this is what rehab looks like


No, this is not a cup of coffee. It’s a cup of Hot Chocolate – the addiction which has replaced my coffee habit.

As some of you may remember, I gave up caffeine about three months ago (wow- it seems much longer than that…). I didn’t go through headaches or withdrawals, but I sure do miss the habit. I miss walking to work on chilly mornings with a warm cup in my hand. I miss having something hot to sip when I am thinking hard or feeling dreamy. I miss the taste, the scent, the hipness, the comfort it gave me in uncomfortable social situations because as we all know – there is nothing more acceptable nor mysterious as a slightly withdrawn sort of person drinking coffee in the corner of the room.

I loved coffee, and now it’s over.  Gone.

I walked about in life with a hole in my heart and empty hands. Chilled by every breeze, not able to concentrate when I needed to be creative and my politically correct mysterious attitude was replaced by blatant social awkwardness.

I don’t think rehab has done me much good because that gaping chasm in my life has been filled with torrents of steamy milk chocolate. I thought surely I was going to become a decent tea-sipping gal, but then I was introduced to Hot Chocolate.

It’s not that I never had it before, but I could easily *not* drink it. I’m not sure I would have even said I ‘liked’ it. But now, boy howdy, I like it.  I seek it out, I drink it, I scrutinize different brands and feel that a little of my mystique has been returned to me. I’ve always thought of coffee drinkers as being hard-core, where chocolate drinkers always seemed… fluffy. I feel like I’m bringing a little hard-core to the hot chocolate scene, in my own way, and try not to purr when I drink it. We’ve both benefited from the transfer in addictions.

**BUT** chocolate has caffeine in it!! Yes, good point, it does, but not enough to count. So there, I’m safe.

Anyway, in case you were wondering how the whole “No Coffee” thing was going… that’s how it goes!

they all wonder

Let’s talk about why I like coffee so much.

Today I snuck into a high-brow cafe at lunch time in my “just doing laundry” outfit, simply to sit in the far back corner and drink their strong, smokey coffee. I hid my mess of hair in a too-big, too-ugly, god-awful-acrylic knit hat (which I *did not* make) and kept my jacket zipped tight against my chest so no one would see my worn out t-shirt . The waitress, slim and dressed entirely in black, brought me a warm porcelain mug with its miniature pitcher of cream. Perfect. I inhaled and paused everything in order to fully appreciate the moment.

I associate coffee with the best moments I ever had with my father, when I was young enough to still think the staunch and steaming stuff was something only an adult could ever love. My dad would take a bitterly dark cup of coffee and sweeten it, cool it with ounces of cream, then remove the crusts from slices of cheap, white Wonder Bread, which he would then squeeze  into tight rolls, dip into the coffee and feed to my brother and I. This was adult food- just like dark chocolate, mushrooms and red wine- transformed into something a child could adore; warm, milky and sugary as syrup. We loved it. I remember my coffee-colored father with his coffee-scented breath in the morning after he’d smoked his first cigarette, how his night-grown whiskers prickled against my cheek when he kissed me, murmuring endearments in his native Spanish. It didn’t happen very often, or for very long, but to this day I can’t sip a cup of coffee without feeling very young and very loved.

That’s why I like it.