Oh, how I feel your pain. I’m new on here (this is my first post, actually), but I have maybe a unique experience to contract yours. I have celiac’s disease, so giving up foods is part of my life. I don’t cheat. Ever.
Coffee: I started by reducing the amount I was consuming. I had really bad caffeine headaches that I soothed with diet soda or coffee. So first I dialed it back to flavored, light coffee. After a few weeks, I started having green and black teas in the morning. There are actually low caffeine teas just for the purpose of elminating caffeine from your diet. Eventually I was able to let go of it completely. I get up at 5:30AM, and believe me, it can be done. You’ll find once you are off of it, you really don’t need it anymore. Prior to being diagnosed with candida, I drank occasional cups on the weekend, if I was really tired or just wanted to enjoy a cup. But other than that, I stick to a cup of decaf once in a blue moon, and drink water and seltzers only.
re: recovery. This is one of my questions as well, though I have met several people through this experience who’ve recovered significantly. I’ve yet to meet anyone who could say that they no longer had any symptoms. Pretty much, you have to change your diet permanently. I know that is tough to hear, especially when you are in a family or have situations regularly come up where you may have issues. I honestly suggest geting some counseling to work through this. It is a grieving stage, and it’s tough. I went through it with gluten: realizing I would never again eat doughnuts, sourdough bread, pizza…there are no adequate GF substitutes. But I value how I feel and how my body looks more than I value those foods. But it’s taken a while to get there. Going on the candida diet was tough, but really, we shouldn’t be eating all that crap anyway. 🙂 And we know it. But it’s socially very difficult to let go, not to mention our personal attachments to food. Part of what has helped me was joining Paleo/Primal Blueprint forums, where folks eat more or less this way and they have plenty of coping strategies and recipes to make it easier. You’ll still have to be careful about ingredients, but if you search for candida overgrowth on those forums (I use http://www.marksdailyapple.com forum ALL the time), you’ll find many, many sympathetic, determined stories that might make it easier.
This is a little easier on me because I’m used to having to cut out foods, but I remember how hard it was in the beginning. Everyone I’ve talked to said you may be on the diets for months or even years, to correct the damage. I know with Celiac’s, it took me a good 6 months until my intestines healed to almost normal, and another year until I felt really, really good. But I can NEVER cheat, or I have to heal for weeks at a time.
Hang in there. You aren’t alone.