Why Do Recovered(ing) Addicts Like Coffee So Much?

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smoking coffeeCoffee and addicts. Addicts and coffee. Starbucks, Dunkin, local, organic, cuban, konaberry, whatever—COFFEE. If you have ever thought drinking coffee was a recovered(ing) addict thing, you were right. For the majority of recovered addicts, coffee has it’s own section on their food pyramid. But why? Why do recovered addicts like coffee so much? (Do you have any thoughts on this? Share them!)And why has this always seemed to be the case? From movies, to TV, to real life 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years ago–coffee has been a staple part of the addict alcoholic’s diet. 

So what’s the story behind addicts and coffee? Well this is what I have found out so far–and it is a study on coffee and cigarettes:

Of the more than 1 million Americans who join Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), almost all drink coffee and close to 60 percent smoke, Vanderbilt University researchers report. Okay, and now some of them are probably vaping as well. But yeah that’s a lot of people smoking but that is even more drinking coffee. 

Most recovering alcoholics and addicts drink coffee for its stimulatory effects, and smoking reduces feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability, the researchers noted. About 90 percent drink coffee, but only about 60 percent smoke cigarettes.

The other important finding is that 1/3 of the recovering alcoholics drank more than 4 cups of a coffee a day. The study included 289 member of Alcoholics Anonymous in Nashville, TN. Dr. Peter Martin who is a Vanderbilt professor of psychiatry and pharmacology said, “This study leads us to believe that there may be something in coffee that may facilitate the abstinence of alcohol.”

Coffee could facilitate staying clean? Seriously? I’d like to see further studies on that for sure!

But if that’s the case that isn’t why they are knowingly drinking coffee, for now anyways. Most of the recovering alcoholics reported drinking coffee for the stimulant effect and better concentration.

While this is interesting it is not really answering my question. For instance why coffee? Why not tea? Nothing was really giving me any answers. So I don’t really have any more than what I have already told you above. Sorry…

And then I came across this little piece of factual information which I thought was out of context but also related to this coffee conversation we are having. 

Drinking as little as one cup of coffee a day could help protect you from liver disease caused by alcohol, according to research. People who drink one cup of coffee are 20% less likely to have alcoholic cirrhosis than those who abstain from doing so. And the protective effect increases with the more coffee you drink: People who drink two or three cups a day are 40% less likely to contract cirrhosis, while those who drink four or more cups are 80% less likely to suffer the disease.

Coincidence? Probably. But that sure is helpful for every alcoholic who comes into recovery with a damaged liver of any kind. That goes for addicts too. Not like there is any difference but you get my point. Coffee helps the liver! And we put our poor livers through A LOT while we are using and getting drunk. So while that may or may not have anything to do with why we drink it, it does back up and give you more excuse to continue on drinking it. 

Whatever the reason is for us drinking so much of the stuff is beyond me. I know why I like it, you know why you like it. And maybe it is nothing more than all of us being one giant group of people who like coffee and also happen to be recovered(ing) addicts and alcoholics? Maybe it is because its part of socializing, hanging out, much like the bar used to be? I don’t know. I know I like it cause it tastes like comfort to me, and it wakes me up in the morning.

So why do you drink coffee?