Cigarettes and caffeine are widely used by those in drug and alcohol recovery. Coffee is often provided during support meetings for recovering addicts. At some meetings, short breaks are permitted so that those who want to can go outside and have a cigarette. While these two substances are often permitted in rehab and post-rehab to help reduce the urges to use illegal substances, they can have negative effects on the body. However, many people who are trying to stay sober may feel that giving up more harmful drugs was challenge enough, and that kicking a cigarette or caffeine habit may be near impossible. But since these substances can be harmful to the body, it may be best to attempt giving them up during the drug or alcohol rehabilitation process.
Benefits of Using Caffeine and Cigarettes During Recovery
Caffeine can cleanse the colon and liver, which is why the ingredient is often used in enemas. This is one reason many people feel that caffeine is a beneficial substance for those who are recovering from addiction. A study from Johns Hopkins University also asserts that caffeine can boost memory.
While the tar and other harmful chemicals in cigarettes are detrimental to one’s health and can even be fatal, nicotine has been proven to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Nicotine can also help to soothe the digestive tract for people who suffer from colitis.
Because of these attributes, caffeine and cigarettes can help to minimize the symptoms associated with drug or alcohol withdrawal.
Why It May Be Best to Quit Caffeine and Coffee
While a cup of coffee or nicotine may have their benefits, there are also drawbacks to using these ingredients while in recovery transition. For instance, nicotine and caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns. If you drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke a few hours before bedtime, it can be difficult t get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to making less-than-positive decisions, and this could be a serious issue for a recovering addict. And, individuals who are taking in large amounts of caffeine or smoking excessively throughout the day may more irritable and anxious, which makes it more difficult to handle upsetting situations in a mature and wise fashion. Even though smoking a cigarette or having a cup of coffee or cola may seem relaxing in the moment, these substances soon have a stimulant effect on the body that could produce negative results. For instance, if a person is more high strung after having caffeine, he/she may be more likely to get drunk or high again to temporarily eliminate stress.
Why It May Be Difficult to Quit
Just like with alcohol and illegal drugs, nicotine addiction can cause withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms, such as fatigue, mood swings and a jittery feeling are difficult to deal with, even when things are going pretty well in a person’s life who is recovering from drug use. So, in stressful times, withdrawing from nicotine can be especially challenging. The same can be true for coffee, especially if caffeine is used as a crutch to help cope with the trying situations that life can bring.
What to Use Instead of Coffee and Cigarettes
Recovering addicts who want to stop using nicotine and caffeine should prepare to make this transition to prevent unnecessary physical and mental stress. Chewing gum instead of smoking a cigarette can be helpful. Nicotine gum or a patch helps to reduce cravings as well. Eating foods that are shaped like cigarettes, like celery or carrot sticks, can satisfy the urge to have something in one’s hand and the foods provide nourishment that help with brain function. Green tea, although it contains caffeine, is a healthier alternative to coffee and can boost brain power and lower blood pressure.
It’s important for recovering addicts to be patient with themselves when it comes to kicking a coffee or nicotine habit, even if these substances are allowed in rehab. It’s important for the individual not to be too hard on his/herself if there are slip-ups every once in a while. Exercising regularly, doing yoga and following a healthy diet can also make it easier to eliminate caffeine and nicotine