it hides everywhere. The second lesson I learned is that I should have my heart in what I’m giving up. I really wanted to give up coffee, I didn’t really want to give up caffeine. Third, I realized how my clients must think about things when they say things like, “Well, I’m not going to do pills anymore, but I’ll drink because that’s not a problem for me.”

I did the same thing with caffeine! I justified coffee as the problem. I always want coffee. In both cases where I slipped, I honestly would have rather had a coffee. So, I substituted with a lesser evil. I still filled up that need. The only difference is I’m not an addict. I had half a cherry coke and I stopped. Most of our clients have a bunch of beer in the place of pills because they still want to fill the void with something. They’re not solving the underlying issue for their addiction.

So, that’s that. I learned a lot and I certainly humbled myself. I’m super glad I decided to undertake this little mission to test myself and learn a bit more about where I am in my own head and my life. I still cannot wait till I can have an iced coffee. It’s going to be the best day.

 



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Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Addiction, Body, Funny Stories, Individual, Mind
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.

  • Kristen Eckhardt

    Darn it, Jen. I was seriously entertaining putting up cute animal pictures every Friday on my blog and you beat me to it. I’ll just keep writing “counseling-related” posts about my pets instead. Loved your insights on giving up coffee and will keep these in mind–hope your iced coffee is the best thing ever when you finally do get to have it!!

    • http://www.thepursuitofsassiness.com/ Jennifer Bingaman

      As, well I don’t have a corner on the Friday animal pictures blog post market! You can join me. I’m glad my insights were helpful. I gave up meat in my Addictions class and now I’m a vegetarian! Maybe one day I’ll stop drinking coffee… Haha. Yeah, no I won’t. Happy Friday!

  • http://www.my-lovely-life.com/ Becca

    I could not stop laughing when I saw the coffee picture :) That would be me slumped over in the chair if I could not have my coffee!

    • http://www.thepursuitofsassiness.com/ Jennifer Bingaman

      That was me the first week. I seriously felt like a limb was missing!

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