Well, I started drinking sugary crap young- I would slip away from the campus of my middle school in 7th and 8th grade with a friend, walk to a starbucks, and buy a caramel macchiato. I stopped drinking it during HS when she went to another school though. So it had been a social + sugar vehicle.
During my undergrad, I started drinking it as a survival mechanism. Insomnia, working, and a heavy course load meant I used it as a study tool. And I didn't want energy drinks, they've always freaked me out. I started with the sugary crap again (we have this amazing sugar bomb stuff here called "Dutch Bros" that is just... well, sinful, and possibly causing diabetes at a state level). Eventually, the sugary crap got way to expensive, so I switched to crappy drip (Yuban or Folgers, whatever was on sale). I loaded it with milk and sugar to avoid the taste. Eventually, I came to love the smell. Then a boyfriend introduced me to real coffee. I drank it with no sugar, and less and less milk. Still would only have 1 cup a day and skip some days. Then I went to nursing school, and ended up WICKED addicted. Like, full pot a day on my own level, would get a headache without at least 2 cups.
I've reduced down since then. I drink the good stuff, 1-2 cups a day, and savor the hell out of it with just a little splash of cream. At this point, it's more about the ritual and taste and comfort than the caffeine. I *can* do without now. But I don't want to. I give up alcohol regularly, but I have no intention of giving up coffee.