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.


34 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.
    Help………..

  • 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
    or
    2. They did not drink in the morning as this article suggests
    and
    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

    Greg,

    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 I’m not married.

  • Zita

    I have been married for 40 years. I am planning to leave my husband once I have all my affairs in order. We are planning to sell our house this summer to downsize. Once the house is sold, I will take my half of the money and set myself up. My husband was in hospital for 2 weeks after Christmas. He had gotten the flu and continued to drink until he was so weak he had to be hospitalized. They kept him there as he suffered withdrawal and was nursed thru it. He has a slightly inflamed liver. He is back to drinking again but of course not in front of me. I didn’t know exactly how much he was drinking but I do now. I had not kept track of it as I have read that we should not do this and should get on with our lives. I needed to know. I was so happy that he had detoxed and was very hopeful he would stop. I had provided him with all the info about inflamed liver etc. I had thought about leaving him for years and now I am sure. I am 60….I will not live the next 20 or so years like this. My advice to young people…Get Out Now! Don’t wait and hope like I did….I turned my head and tried the detachment thing but I just can’t do it anymore. The other night he fell asleep with his dinner in his lap…that was not pretty!

  • C

    Zita: 60 is so young. Gather your things and get moving when you get your half of the house money. Do not look back. I bet within a year, you are writing that you are smiling again and feel so young. Take good care.

  • Zita

    How old are you Veronica? Are you the alcoholic? Do you live with an alcoholic? Did you read all the comments? Did any of it register? Really????

  • Sarah

    The part of the brain alcoholic effect.
    The frontal lobes, are the seat of emotions and judgments related to sympathy, which is the ability to feel sorrow for someone else’s suffering, and empathy, which the ability to understand another’s feelings and problems. They are also the seat of understanding humor, including subtle witticisms and word plays. The frontal lobe also recognizes sarcasm and irony. And they are where recognition of deception occurs. The frontal lobes control the processes called “mentalizing” upon which our socialization is based; this is the ability to understand another’s mental processes.
    Spontaneity of facial expression and of interaction with others is also controlled by the frontal lobes as is the function of flexibility in thinking processes, for example, being able to conceive of and choose between complex alternatives in a social environment. The problematic opposite of this flexibility is perseveration, which is the fixed persistence of a single thought. Both attentiveness of focus on a single task and resistance to emotional liability, which is commonly referred to as mood changes or mood swings, are controlled by the frontal lobes.
    The ability to solve problems, which often depends on flexible thinking and the ability to correctly express language are both controlled by the frontal lobes, as well. In addition to this, our personalities are controlled by the frontal lobes. This is not all, though, as they also control movement, initiation, emotional impulsivity, memory, sexual behavior, and judgment.
    The frontal lobes are of paramount significance in determining our daily capabilities, personality manifestations, social interactions and judgments and decisions. The frontal lobes are indeed the seat of our essence and nature.

  • C

    Veronica:

    Your language is offensive. You must be a real jewel to be around. Get a grip.

  • MM

    I have always known my husband to drink but the amount never really hit me until we were married. He is various at the amount he drinks. Sometimes he comes home with 2 25oz beers to a 6 pack, to a 12 pack daily during the week. One the weekend it will be an 18 pack on a friday evening, then by saturday afternoon he needs another 18 pack. He definitely drinks a “hair of the dog” in the morning on the weekend, but he’s never that drunk the night before. I have noticed within the past year he’s been drinking at least 1 beer in the morning during the week now. but in the past couple of weeks a couple of days he had drank 5 beers during the week in the morning! I have been trying to keep count of the beers he leaves in the fridge, he thinks I don’t notice but I do. But now I think he’s catching on and he’s trying to beat me home after work so I don’t see how much he’s drank. I know that sometimes on the weekend when he has to go get more beer, I have noticed him driving past our house, and I know that he’s trying to chug a 25oz beer before he gets home 🙁 I’m very fortunate in some aspect of his alcoholism that he is always home. He never goes out to drink. But it’s still very hard on our family when he is drinking a lot. I wish he could see it, he won’t get help, he won’t quit, no matter. He won’t even quit for his kids. 🙁

  • ben

    if some of ya’ll women were easier to deal with then men wouldn’t feel the need to drink so much!!! got to get drunk just to deal with coming home to ya’ll.

  • June

    Ben must have been looking for the AA meeting and staggered into the Al-Anon meeting. LOL

  • Zita

    Ben….are you kidding me? The best thing you could do is not come home at all ya’ll!

  • Jen

    I am an alcoholic. I can say that now. I lie and hide because I hate myself. It us a terrible disease. I try so hard, but it is so intense. It hurts so badly to hurt others you love so deeply. That is why we hide it and lie. To protect those we love. It us not right, but it us our defense mechanism. I love you all and hope you’ve made the right decisions for your selves and love ones. Regardless you are first!

  • detached

    I’m an alcoholic as well. It’s extremely difficult to deal with. I’m sure this desire stems from something much deeper within but I’m unable to be calm without some form of help. It’s killing me and I’ve lost a lot friends…because they were of the mindset that “you have to let them go”. That’s the worst thing you can do. You don’t let loved ones go just because they have diabetes and still eat unhealthy food do you? People need love and support to get better.

  • adam

    I am also an alcoholic. The classic definition of alcoholism throws people off. Most people in my life have no idea that I drink all day. They have no idea that I am functionally drunk at work, during family gatherings, etc. It is a disease. If I stopped drinking however, they would certainly know something was wrong. I drink to feel normal. Without it I get cold sweats, uncontrollable shakes, and cannot function. It is no one’s fault but mine. I let myself get this way. But I could only imagine how bad it would get it everyone just “let me go”. I own a very successful business, have many employees and work 10-15 hour days. Not every alcoholic is a stumbling, unproductive member of society. It effects everyone in different ways. I just want people to understand that you can’t judge a book by its cover, and you wouldn’t abandon a friend who got cancer from smoking would you?? Would you belittle them while they were sick?? It’s a disease, and there comes a point when it’s no longer a choice.

  • Zita

    Adam….you are right….you can’t judge a book by its cover. My husband runs a successful business and like you, works 10-15 hour days. He has many employees as well. Unfortunately, when he was 62, he reached the point of no return. He was highly functional and within a matter of months, his health took a turn for the worse. By the time he went into rehab, he was unable to walk unaided. Only in the last year of his drinking did his personality start to change….he had become more impatient, critical and unkind at times towards me. His alcoholism had gotten worse with each passing year. You say it is a disease….well diseases are usually treated or else they gradually get worse. My husband came close to death…and he HAD to make a choice. Most people did not know he had this disease. It has been 2 1/2 years now since he’s had a drink…he was on his way to losing me – his wife and his life. Once he made the decision to seek the help he needed, I had no intention of leaving….I give him all the support he needs me to give him. He attends AA 5 times a week and it helps him tremendously. He was a person who once did not believe in any program….he could do it on his own….he found he couldn’t do it alone. I hope you will make the Choice to get help.

  • Anne

    I drink in the mornings. I usually go to my college classes, but sometimes skip them with lame excuses if I have a drink a drink within two hours of the time I need to leave home. It’s shameful. I know I am fucking up, but I can also go for several weeks without drinking at all. At the end of those weeks, I’ll convince myself that I can have one and it will start again. I don’t think alcoholism is a disease as such, but it is a habit that is difficult to overcome. I fucked up my job with too many unexcused absences and am in danger of doing the same with my college classes where attendance is mandatory. I am seeking help. However, I know that I drink when alone. No counsellor can help with that. I am fine when around other people and don’t drink at all but I can’t do that 24/7.

  • Gary

    Anne,

    Love yourself. Go buy the book : Healing the Addictive Personality by Dr. Lee Jampolsky. It’s one of the most encouraging books I’ve ever read on this subject. The author was an alcoholic. You can most likely buy the book on the cheap at Alibris.com There is nothing anyone can say that will heal you but only encourage you to take enough responsibility to love yourself, be good to yourself, treat yourself well, gain the knowledge to bring yourself out of the muddy thinking you’ve adopted into a new thinking, a new attitude and perspective on life….on your life. Keep moving forward.

    Gary

  • Denise

    Dear JC,
    Well my beautiful granddaughter has been here since August 13. My ah has been drunk a lot. He wouldn’t even go down and visit by himself. I do not take vacation with him for years. Don’t you want to see your granddaughter? Nope, he said. Why don’t you go golfing with your son and then take her for a walk when you get back from golfing? NOPE , he said. I am done. I have tried. My doctor just shook her head. My God you must come from a strong family. I got tears in my eyes. He hardly eats.He says he doesn’t care about anything. Your typical functioning alcoholic. So, the time has come to put him to the wayside. Some may think I am kicking him to the curb. Not so. I am 621/2 yrs. old. Yes, my children are grown. I need to do the things I like to do. I refuse to languish in his misery. My doctor told to remember it is not my fault that he chooses this path. It is hard to watch someone slowly die. I had to watch my parents die. Now him. It is inevitable . The leaves are starting to turn up here. My favorite time of year. I hope my granddaughter will look forward to Autumn as much as I do. Maybe we can share some wonderful walks before I am gone. Take care everyone. Always Denise. I would love to be walking along the California beach by Cambria. Soon.

  • Holly

    Dear Denise,
    My heart goes out to you. Our family has agonized over my alcoholic brother’s destructive and negligent behaviors too. My Mom who is 82 years old has finally had enough of the guilt trips and dysfunctions that have negatively affected her life over the last 20 years. I am so happy for her to be honoring herself finally! It is so important to have boundaries and to understand that it is not your fault and it is not up to you to fix your alcoholic son. He will either seek help or he will not. Letting go is hard to do but it is good to hear you say that you refuse to “languish in his misery” because it is not yours to carry. It has hurt me for many years watching my Mom agonize and enable my brother who refuses to take responsibility for his own well being. He has neglected his kids and grandkids and is now living with the consequences. They do not want to see him anymore. It’s too upsetting for them to see him drunk. May your heart feel light and may you hold steady in your stance to live a good life regardless of the poor choices of your son. I am sorry you have had to suffer with this toxicity in your life. Wishing you all the best.

  • Denise

    Thank you for the very kind words . The alcoholic is my husband of 36 yrs. Like I have always said it is a roller coaster. Some day it will stop. Thank you again and I am so happy for your Mother! Now she can live the life she deserved for so very long. I am glad you are there for her. Always, Denise

  • Paula g

    Anne,
    These days we are brought up and weened on tv and simple superficial ideas. We don’t have the guidance and direction that we used to get from community and church and strict structure. But we need it, we need to know what we believe and decide what we stand for and have a healthy routine that involves a strong work ethic. For some people AA gives them these things along with the daily reminder of why they can’t drink. I don’t think anyone can say for sure what alcoholism is, the medical departments don’t even claim to have any answers, The human mind is an incredible thing and keeping it healthy in this day and age can be incredibly hard. Find an open meeting in your area ( meaning anyone can attend) and sit in. Talk to a crisis counselor about what you are going through. “Idle time is the devils play thing”, for people who don’t do well alone, often it’s because their own thoughts drive them batty, and they need to silence them. Once alcohol becomes the silencer it becomes the only answer we can come up with at a certain point. But you know as I know that it’s not true. Find healthy answers, water, fruit, music, nature walks, art. And finally the thoughts that keep creeping up on you need to be processed for them to subside, you might need help with that, if you try to avoid them forever, they will haunt you forever. I know a man who is tortured by the thoughts in his head and i recognize by the things he has told me that they aren’t even his own thoughts but actually echos of his dad’s words playing over and over like a broken record. Another thought that I find helpful when I need to silence my thoughts is ‘listen to your breathing and focus on your breathing, then start to let yourself become aware of sounds in your environment, actual sounds outside your head and all around you in the world’ Good luck sister don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help. We can’t do it alone.

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