I'm having a nice strong cup of English Breakfast tea as I write, in fact.
I was crushed by tiredness in those early days. I didn't wean myself down, but jumped right from almost dozen servings to one overnight. Crushed. There is no better way to describe it. I was crushed with tiredness. I was ready for bed at 6pm. I never realized how much caffeine was holding me up, how essential it was to mask my tiredness.
Because that's the thing: Caffeine doesn't make me less tired. It just makes me feel that tiredness less acutely. The tiredness isn't eliminated though. Beneath the facade of caffeine it just keeps building and building and building. By deciding to crack through that facade I unleashed quite a bit of tiredness.
[Sidebar: Cigarette smokers tend to experience half the kick of caffeine versus non-smokers and so need more to feel the same effect. The opposite is true for women taking oral birth control who experience twice the pep.]
In the beginning I had to be diligent to keep it to one dose of caffeine a day. In addition to dodging unexpected bullets it also meant if I wanted a soda in the afternoon or a White Russian after dinner I had to have a cup of decaf in the morning. It took some strategy and planning until it became the new habit. I also had to dial in which herbal teas I thought were equally satisfying. Tip: I love herbal teas that contain chicory. It gives it a darker, roastier color and flavor that is more akin to "the real deal."
I think I sleep a bit better now, but just a little.