coffee the double-edged sword

More Rocket Fuel Please: Our Addiction to Stimulants

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I have been experimenting with rocket fuel over the last few weeks. For me that means, putting a second Keurig pod of real coffee in for my 2nd cup of lovely dark coffee. I can smell it here as I write. But, I often overdo my stimulation chemistry and wind up anxious, too type-a driven, interruptive, and brash. I can propel my body and mind to get more things done, but … The cost is often not worth it.

Coffee is My Drug of Choice

I don’t drink much. So coffee has become my drug of choice (I don’t think love counts, and I’ve covered that in a different article Is Love My Drug of Choice?)

In my morning routine, I wake up around 6 am each day. I make a nice cup of coffee in my big steel (non-Yeti) coffee tumbler. I add a little CBD (the non-high variety) for inflammation, pain reduction, and overall stress reduction. And then I add organic whole milk. On some occasions, I will add raw local honey or organic maple syrup. Maybe a touch of cinnamon. And my first sip starts my journey into my own L3M and my creative time.

I try to keep my early mornings free of work-work. I often read first. It gets my large living language model primed up with ideas from another LLM and builds new data sets in my mind. (More on AI and the Brain here.)

Then me and my lovely coffee power into my personal creative sequence. In the first 30 minutes or so, depending on my thirst and desire for “more power captain” I finish my coffee.

Daily Inflection Point – Morning

At this point, I can

  • make another cub of rocket fuel
  • make a cup of decaf coffee
  • eat an apple and drink water (usually carbonated, no sugar or fake sugar)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling with some family issues, as you might have noticed if you read my story regularly. So, I wanted a bit more edge, a bit more momentum, a bit more umpf. And it worked. The results however have been mixed. I’ll summarise the downside to rocket fuel after I cover the other inflection points.

Daily Inflection Point – Afternoon

As I power through the day (with or without the 2nd cup of rocket fuel) I begin reaching a moment when encounter my afternoon dilemma.

  • make a cup of real coffee to get through meetings and work
  • make a cup of decaf (with 2% as much caffeine, but the same ritual and flavor
  • take a nap
  • go for a walk, eat an apple, and find non-augmented energy

The midday options are difficult if I have a packed schedule. And, they are only available if I am working remotely. Wonder why I am a 100% remote advocate? When I don’t have a coffee and I have meetings all afternoon, I can feel the drain of being “so tired.” It is a feeling I actively avoid, mostly using ideas other than stimulants.

Daily Inflection Point – Bedtime

As I’m heading into the 9 – 10:30 timeframe, there are rare moments when I want more stimulants. I can have a soda with caffeine, a cup of decaf, or do without. A cup of real coffee would set me up for an all-nighter. That is a powerful stimulant as well, but we’ll need to cover sleep deprivation later.

My recent work on mindfulness and time/energy management has put me on a path to skip the Colbert/Fallon/Meyers train and turn off all screens around 9 pm. Then I read or draw or play guitar, and my brain responds by becoming tired. If I’m in bed by 10 pm I consider it a gift to my body. More importantly, I know it is a gift to my next day.

Sleep is massively important. (Post to come about my learnings.) So I actively manage my sleep. I make efforts to create a healthy sleep routine and sleep environment. Still, when my brain has recharged I wake up. No need for an alarm.

Daily Inflection Point – late night epiphany

“Holy shit this is amazing and I can’t sleep.”

On occasion, I am tapping a vein and the long dark night can provide uninterrupted creative exploration time. Many of my most transformative work (transformative for me) happened in the wee hours of the morning. A stillness happens when others around us are shut down. The world, in this general area of the planet, is sleeping.

To my night owls, I salute you.

More later on sleep deprivation and mania as a creative force as well. But not today. I’m on to the next creative motion of my morning.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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