Understanding Why an Alcoholic Drinks in the Morning

Generally, when an alcoholic wakes up they start drinking as soon as possible. If not they are planning where the will get the first one for the day. For many this means first thing in the morning. People who drink have what is called a thinking disorder (disease theory of alcoholism). From the moment they wake up the obsession for alcohol begins and does not stop until they fall asleep at night.

Their minds never quit thinking about where, when and how the can get a drink of alcohol. It sounds crazy…I know. They cannot get away from the haunting physical addiction or quit thinking about getting a drink. It is very much like having an obsession with someone who you are deeply in love with.

Some have said that alcoholics romance the bottle.

morning on farmA friend of mine used to drink alcohol first thing in the morning. The convenient store was his regular stop on his way to work. Fortunately for him, he was self-employed because sometimes by late morning he had to sleep for a while because he had consumed so much alcohol.

Prior to going to bed they generally make sure that they either have a plan to get a drink when they wake up or have some easily accessible to them.

Along with this chronic, dysfunctional behavior is where the alcoholic lies all the time. As they are mapping out the day for when and where they will get the alcohol, they are also developing excuses and lies to cover up their addictive behaviors. Family, friends and co-workers get lied to often. Read this article about lying alcoholics.

morning on lakeWe see this same sort of addictive behavior with people who are addicted to pills. They cannot rest until they either get their pill first thing in the morning or soon after waking up.

People who start drinking alcohol as soon as they get up are definitely alcoholics. There’s no two ways about this one.

Alcoholism is a thinking disease. It cannot just be turned off like a light switch. As much as we find ourselves obsessing over an alcoholic, they get caught in the grips of chasing after drink.

If your husband, wife, friend or child is drinking alcohol first thing when they awake in the morning, the chances are good that they have a serious problem with alcoholism.

Right now, you must realize that you cannot control their drinking, you did not cause it and you will never be able to cure it. In a nut-shell… you must learn to let them go. That my friend is easier said than done.

The best place to learn how to let go of a problem drinker is in support group meetings. If you search in your local area you will find that meetings are available first thing in the morning and throughout the entire day.

Living with an active alcoholic is too much for us. Our thinking gets distorted and we try to force solutions. There’s no solution to the problem that you can cause top happen. They must decide on their own to quit drinking. Until then, all you can do for the alcoholic family member, friend or co—worker is learn how to love them unconditionally.

The process of understanding why alcoholics do the things they do can take many support group meetings. Coupled with the meetings, reading as much literature as possible is suggested. If we are going to understand why an alcoholic must obsess over getting a drink, we must get around people who understand these types of behaviors. Sometimes a therapist can help with these issues, but I personally think that Al-anon is your best bet.

21 comments to Understanding Why an Alcoholic Drinks in the Morning

  • kim

    Hi,my boyfriend and I had reservations for the weekend in san diego for our 1 yr anniv at a very beautiful hotel.We have been planning his trip for months.(He had not had a drink in weeks)I packed up all my clothes and prepared lots of snacks for us to take.when I got to his house he was so drunk he couldnt even stand up(10 am )this has happened before.I was really proud of him up until now.I ended up just leaving and going home.I love him so much but just dont how to trust him again.

  • Elisabeth

    @ Kim – you can’t trust him. Let him go while or before you know it, it will be 15 years later and you still don’t trust him and don’t know what to do. Trust me. Read as much of this site as you can and you will understand more about Alcoholism and the effect it has on the loved ones like you. Good luck.

  • Mary Wells

    My boyfriend has gotten laid off for the second time this year. He admitted that he sometimes didn’t go to work because he was hung over. He has started drinking in the morning in front of me. I think today he was trying to provoke me. He tried to pour beer in my cup of tea. I feel very stressed out because of his drinking. He says he will be back from the store but, then comes home hours later from the local bar. He says he needs to drink to fall asleep. I think our relationship is a wreck. We haven’t had sex in months because he doesn’t feel like it.

  • Debbi

    Hoping someone can help me answer a question about this thread:

    If you did not see them drink in the morning was it because:
    1. They hid it & did not get drunk in front of you in AM
    2. They did not drink in the morning as this article suggests
    3. If they are not drinking first thing in the AM does that mean they are not an alcoholic.

    Did anyone have an A in their life that did not drink in the AM but they were sure they did have a problem with alcohol?

    Hoping someone in the same scenario as I was & question this symptom of having to drink in the morning.

  • Elisabeth

    My ex-AF’s habits varied. Sometimes it started in the morning, sometimes later. It depended on whether or not he had plans for which he knew he couldn’t be obviously drunk. Plans like seeing family members or working. In all cases, though, he hid the drinking from me and everyone else. He would hole himself up in his office “working” and hide the cans.

  • Debbi

    Thanks Elisabeth–that helps me because it could have also been the same with mine. But tell me–how did you know he was hiding the cans in his office or where did you find them & how?
    Just curious.

  • Elisabeth

    Debbi – I did what they tell us we’re not supposed to do. When he wasn’t around, I searched his office and the attached garage. He would hide them in drawers, in bags, in storage boxes, even. The thing was that he’s not a very neat guy and there was always a mess to help cover them up, but I would find them anyhow. A lot of times I could smell the beer when I would walk in there.

    And of course, there were many times when I thought I was wrong to think he was drinking because he would totally deny it and invite me to look around. They have that way of making you think it’s all in your head, you know? But I know now to trust my instincts, as you should trust yours, I’m sure.

  • karen

    Hi readers,

    OMG I was so glad to hear the question and responses about the A person drinking first thing in the morning.
    I witnessed this first hand and was stunned and nauseated at the same time.
    He would start drinking as soon as he woke up either with a cold beer with or without tomato juice…what is with the tomato juice..I have not figured that one out yet.
    Or it was lots of coffee with Bailey’s in it.
    He would buy a large bottle of this liquor once a week and drink it through out the week.
    If he had “things” to do that day or any given day he would wait till all errands were done and then the drinking would start and he would have to drink even faster to get his daily quota of 12 tall cans of beer into him. Then he had to smoke some dope to get his “high” going.

    This type of behavior totally freaked me out.

    There was usually a doy or two that he would take to recoup himself and then he was off and running again.

    I am so thankful that the relationship has ended. The emotional and physical damage that it did to me was awful and has taken even longer to fix.

    You must also remember that as soon as the A person opens their mouths to speak it is all lies. Their converstions is all over the place and the stories are all lies.

    I have come a long way since I dumped the ABF from my life. I truly do not care what happens to him or his sorry state of life. His issue and not mine.

  • karen

    Hi again readers,

    Remeber when the A person opens their mouths…that is the first mistake and the mistake we make is to listen to it. He made my head spin more than once.

    The different personalities that would present themselves to me was another head spinner.
    I never knew who was going to show up at my door…the dpressed and crying personality…the manic personality,which could be fun sometimes and I had some good laughs with this personality…or it was the mean personality that would pull my hair, slap my face, bite me and even spit on me…what the “f” was that all about and then not remember !!!!!
    How about the personality with thoughts of “granduer” and was invinceable and could buy anything with the money invested in family stocks…seriously !!
    He would change his clothes 2-3 times in one evening and thought he looked great…really.
    There were too many personalities for me including the narccasistic behaviour…thought he was God’s gift to all.

    Hang tight for those of you’s just starting out in a relationship like this or are in one now….get out while the getting is good.

    Take care

  • Joe

    Hello Everybody,

    I am reading this article for the first time, and it brings back a lot of memories a few years ago of how I used to be.
    After my father passed away, I started drinking heavily for about 4 years. On my days off, after I had my couple cups of coffee, I would start drinking beer. The time was about 9:00 AM. It got really bad and to the point where I was craving alcohol at early times in the morning at work, and then get cold sweats. I would get over the cold sweats and be ok, but when I got home at about 8 PM, I would start drinking. Drinking to take the edge off. From the time I got home (8 PM), until about 10:30, I had about 8-10 beers, and I had my “fix”.
    When I would buy beer, I would have to buy 30 packs. A 30 pack would be gone in about a day and a half. I averaged about 17-20 beers on my days off. Like I said earlier, I would start at about 9:00. I would be drunk by about 12-1 PM.
    After a few years, I have gotten my life back together. I’m married to a great girl, and she changed me for the better. She saw me in the alcoholic stage and gave me an ultimatum: Get your drinking under control, or I’m out. Well, in a nutshell, I got my drinking under control. I still do enjoy beer, but I’ve taught myself that I can be a social drinker and have a few beers every now and then, and still have a good time. Getting plastered was what I had always done. It was uncommon for me NOT to have a beer in my hand. Now I’ve come to realize that beer does not have to revolve around my social and other daily activities.

  • Gabby

    I am happy for you Joe that you saw the destruction that alcohol was causing. You said what made you stop was your wife giving you an ultimatum. I did that to my exBF but it did not work and he became violent. I so wished my story had ended like yours. My heart aches for what might have been. Treasure your wife always–tell her everyday how much you love her! She got through to you and maybe saved your life!

  • Greg Conklin

    Hello, I find this article to be one of the worst I have ever read regarding alcoholism; the comments are somehow even more revolting. I used to drink all day, every day for four years. The only thing that ended up saving me was support from every single perosn in my life, certainly not this “let them go” nonsense. Are you kidding me? I truly believe that the people making such false and misleading statements are the ones in need of the most help.

  • Monica


    While you were active in your alcoholism did you push all your love ones aside? Did you do terrible things to hurt your loved ones and then even when sober, refuse to acknowledge your actions or apologize? That is how the alcoholic in my life is. I’ve offered unwavering love and support for 2 years. In return I was emotionally abused and constantly lied to and manipulated. There is no choice for me and I suspect many others than to ” let them go.”

  • C

    “Let them go” is exactly what everyone should do. I have found listening to others, that being with an alcoholic is a disaster. The arrogance, lying, demanding, depending on behavior that an A exhibits is not romantic and will bring any family to its knees.

    I have learned to leave well enough alone. I have no desire for alcohol – can’t stand the taste of any of it! The money lost, lives destroyed and demeaning death due to alcoholism should keep everyone from becoming dependent on it.

  • Mike

    A full blown bitch fest here, glad