For those who know me well, thinking of me without a daily cup of coffee–or without a coffee cup in my hand–may seem incomprehensible. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my morning coffee and then had a fairly steady stream throughout the day to keep me going. No more.

One of the unforeseen but very welcome byproducts of my working out has been that it took away any need I felt to have my morning joe. Working out regularly gave me a natural energy in the morning and throughout the day that I’ve never had before. I get tired now in the evenings, not at 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon. In the past, my worst time of day was between two and five o’clock. Now, I can hardly believe how the time flies in the afternoon and I’m not fatigued.

A significant reason that led me to give up caffeine was a study I read after experiencing chest pains when I ran the dog in the morning. When I had coffee and ran shortly after, my chest hurt. Sometimes it hurt enough to make me slow down to a rather slow walk. It turns out that caffeine intake can actually reduce the amount of blood reserve you have feeding your heart. The heart therefore has to work harder, and chest pain develops. I’ve not had pain since I stopped drinking coffee.

The ability to overcome an addiction–and I think I was really addicted to caffeine–does not come through your own willpower or your own strength. There is a grace that is involved and you have to ask for that grace to work in your life. Just like Alcoholics Anonymous, which acknowledges a higher power, you cannot rely only on your own strength. That grace will help you change your life for the better. For me, the grace allowed me to stay faithful to my workout regimen, which in turn allowed me to get off the caffeine. Whatever addiction may be plaguing you, there is a grace for it. All you need to do is ask.

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