When I was going to an office full time, my workday always started the same way: up, dressed, swing by the local coffee shop and get a low-fat Mocha. When I stopped working full time recently, I kept up this ritual especially since I was attending college courses two days a week. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve broken that pattern. Although, getting out and about in the morning, I usually managed to stop for my Mocha. Just this last week, what with preparing to leave for the Olympics, my schedule has gone all to hell. Which meant I stopped getting that regular Mocha.

Cue up unbelievable headaches. Headaches that lasted all day, through mega doses of aspirin and greeted me when I woke up. It took me until today to figure it out. I’m coming down off a serious coffee addiction. And the withdrawal symptoms are HELL.

I hied myself to the nearest Internet cafe. That allowed me to do some work and get fortified with a huge jolt of caffeine. Once dosed up with my “Methadone of Choice”, I was able to surf the ‘Net and see if there was any cure for this.

My first stop was NaturalNews.com where I found an article that really scared me. According to the author and the experts she quotes, I might as well be mainlining heroin. I rushed to WebMD which usually has very sane advice. The article was even scarier and confirmed that withdrawal symptoms can mimic a severe case of the flu with intense headaches, fatigue and nausea. Check, check and check. You don’t even want to know what Johns Hopkins Medical Center says about caffeine, especially about “caffeine addiction” and “caffeine intoxication”.

So all the smart money says I should wean myself off this stuff. But where else can you get a high so cheap, so relatively nondestructive and so socially acceptable?

I contemplate it for about 5 minutes. Then I think of all the great writers and creative people — from Boswell, Johnson and Ben Franklin to Jack Kerouac and the Beats — who found coffee and hanging out in coffee houses fueled some of their best writing.

Yeah, I’m with them. Another double Mocha, please.