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Coffee & Health

Why Do Alcoholics Drink Coffee?

About 2 billion people drink coffee every day. Coffee, a beverage made from the seeds of the Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora plant, contains caffeine, an addictive antioxidant that provides the body with many benefits. It also contains many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that benefit the body.

alcoholics and coffee

Coffee is so popular that many coffee beverages have been created to satisfy the taste buds of coffee lovers.

People drink coffee hot and black, as a cold brew, in dessert drinks such as frappuccinos, or milky beverages such as macchiatos. We drink coffee for health reasons and also for pleasure.

One thing to note is that some people take more coffee than others. For example, statistics have proven that men drink more coffee than women. And others say seniors drink more coffee than those aged 18 – 24.

Other claims may sound mythical, such as the one that says alcoholics take a lot of coffee.

You would think that is false because coffee is a stimulant while alcohol is a depressant, but many people believe it.

One reason for the skepticism surrounding coffee consumption by alcoholics is a general feeling that coffee and alcohol don’t mix. It is evidenced by the fact that most alcoholics only turn to coffee when dealing with a hangover.

So why do people say alcoholics drink coffee? Let’s find out.


Reasons Alcoholics Drink Coffee?

While claims that alcoholics drink coffee seem like a myth to some people, they are true.

Statistics from Alcoholics Anonymous show that almost all members of the organization drink coffee. If you attend an AA meeting, you’ll notice that most people there have a cup of coffee.

Drinking coffee gives recovering alcoholics something to do at social events. It also keeps them from reaching for alcohol by keeping their hands occupied.

Coffee gives alcoholics the confidence to visit friends, go to restaurants, or feel comfortable at home without getting overwhelmed by the urge to reach for a drink.

The effect you get from drinking two or three cups of coffee is not the same as what you get from drinking two or three alcoholic drinks.

While three alcoholic drinks can get you drunk, coffee will only energize you or, at worst, give you caffeine jitters. That explains why alcoholics prefer coffee over other non – alcoholic beverages.

Having coffee during social gatherings keeps people from asking alcoholics why they are not drinking. The stimulatory properties of coffee also keep them from feeling bored.


Do Alcoholics Benefit From Taking Coffee?

The facts we’ve mentioned show you why alcoholics drink coffee. But you, like many other people who see alcoholics drinking lots of coffee, may wonder if it is good for them.

Yes, coffee is good for alcoholics because of ;

  • Its stimulatory properties which reduces their craving for alcohol.
  • Its mood-enhancing properties that help them to overcome feelings of depression they would otherwise deal with by drinking alcohol.
  • Its ability to increase mental alertness, which helps them to concentrate on daily tasks as they deal with the side effects of stopping alcohol.
  • Its energizing properties that help them overcome fatigue, which is a common side effect of quitting alcohol.

Some medical experts also say that coffee reduces the risk of suffering liver ailments, cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases, which alcoholics are susceptible to.

Coffee also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent the development of chronic ailments. So, taking coffee is much better for alcoholics than alcohol which is known to cause premature aging.


Side Effects of Coffee Suffered By Alcoholics 

Although alcoholics benefit from taking coffee in all the ways we’ve mentioned, it exposes them to some side effects.

The caffeine content in coffee can increase their anxiety, which may make them reach for alcohol for some Dutch courage. It is especially worse if they are trying to avoid alcohol.

Coffee can also make them aggressive due to its stimulatory properties. Some experts also say it can make the first days of alcoholic recovery difficult by exacerbating withdrawal symptoms.

Alcoholics who suffer from heart ailments such as heart arrhythmia may worsen their condition by taking coffee. The same applies to people suffering from high blood pressure due to excessive alcohol intake.

Anyone who suffers insomnia due to alcoholism may have a more difficult time sleeping if they take coffee. It will keep them awake at night, tempting them to reach for alcohol.


How Can Alcoholics Avoid Suffering Coffee Addiction?

Most of the negative effects of taking coffee are due to caffeine addiction. Some of the effects of coffee addiction on alcoholics are;

  • Unexplained anxiety exhibited by frequent heart palpitations
  • Difficulty concentrating due to caffeine jitters
  • Fatigue caused by excessive intake of caffeine that disturbs the circadian rhythm.
  • Pounding headaches caused by dehydration due to coffee’s diuretic and stimulating effects
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers and IBS due to coffee’s acidic action on the digestive system.

The only way alcoholics can avoid coffee addiction is by drinking it in moderation.

It may help to note that caffeine has a 4 – 6 hour half-life. That means, the best time to stop taking coffee is noon. It will give your body enough time to metabolize any caffeine in your system, ensuring you have a good night’s sleep.

Otherwise, insomnia can only exacerbate the withdrawal symptoms you feel after quitting alcohol, such as irritability, poor concentration, and depression. It may also make it difficult to regulate your emotions, increasing the need for alcohol.

Alcoholics can also reduce side effects of taking coffee by;

  • Taking lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Including other therapeutic options in their regimen, such as meditating to calm the mind and ease the effects of alcohol addiction
  • Eating a healthy diet to strengthen themselves instead of depending on coffee for energy.
  • Finding other ways to experience good feelings or overcome depression, such as exercising, listening to music, or reading.
  • Taking coffee brewed using dark roast coffee beans, which contain less caffeine than light – to – medium roasts to control their caffeine intake.



Now you know why alcoholics drink coffee. If you are an alcoholic who enjoys drinking coffee, you can see it provides your body with many benefits.

But we’ve also cautioned you on coffee’s addictive properties, which in some ways can be just as bad as those of alcohol.

If you use the tips we’ve given you on how to deal with the negative effects of caffeine, you will manage your alcohol addiction successfully using coffee.

It will also help to be aware of your caffeine sensitivity. Some people do well on coffee after midday, while others suffer insomnia after taking just one cup of coffee.

Find out what works for you and stick to it to avoid slipping back into alcohol addiction or suffering caffeine dependency.


Related Article:

Coffee and Alcohol: Does it Sober You Up?