I like coffee.
I drink lots of it. Potfulls. Mass quantities.
These days the perfect cup is a nice mild blend with a little half and half and a teaspoon of raw sugar. Or, if I’m feeling especially healthy, perhaps a bit of Stevia instead of the sugar.
I like the smell. The taste is wonderful. And with my goofy work schedule the caffeine kick is an extra bonus.
I’m on day two of coffee withdrawal.
You see our secretary smokes.
I don’t know exactly how much, but I’m guessing somewhere around a pack a day. Whenever I’ve asked her how much she smokes she usually says, “it’s not that much,” which really doesn’t narrow it down very well.
We’ve been going back and forth hassling each other about our addictions in a very civilized, kid your coworker sort of way for a few months now. She’s a master of diverting the topic of discussion, asking questions aimed at steering the conversation in another direction.
But I wasn’t falling for it.
Friday I finally got her to say out loud that there is no positive health consequences that result from smoking. She also acknowledged a bunch of other things about her smoking.
For example, she admitted that she believed she could quit if she really wanted to. And that the reason she didn’t was mostly because she thought it would be hard.
Oh, there were a lot of other excuses and juicy rationalizations thrown in there too. My favorite was her claim that smoking a cigarette was no less healthy for you than eating a hamburger. Did I mention she’s a vegetarian?
I don’t know if the hamburger thing is true or not. Who knows? It might be.
But just the same I don’t know too many folks who eat 20+ hamburgers a day. Every day.
I’m just saying.
Anyway I got her to the point of acknowledging no real health benefits from smoking on Friday.
That was the point she turned desperate (and tried her usual diversion tactic).
“I’ll quit smoking when you give up coffee!”
“OK. Pick the day.”
I didn’t miss a beat.
Her eyes got really wide.
She didn’t expect that.
She stammered. “Ahhhhh…”
I said, “How about Monday?”
So the deal is this. From the time we woke up Monday I won’t drink any coffee and she won’t smoke. Until one of us caves.
The one who looses, well, is a looser. No consequences other than being subjected to unlimited bragging rights by the winner.
But that may be just enough.
She seems serious. And I figure that at 21, it’s a good time for her to quit.
The Success Principle
Successful people master their addictions. They face them head on without any rationalizations or excuses.
Many of us have them. My poison is coffee. Hers is smoking. Others are into drugs. Or porn. Or excessive spending. Or are workahaulics.
Are you a compulsive blogger, perhaps? Eat way more than you should?
I’m not here to set some arbitrary standard or judge your behavior.
I’m simply holding up a mirror for a reality check.
Even good things taken to excess can be detrimental in the long run.
Take the workahaulic for example. Someone with an extreme hard work ethic may very well seem quite successful. Maybe their business is flourishing, growing rapidly, and bringing in lots of money.
But if that piece of success comes at a cost of field of relationships devastated by neglect and borderline abuse all around them, how successful is that really?
When the subject comes up, I often get the you don’t know how hard it is speech from the person I’m talking with.
Um. Yes I do.
I was basically a drunk for many years. I stopped over a decade ago. I know it’s hard. I also know it can be done.
But there was no way I was going to have a successful life unless that addiction was conquered.
Success takes discipline. Addictions are at the core a lack of self control. We will never be successful until we have the self control and achieve discipline to see our addictions conquered.
Being out of control can be very thrilling. I’ve been out of control in airplanes. It was part of our flight training. And it’s a total rush!
But. We had to regain control of that aircraft. If we didn’t, we were certain to crash and burn. Not likely. Certain.
Even an addiction as benign as a drinking coffee addiction has long term negative consequences associated with it. I don’t want to see them first hand. Nor do I want a 21 year old lady who works in my office to face the consequences of her addiction.
And that’s why I’m living through this crushing headache today.