is your relationship toxic?

Is it Really About the Caffeine? My Unhealthy Relationship with Starbucks

I want to talk for a moment about a toxic relationship I was in. For a few years now, I’ve been in a relationship with Starbucks. Seduced by its hot morning sandwiches, peppermint mochas, and chai lattes. A morning boost, or an afternoon pick me up, I knew I could count on SB to not let me down. You know what else? It was always there for me! Rain or shine, it was just a hop, skip and a jump from my work place. (Quite literally, as it sat right across the street from the school I worked at.) With enticing new flavors, and seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice latte, SB knew how to keep things interesting. And with the mobile app and rewards program, it seemed like nothing could go wrong. When SB and I had our rendezvous, it always made me feel good.

But then there was. You see, there’s the love/hate part of the relationship.

SB loves to take my money and I basically hate it.

SB aims to fill me with sweet and comforting liquid love, my body hates it.

And If I’m being truly honest with myself, I don’t really like the taste of real coffee all that much!

I’ve given every excuse in the book to keep up this relationship:

Studies show coffee is good for me.

I’m earning free rewards!

I’ll just get a tall instead of a grande today.

It’s my birthday. I can get ANYTHING I want. Extra shots, here I come!

But the strangest thing happened when I didn’t work so close to SB anymore. Coffee funds now limited, I had to carefully select my dates with SB and as my gift cards sinked down to nil, I knew that I had to break off this relationship sooner or later. I began to look at SB from a distance and realized how blinded I had been by the love part of our relationship that I turned a blind eye to the completely damaging parts of our relationship. All SB really wanted from me was attention and my money. And all I got in return was not love, but a dependence on milk and massive amounts of sugar. There was hardly any coffee (or caffeine for that matter) in the drinks I would order.

And really, SB wouldn’t really care if I left.

I realized there are a lot of things in life that hide behind carefully crafted sweetness and hip exteriors. As humans, we often get caught up in the craze of the newest, the latest, the greatest, most rewarding – and rewarded – experiences. We forget to take a moment to pause and look into whether or not this is truly GOOD for us.

Now I’m not downing SB for those of you who are wondering. In fact, I’ve reconciled our relationship and although I’m not buying coffee or drinks on the daily, weekly, or even monthly anymore, I sit here enjoying the atmosphere: The large tables on which to focus in on bible study or on getting my writing done. The coffee shop music pumping through the speakers to sustain me on the days I forget my earbuds. The endless opportunities to people watch. SB doesn’t mind that I walked in with my own home-brewed coffee. SB doesn’t mind that I have not yet given into temptation of the snack foods baiting me from the baskets below the registers. SB doesn’t mind that I ignore the hundreds of emails pushed through their automated system begging me to purchase a coffee today so I can get a free one tomorrow. No. We’re cool.

Friends, there are thing in this world that will tempt you. There are people in this world that will seduce you. Manipulation for selfish gain is all around us and we must armor ourselves up with the truth. Sometimes there is a wolf under the sheep’s clothing. Sometimes it’s the devil himself. Living in a world with masks and half truths, it takes a lot to uncover who someone really is. Heck, it’s hard enough to uncover who I really am.

Sometimes it takes stepping out of a situation. Sometimes it takes looking at it from a distance. Sometimes it takes asking the advice of a trustworthy friend. And most of the times, it takes being honest with ourselves and to stop making excuses. Ask yourself, Is this really GOOD for me?

Seek the wise counselor living inside of you, guiding your every steps. I like to call Him my Spiritual GPS. God, is this good for me? Is this good for US?

And as I sit here, writing this to you, my SB app reminds me that today is the day. Double points. I glance over at my shiny gold carafe standing tall next to my open bible and notes. I quietly thank God for His strength, smile and say, No thank you, Starbucks. I’ve already have my cup this morning – and it was good.



Side note: Not endorsed by nor endorsing Starbucks. =) It’s just my local coffee shop and I’d probably have the same relationship if a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf were to move in.  Lol.

  1. YES. The atmosphere plus fat/sugar/caffeine makes coffee shops nearly irresistible, but moderation is even better than a midnight mint mocha frappuccino. (Almost.)

  2. Jennifer, you had me laughing with this one but you know what? You’re so right. I’m beginning to get this sinking feeling about my relationship with social media — soooo enticing and so many ways to justify it. But how much is too much?
    Great points here, friend!

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