A Recovering Addict’s New Addiction: Cigarettes and Coffee

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When I quit using heroin it was hard. Perhaps the most difficult thing that I have ever done.  In fact, obtaining sobriety was a life-altering moment without a doubt. A proud and profound moment which leads to believe I can conquer all.  Sorta.

There is something that I have tried to quit over and over again but, I always fail miserably.  I’m not sure if its lack of willpower, maybe I don’t want to quit, or I’m truly not really trying.  That thing is smoking cigarettes.  I have smoked for close to 20 years now.

Since I became a recovering addict, my smoking has increased.  The facts prove that I am not alone.  Recovering addicts go crazy over cigarettes and coffee. Is it a replacement for our previous drug and alcohol addiction?  Why can’t we just stop smoking?  We quit using drugs. Why should quitting smoking be any different?

As for the coffee, I have always drunk coffee in the morning, approximately one to three cups a day.  Now, I drink coffee all day long.  It is my main drink. According to Vanderbilt University, out of the 1 million people who join Alcoholics Anonymous, almost all of them drink coffee and over 60 percent of them smoke.  What is this weird recovery thing of obsessing over cigarettes and coffee?  

This has been going through my mind for quite some time.  I had to discover the underlying cause for this new habit,  Plus, I do want to quit smoking.  Take a look at the facts about recovering addicts, their new addiction, and all that I was able to uncover.


New addiction - smoking

Have you ever been to an AA or NA meeting?  If so, you know that coffee is a necessity at these meetings.  The people who chair the meeting have the coffee brewing and ready to go before the people even begin to walk through the door. That’s not all, along with your coffee, you must have a cigarette or two.  Many meetings have smoking breaks.  Some meetings even permit smoking inside the meeting.  This is a cause for alarm in my book.  

Personal Agenda

Think of it like this.  I quit using heroin and all other drugs.  I am sober.  My family, my husband, my kids need me.  One thing that is always in the back of my mind is when I hear stories of a mother relapsing, overdosing, and dying.  I feel bad but what tears me apart inside is finding out that her baby or toddler died due to starvation and dehydration being left alone in the house with their dead mom.  I’ve heard one too many stories like this.  I don’t want to die especially be the cause of my child’s death.  My children need me to care for them and to love them.  That being said, I need to quit smoking.  It’s a bad habit that is decreasing my years on this planet.  Not too good, right?

My husband quit smoking over 2 months ago.  He couldn’t breathe, he was in and out of the emergency room for weeks.  Finally, he stopped smoking.  He just couldn’t do it anymore.  The feeling of not being able to breathe is terrifying.

You think I would quit simply because he did.  Nope, couldn’t do it.  Not me.  We both smoked over a pack a day.  For the first month that he quit, I was down to a pack or two a week.  According to me, that was amazing.  Well, during the next month my smoking gradually increased again. Truthfully, I feel that the more I try to quit, the harder it becomes.  That is because I am obsessing over not smoking so, I’m constantly thinking about smoking.  Weird, huh?

Cigarettes and Coffee

Recovering Addicts, Cigarettes and Coffee

So here are the facts about people in recovery loving their cigarettes and coffee. We all know that drinking coffee produces stimulatory effects.  So recovering addicts drink it for the same reason as the rest of the world.  It wakes you up, making you feel alert, you feel awake. Hell, we are going through some life altering changes trying to start fresh and new without using drugs.  

Truthfully, smoking is said to reduce a person’s feelings of irritability, being anxious, or even depression.  Common feelings for people early in recovery. There are people who do not even begin smoking until they start using drugs.  Or they smoke to fit in.  Ultimately, people smoke as a coping mechanism.  

If talking to people in recovery, they will say that they quit one bad habit.  Let me have this one.  Like they don’t have a choice.  Even though smoking is slowly killing them, they deserve it for not using drugs.

In other words, smoking is a coping mechanism.  It calms you down, reduces emotions that you are now dealing with on a regular basis that are not being depressed by drugs.



Can You Handle The Truth?

Are you ready?  Here is the cold hard evidence about smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.  Coffee isn’t bad, per say.  Drinking a few cups a day is the norm. Although, if you do anything excessively, it can have negative consequences. Even exercise.  We know cigarettes are bad for you.  Don’t expect to read any positive attributes about smoking cigarettes.  And no, it doesn’t look cool.

Pros and Cons of Coffee Drinking

If you drink coffee regularly or excessively, here are a few things you may want to take a look at.  Just so it’s known, the pros do outweigh the cons.


  • Having one small cup of coffee a day can help protect your liver from damage caused by drinking alcohol.
  • Coffee is high in antioxidants.
  • Drinking coffee can lower the risk of developing numerous diseases including cancer, heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Suppresses your appetite and can help you lose weight if you drink plain black coffee.


  • It’s a stimulant meaning it can keep you awake at night and increases heart rate.
  • You can gain weight by adding creamer, sugar, sweeteners, and other additives.
  • Coffee is addictive, you can have withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking coffee abruptly including irritability, restlessness, headaches, and insomnia.
  • Raises your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Coffee stains your teeth.  Who wants yellow teeth?

Addicts and smoking

Pros and Cons of Smoking Cigarettes

Can you even believe that there are pros to smoking?  Unbelievable, take it for what it is.


  • Does suppress your appetite if you are trying to lose weight.
  • Smoking is known to relieve anxiety, stress, and irritability.
  • If there were no cigarettes, thousands maybe even millions of people would lose their job from the actually cigarette/tobacco industry to farmer’s whose main cash crop is tobacco.


  • Cigarette smoke causes your breath, hair, clothes, car, house, and anywhere you smoke to smell bad.
  • Stains your teeth and causes bad breath even mouth cancer.
  • Causes lung cancer.
  • Causes bad circulation.
  • Costs too much money.
  • Bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
  • Second-hand smoke can affect others around you.  Both children and pets.
  • Causes decreased fertility issues in women and impotence in men.
  • Cigarette contains harmful chemicals that are bad for your health.

Recovering Addicts Need To Quit This New Found Glory

As with everything, too much of a good thing is no good.  While coffee is not bad for your health like smoking is.  You still need to lower your coffee intake to a few cups a day instead of drinking it all day long.

We are in recovery because we wanted to better our lives.   Not only for ourselves but, for our loved ones.  Am I right?  So let’s do this.  We will lower our coffee intake and completely quit smoking.  Ha, so much easier said than done.

Let’s make our lives the best they can be.  Smoking will kill you.  So what if it makes you less irritable so, does meditation.  Seriously.  Once you quit smoking, quit drinking coffee all day, exercise, and get enough sleep, you will feel amazing.  It’s a proven fact.  So let’s do it.  I mean it.  Let’s really do this.

The bottom line is an addictions reasoning for using cigarettes and coffee is for the wrong reasons.  While it might be a coping mechanism for now.  It could reverse and later be a relapse trigger. Recovering addicts are using cigarettes and coffee as a feel-good mechanism.  The stimulants in coffee give their body a different feeling.  Smoking a cigarette satisfies nicotine cravings plus relieves irritable and stressful emotions that we must learn to deal with.  As with all substances or chemicals, our body builds up a tolerance after so long.  That might be the moment we relapse.  I’m not saying it will happen but, remember that it can.

Cigarettes and Coffee -

Stop Smoking Now

If you are serious about wanting to quit smoking.  I mean, you were able to stop using drugs so, why not quit smoking too?  Here are several different links that you may find helpful.  I hope you get the support you need.

  1. WebMD – How To Quit Smoking
  2. – Steps To Manage Quit Day
  3. – How To Quit Smoking (Tips for kicking your cigarette habit for good)
  4. – Top 10 Tips and Tricks For Quitting Smoking
  5. – Five Secrets for Quitting Smoking

If anyone has any suggestions or comments about a recovering addict’s crutch, cigarettes, and coffee.  Please comment below.



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I am NOT a licensed therapist. For immediate help call the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Adminstration’s 1-800-662-HELP. It's a free 24/7 service for ppl facing mental +/or substance use disorders.Or you can use the online treatment locator HERE.


  1. Kimberly Dewberry says

    Natasha. I completely agree with this post! I am not a recovering addict, but I am in recovery for co-dependency, shopping addiction, and control (among other habits that became addictions). I smoked for over 25 years and I quit last year in July, but now I am addicted to the e-cig. I replaced one addiction for another. Now I’m trying to break that addiction too! E-cigarette’s are probably just as dangerous, although I haven’t done the research. Maybe I should…
    Thank you for this post!

    • Natasha says

      Thanks for commenting Kimberly,
      My father switched from smoking to vaping. He had open heart surgery and was in tears from the pain afterward. Yet, he was begging to vape. It made me realize how strong of an addiction nicotine truly is.

      From personal experience and research, nicotine seems to be the worst addiction ever! Props to those who quit smoking.

      One more thing. You are right, recovering addicts (from any addiction) seem to trade one addiction for another. From shopping to sex, drugs to gambling, and so on and so on. Addictive personalities? A complete alter in brain chemistry? Many possibilities?

  2. Susan Medina- Ibarra says

    This is so true food is my crutch now since being in recovery and I am even embarrassed to say that I have gained 50+ lbs
    I have never smoked cigarettes but my husband is a smoker about 2 packs a week and if he gets stressed over something it’s one after another when I caught him having his online affair about 9 months ago I thought he was going to have a heart attack he smoked so much
    I do drink 1 cup of coffee after I take my methadone why you ask well it puts a little kick with the methadone most clinics have free coffee most methadone clients love them some coffee now there is no science behind this and it’s probably all in our heads lol
    I can remember in the early 70’s going to the methadone clinic with my mom that everybody would go over and get their coffee after dosing back then clients would have to get a cup of kool-aid to take with their methadone memories lol yuck!!!!

    • Natasha says

      I do wonder if that’s all in our heads. Coffee making the methadone kick in faster. I am guilty of it as well. Although, I have found nothing to back up the effectiveness of it. So from what the pros say, It’s all in our head. lol

  3. Alex Dunbar says

    thank you for sharing. yes this a struggle especially smoking. i could recommend using ecigarettes to help you stop smoking. not only its helpful but its also aromatic.

    • Natasha says

      Thank you for responding. You are right and e-cigs are a healthy alternative at the moment. I know many people that have taken up vaping. My husband quit smoking 6 months ago, HE KICKS ASS! Me, uh….yeah haven’t stopped yet. I was going to start vaping like so many others do but my husband and I talked about it. We both agree that if I’m going to quit, I’m going to QUIT. No alternatives or replacements. Such as my husband chews even though he’s not smoking. He agreed that the day I quit smoking, he’ll quit chewing. It’s getting closer I hate it and hate it more and more each day.

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