Oscar Wilde once famously wrote, “I can resist everything but temptation.” As a person of faith, this especially rings true. Sure, I wake up each morning and say to myself, “Today I will make all the right choices.” Easier said than done.
I’m born and raised Roman Catholic. I have always adhered rigorously to the tenants of my religion since I was little. As a young boy, I experienced first hand the divide of moral versus immoral when I saw a classmate steal from the backpack of another student. I told the teacher what had happened. She took care of it. I figured life’s ethical dilemmas would always be so black and white.
As I grew up, I realized, like we all do, that the world exists in murky shades of grey. My faith instilled in me, though, that as long as I live up to the ethical standards my religion and I set for myself, I could enjoy a satisfied life. And hey, Jesus is always there if I need to clear my conscience and ask for forgiveness.
I’ve found it’s (usually) easy to resist the temptations of really bad stuff. You know, the biggies: adultery, greed, laziness, envy, pride, hatred. And here’s what I am reluctant to admit: I’m a bit of a glutton.
Many fellow Roman Catholics don’t imbibe alcohol. I’ve never really had an issue with that one (at least, beyond a few instances in college). Many of us fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It’s two days a year; it’s no big deal. And many of us refrain from eating meat on Fridays. I just save the BBQ chicken (my favorite) for Saturdays.
My Temptation is….
There’s one thing, though, that I’ve struggled to give up. For years.
It’s the most popular drug in the entire world.
Your friend and mine: caffeine.
It’s not just the way it keeps me alert and, well, happy. It’s coffee’s aromatic, nutty, nostalgic warmth. The bubbly sound the coffee maker emits, releasing with it a promise of hope and newness as I wipe the sleep from my eyes. I recently purchased a very good coffee maker after reading lots of reviews first.
Quitting caffeine is not required by my faith, but I’ve come to require it for myself. Addiction in any form is wrong, at least in my own life. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve created new habits for myself so my temptation to drink caffeinated beverages has waned significantly over the past six months.
At Starbucks, I order a passion tea lemonade. Herbal teas are great because they are usually caffeine-free and are delicious served either hot or over ice. I’ve also invested in a good, sturdy water bottle which is by my side at all times. If I was a cowboy, it’d be the gun in my holster. As a result, I’ve found my sleeping patterns become increasingly steady and my mood more even-tempered.
As with all things, moderation is key. Moderating my gluttony for caffeine hasn’t been easy. But the ability to sleep through the night, and to know God is proud of my steadfastness, is reward enough for me.