Rather than sitting in the provided teacher’s chair, I was standing in front of a hip-high table, teaching a math lesson to my students. The overhead projector shot the equation onto the front board, making it easier for every student to see what I was doing. As I took a step back, allowing them time to work the problem, a slight headache began to form. I reached up and gently rubbed both temples before bending over the table once again, writing numbers and symbols as students called out the steps to solving the displayed math expression. I could feel the headache gaining strength as I continued working with the kids; yet, I masked my pain. Unfortunately, as the school day progressed, so did my aching head, regardless of trying to tame it with a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds.

At home, Rudy’s homemade chili enticed me as it bubbled in a pot on the stove. I figured my aching head was simply calling out for some substantial nourishment. Wrong. The aching continued to antagonize me. Advil also failed to rescue me, I noted, as I buried myself under a heavy pile of blankets.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. I was experiencing coffee detox.

For the past several months I had been indulging in six cream-and-raw sugar-filled cups a day of hot coffee, without the side effects of wide-eyed wakefulness. I knew I was overindulging, not caring about the consequences of the caffeine’s non-health benefits; I was addicted. I was enjoying two cups here, two cups there, two cups everywhere. Daily. Two plus two plus two equals six. Six cups of coffee on a typical day.

The night before I had felt sluggish, tired, and wasn’t sure why. But, when I awoke the following morning I decided to curb the overindulgence of sweets, and to completely rid coffee from my routine, figuring they were the culprits of my afternoon fatigue.

Caffeine withdrawals hadn’t been considered. The consequences foreign to my radar. It wasn’t until that moment, when I was curled under the covers, hidden in the darkened room, experiencing a kind of detox first hand, that I understood coffee will get the best of you if you take it too far.

I spent the entire evening and early, early morning hours in bed, holding my head, caressing my temples, dealing with an excruciating headache; until, finally, it simply disappeared.

I returned to the classroom, to continue with more math equations to stimulate the students’ sponge-like minds. With a clear, headache-free head.