I just watched the documentary called Best of Enemies about the series of debates in 1968 between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal – easily some of the most entertaining, scorched-earth, diametrically opposed snootiness ever recorded. I prefer Buckley’s mainline, jaw thrusting, facial ticked technique to Vidal’s deadly-sweet smile and slow, deliberate drawl – but there is no denying the brilliance of their patrician thrust and parry.
The bottom line is that Vidal and Buckley went into the debates with ironclad certainty of the “rightness” of their arguments. No amount of intellectual rhetoric was going to convince them otherwise. And, as a recovering alcoholic, that is how I feel about the drinking of coffee. Many addiction treatment centers ban coffee from their facilities and discourage the use of caffeine in recovery, and I disagree.
Or to put it more positively, I am on the affirmative side, when the topic is: Coffee in Rehab? Hell Yes!
The people at DARA Thailand Treatment Center say, “Coffee seems to be the drink of choice for most recovering alcoholics. A study conducted at Dartmouth College found that nearly 90 percent of recovering alcoholics drink coffee on a regular basis. Compare this to 50 percent of the regular population. One out of three of those in recovery drank more than four cups of coffee every day. This study reveals a correlation, but it is unclear whether caffeine helps or hinders the recovery process. In any event, replacing one addictive substance with another is not an ideal coping mechanism.”
I understand that the purpose of treatment is to get to the crux of our bad habits. And remember, I am the woman who had a transfer addiction to frozen grapes and Charleston Chews, so I am wary. I know, from the inside out, the addictive personality’s need to find an addiction. But come on. As long as you are not clinging to the coffee urn or eating the grounds when no one is looking, it seems fair somehow, to allow one little vice (especially in early recovery).
My argument is wishy-washy isn’t it?
Okay how about this: Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system. Regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine does not impact your social or physical health the way alcohol or addictive drugs do. And caffeine doesn’t cause you to buy a round for 300 Spring Breakers at Senior Frogs, or drive your BMW into your ex-boyfriend’s plate glass living-room window (neither of which I have done…). In the grand scheme of things a cup of coffee is a small token of comfort, something to do with your hands and the lesser of our habitual evils…
I’d really like to know – how do you weigh in on the debate?
P.S. Don’t tell anybody, but I just found an old post that totally takes the other side of the debate…