It is widely known that when attending 12 step meetings, such as alcoholics anonymous or narcotics anonymous, you will see many people drinking coffee or energy drinks and smoking cigarettes. You will see an extreme amount of energy drink consumption especially if you attend a 12 step convention. Many use energy drinks to stay up all weekend during the convention. I have long thought that recovering addicts were probably using these drinks as well as coffee and cigarettes for the effect. That is to get a buzz without having to call it a relapse. Now this is just my personal opinion, but when I was in school to become a chemical dependency counselor they taught us that caffeine and nicotine are two of the most powerful and addictive stimulants available, yet so many recovering addicts lean on these vices during recovery. There are many different arguments regarding this topic. I have heard some people argue that if it wasn’t for cigarettes they wouldn’t have made it through early recovery. I am not one to take an opinion away from another, perhaps which is true for them. But how can we really say that we are sober from all mind-altering chemicals while consuming them at the same time? Are they discounted simply because they are legal? Well, so is alcohol.
Studies have shown that nicotine as well as caffeine consumption actually raises the relapse rate significantly in those trying to recover. These stimulants also act as gateway drugs for many. Heavy alcohol consumption was especially linked to the consumption of energy drinks, as well as those who consume energy drinks are 3 times more likely to use cigarettes and abuse prescription stimulants such as Adderhol and Ritalin (both used to treat ADHD). This is not so surprising considering that these substances give you a similar, and I will admit milder, feeling that other substances such as Adderhol, Ritalin, meth and even coke might give you. If you are a drug addict who has abused such stimulants in the past, consuming caffeine or nicotine is simply asking to get triggered to want to use again. I realize that I am not going to be the one to change all minds but these are the facts. If you want the best possible chance at recovery why would you tempt yourself on a daily basis?