Coffee and AA, the research

I first started drinking coffee in my first year of college. I was so sleep-deprived from living with my roommate in a shared dorm that I needed a way to get through my morning chemistry lectures.

I still drink coffee every day, but I don’t always drink it daily. I was in a bit of a slump this afternoon and coffee was the perfect solution to perk me up. So I was curious, is coffee a helpful recovery tool?

In 2008, Dr. Peter Martin conducted a study in which his team asked 289 AA members from open meetings in Nashville, TN about their coffee, cigarette and alcohol consumption. Of the respondents, 88% drank coffee daily and most reported that drinking coffee made them feel better, concentrate and be more alert.

To put this number into perspective, 54% of American adults drink coffee every day

I wanted to learn more so I accessed the full article through my school library. Below are the highlights, enjoy!

Health Benefits

Previous research cited in the study has shown that coffee consumption may be protective against type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, suicide, Parkinson’s disease, alcoholic cirrhosis and chronic liver disease.

How addictive is caffeine? 

Personally, I have always avoided drinking coffee every morning because I don’t want to “need” my coffee, especially if I am away from home. Dr. Martin reports that caffeine is substantially less addictive than alcohol and nicotine because it does not induce similar effects in the brain’s reward centres.

Coffee and alcohol cravings 

Caffeine leads to a release of dopamine in the brain, but without activating the same pathway used by alcohol. As a result, consuming caffeine can be alternative to alcohol without increasing the risk of relapse.

What’s really cool, is that coffee contains more than just caffeine. It also contains CAQ’s (chlorogenic acid quinides) that formed when coffee beans are roasted. These compounds can bind to opioid receptors in the brain, which could help to reduce alcohol cravings and relapse.

So those are the highlights! I found this article really interesting and enjoyed reading it with a cup of coffee with cinnamon in milk in hand 🙂

What has been your experience with coffee?


Canadian Coffee Consumption 2016 

Coffee by the Numbers in the United States

Reich MS, Dietrich MS, Finlayson AJR, Fischer EF, Martin PR. Coffee and cigarette consumption and perceived effects in recovery alcoholics participating in alcoholics anonymous in Nashville, Tennessee. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research. July 2008



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