How to Stem Your Alcohol Cravings

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

For someone recovering from alcoholism, fighting off cravings is a daily, even moment-by-moment crusade. One that begins with your first steps toward recovery and continues throughout your life. But there is hope. With consistency and time, your urges will lose their strength. Of course, due to its prevalence in today’s culture and entertainment world, alcohol is unique amongst addictive substances—it’s everywhere. Still, through understanding and intentionality, it is possible to manage your urges with success and a clear path toward lasting recovery. Here are a few activities and mentalities that may help you in your daily walk in sobriety.

Find New Fun

Your brain believes something that is simply not true: you need a drink to have fun. This is a lie, but you’ve lived with it for so long, it feels very real. The only way to begin to believe fun can be had sans alcohol is to experience it yourself. It is time to discover new activities. Old passions are good to rediscover as well, but particularly during this time, stay open and try different things. Yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi have proven to be helpful options for people in recovery. Try hiking or exercising. Go to the movies, find a group to join, go fishing, or write that novel. You could even start a blog or video blog to document your journey. This can be a way for you to find satisfaction in your recovery, as well as pass on your story to others struggling with addiction.

Commit to Yourself, Family, and Friends

Announcing your goal and committing to loved ones is a powerful weapon. Making a commitment to your support group will also open the lines of communication to make sure you are not alone in your daily journey. As well, it’s an appropriate forum to express your need to stay clear of situations where alcohol is available, to let them know that it’s not allowed in your home, and that their support in this is vital to your success.

Undergirding all of this, however, is the commitment you make to yourself. You are the only one who can make your sobriety a success. Think through and even write down your answers to these questions: What are the costs to drinking? What are the benefits of not drinking? You already know the powerlessness and destruction that comes with making the wrong choice. Remember, addiction steals your soul and morphs you into a hollow shell of the person you once were. So use that knowledge to be clear with yourself. You made the decision to take the first steps, now make the daily decision to see it through.

Cultivate Techniques to Manage Urges

There is no way around it; your cravings will come. So be prepared. It could be because of what are called “triggers” such as people, places, times of day that are connected to drinking, or other unseen factors such as stress, excitement, or boredom. Whatever the cause, cravings will arise, so it is best if you have a way to overcome them in the moment. Here are a few you can try to overcome your surprise urges.

  1. Remember your commitment.
    Ride it out by repeating the reasons you have made your decision to stop drinking. Mantras are helpful in this.
  1. Call someone.
    Or simply talk to someone. Find someone in your support network who you can talk to and get past the moment.
  1. Leave.
    If you are struggling you can always get up and walk away. Are you in your house? Go outside and take a walk. Are you in a restaurant? Pay your bill and leave. At a party? The host will have to understand, and even if they don’t, this is your life at risk. Leaving is always an option, and it’s better to be a little rude than to have a relapse that could take away everything you have worked for. 

Find Treatment

Making the decision to break your addiction to alcohol was the most important of your life. It gave you the chance to keep and even mend relationships. It empowered you to have control over your life and avoid a downward spiral of chaos. But it was just the start. It’s time to sustain the momentum of recovery by continuing your treatment. Treatment programs give you accountability, support, and specific guidance that will actually help you continue to make the best decisions daily.

An aftercare plan is often comprised of group meetings and sessions such as the ones we offer, provide education and coaching services, and other types of programming that last for an unlimited amount of time.

Please remember, if you currently struggle with an addiction to alcohol, quitting without the assistance of a medical detox can pose serious health risks. Without proper medical intervention in a highly controlled setting, the withdrawal symptoms that you may experience can become extremely dangerous to your health and even become life-threatening.

For alcohol detox programs that are safe, effective, and proven to work, First Steps Recovery should be your first call. Call us today and take the first step towards freedom from alcohol: 1-844-489-0836.

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