Dear EFT Community,
In EFT workshops, we train you to look for "the upside of the downside." What hidden benefits are tying you to your addiction? That's the approach EFT Master Carol Look takes here in addressing the secondary gain in a caffeine addiction.
- Dawson Church
By Dr. Carol Look
"Claudia" contacted me for help with her caffeine addiction. She had a hectic job as a teacher, and often used caffeine as both a stimulant for her mood and body as well as a relaxing agent. Initially, she reported that her biggest concern about giving up coffee was suffering withdrawal symptoms.
She had tried getting off caffeine before, and struggled with terrible headaches, lethargy and abnormal levels of fatigue. She also struggled with terrible insomnia. Any form of substance dependence is usually driven by underlying feelings. I knew we had to uncover the "driving" emotions and reasons for Claudia's dependence on caffeine for her to be successful at giving up her "drug of choice."
I asked Claudia "What is the UPSIDE of quitting caffeine?" She said she would (1) save money, (2) feel better, (3) exercise more often, (4) improve blood sugar levels, and; (5) feel calmer in general. While these "UPSIDES" are logical, they often pale in comparison to the "DOWNSIDE." So I asked her the more revealing question, "What would be the DOWNSIDE of quitting?" Her list was just as long and came just as easily to her: (1) I would miss the social aspect of drinking coffee with friends and colleagues, (2) I won't be able to relax without it, (3) I'll suffer withdrawal symptoms, (4) I'll feel deprived without my daily fix, and; (5) I won't feel inspired to write without drinking caffeine.
Claudia was familiar with EFT so without much explanation, we started tapping for her fears first:
"Even though I'm afraid I'll feel deprived without it, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I can't afford to feel deprived, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I can't imagine being without caffeine, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I'm afraid of the withdrawal symptoms, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Claudia noted she felt calmer about the thought of giving up caffeine, and was ready for more tapping. She had started the morning with a headache since she didn't have her usual morning coffee, so we tapped for her symptoms:
"Even though I'm already having a headache, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I still have a little remaining headache, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Claudia started feeling confident that she could give up caffeine without a struggle. She said she didn't feel so "foggy" in her head anymore and enjoyed the clarity and calm she felt within her. Her headache began to subside which relieved her tremendously as no other "technique" had helped her in the past.
As we continued to tap, the social aspect around drinking coffee emerged.
"Even though I'm afraid I'll feel lonely, I deeply and completely..."
"Even though they might not accept me anymore, I deeply and..."
"Even though I want to be part of the group, I deeply and completely..."
I instructed Claudia to tap for her cravings and emotions twice a day. Three weeks later she checked in: "I really don't have the desire for caffeine anymore... even have some coffee in my freezer and I don't have any desire for it. It is so liberating not to have to have that "fix" every day! I've been using the tapping for emotions too... started feeling dizzy when I was stressed out the other day and I stopped and tapped for it. The tapping has also helped me with my insomnia problems."
Three weeks later, I checked in with Claudia again, who wrote:
"Ironically, the day you sent your email was the first day in six weeks that I had had caffeine. I won't go into my excuses for my slip, but instead of going off the deep end and back into the caffeine habit, (which she had done in the past) I just tapped about (1) feeling worried that I wouldn't be able to keep off of it, (2) feeling worried about getting a headache the next day, and (3) feeling frustrated with myself that I did have caffeine in the first place. I tapped again in the morning and just went right back to my regular (non-caffeinated) routine and have been fine since!
"I think my most recent experience with tapping is more proof of how powerful the method is. I'm still trying to tap twice a day for whatever emotional things are coming up and have found the technique to be especially powerful for bringing me to the present moment and in touch with what is really going on for me inside. Getting to the emotional part was the key. Thank you again for teaching me this incredible tool."
As long as Claudia continues to tap for her emotions, she is unlikely to return to using caffeine as a stimulant, a relaxant (smokers often use cigarettes for both the calming and stimulating effect as well), a social comforter, or for inspiration.
Whether you feel addicted to caffeine, sugar, cigarettes or alcohol, the key to success is relieving the underlying fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, loneliness and emotional pain. EFT is the perfect tool to address every angle of an "addiction" or unwanted habit since it can target and treat immediate cravings, withdrawal symptoms, the underlying driving feelings, and potential relapse situations.
When I forwarded this article for Claudia's approval, she remarked how happy she was that finally other people will now have access to a tool for quitting the caffeine habit successfully. She had more than once searched in vain for a technique or tool that would help her and came up empty every time. EFT was her last hope.