Addiction

Hayley, Second Year Medical StudentI have a strong family history of caffeine dependence and abuse. On my dad’s side, my grandmother, great aunt, and aunt are all addicted to the substance. My mom and sister are both heavy users – Starbucks gold card members who can ramble off to a barista seventeen-word-descriptors of drinks. My sister has been known to drink 5 cups of coffee a day for weeks on end.

And then there’s me. How have I withstood my genetics and the familial peer pressure for 24 years? It is difficult to say. Honestly, I have just never found coffee very appealing. It tastes bad, is inanely expensive and I’d much rather eat a donut if I’m hungry. Also I have seen the effects of withdrawal and I hope to never have to suffer that type of pain.

At first everyone told me “When you go to college, you’ll get addicted to coffee. You can’t survive college without coffee.” Well, I did. It actually wasn’t that hard.

So then everyone started saying, “Medical school is so tough. You will start drinking coffee when you get to medical school. You’ll have to in order to survive the crazy hours.” Well, I am only halfway through my 2nd year, but the need for caffeine wasn’t actually wasn’t what drove me to coffee this past weekend.

Actually, it was a combination of factors, compounded by the fact that I am a cheap medical student who needs to study all the time.

Let me tell you how it happened: The initiator was my friend Kindra. She studies at Starbucks even though she doesn’t drink coffee (she’s a chai-er) and she invited me to come study with her there on Thursday afternoon. I acquiesced and met her there (which is not actually an unusual occurrence).

The unusual bit was that I had actually been given a $30 gift card to Starbucks by a friend. Hence, everything there seems “free” to me at the moment (normally my mind does not even think about the specialty drinks because they are so far out of my league).

The wild card was that, unbeknownst to me, Starbucks was having its 2-for-1 Christmas drink special. I am a sucker for free things. So, feeling like something of a pig, I went up and ordered my two tall peppermint mochas and drank them both (since Kindra doesn’t drink coffee).

The strange thing was, I really liked them. Even though there was coffee in them!

The next day, somehow I found myself back at Starbucks in the afternoon and got another two drinks.

And then, on Sunday after church, there I was… at Starbucks, drinking a coffee.

I am hoping this will be a short, quick fling and I will go back to drinking only tea – I don’t want to suffer the emotional roller coaster of addiction, withdrawal, and rehab that I have witnessed in family members. But until then, as I sit here with my coffee in hand, I am blaming Kindra… and my stupid genetics.

I also enjoy the myriad of ways Starbucks workers find to spell my name.

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About Hayley

I am Hayley, a second year medical student at Loma Linda University. I grew up outside of Seattle, in the small cow-dominated town of Carnation which is famous primarily for its breakfast products. I graduated from Wheaton College in 2010 with a degree in biology. When I am not studying (which is not very often) I enjoy running in the dark, eating sushi, doodling on my notes, and climbing to the tops of mountains. Some of the things and people I love include trees, rain, my family, my boyfriend Brian, green tea, grapes, and my friends in the class of 2014. Through this blog, I hope to provide you with a bit of insight on my life as a 2nd year med student; what I am learning, seeing, and realizing as I travel through this year of school.

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