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Coffee and Caffeine in Recovery

Coffee and early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction seem to go hand in hand. Indeed, almost every gathering for a 12 step fellowship meeting includes the presence of coffee. If there is not a cup of coffee in hand, there is a caffeinated energy drink. Acting as a natural stimulant, coffee helps recovering addicts and alcoholics cope with the absence of other powerful stimuli. For some, however, coffee can be equally as triggering. Those who have abused stimulants in their past are at risk for becoming overly dependent on caffeine, experiencing euphoric recall.

While coffee has many positive benefits, such as being one of the most potent natural antioxidants, it can create adverse effects as well.

Adverse Effects of Coffee



Causes exhaustion

Fatigue, Adrenal Fatigue

Heart palpitations


Interfere with mood

Withdrawal Symptoms


Hormone Imbalance

Generally, for recovery, coffee is not frowned upon. However, many residential inpatient treatment facilities will prohibit energy drinks and may even only offer decaf coffee- with or without the availability of sugar. During the first 30 days of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, the brain is at it’s most vulnerable for experiencing cravings and withdrawal. Caffeine can exacerbate this process. Additionally, being reliant upon coffee can prolong the process of being dependent upon external substances for mood, focus, and coping.

Coming Off Coffee

Regular coffee drinkers who are in “need” of that first cup (and afternoon cup) will require a tapering off process to eliminate coffee from their diet. Attempting to remove coffee and quit “cold turkey” can result in symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms from coffee can include: headache, anxiety, cravings for coffee, erratic emotions, confused appetite. Begin by limiting the amount of coffee consumed each day. Gradually, replace coffee with herbal teas like green or black tea. If the goal is to remove the caffeine entirely, switch to non-caffeinated teas or hot water with lemon and honey. Drinking adequate water is critical, helping the body to sustain the ‘detox’ and hydrate it after dehydration. Though the mind might be resting, plan to incorporate extra rest for at least a week. Also include exercise and mindfulness based practices like meditation or yoga. Holistic and alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture can help open the natural energy channels in the body to aid in the flow of caffeine detox.

Enlightened Solutions offers a program based in holistic healing as a mind, body, and spiritual approach to treating drug addiction and alcoholism. Recovery is about freeing yourself from all aspects of suffering in your life. Find hope and a solution for the problem of addiction with us. For more information call 833-801-5483.

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