4 Ways To Stop Alcohol Cravings Right Now
Being sober is no simple task. We are taught from an early age that drinking alcohol is a necessary part of growing up, a means to unwind after a stressful day at work or taking care of children, and a method to cope with emotional upheaval or the weight of life. Therefore, we start to think about our life without alcohol and decide to stay sober when we wake up and realise that alcohol isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, or perhaps we recognise that we have an unhealthy relationship with it.
But what occurs when the want to drink is brought on by life? What do we do? How can we weather the storm of a craving while maintaining our sobriety?
Here are 4 ways to stop alcohol cravings in its tracks.
Put an end to romanticising alcohol
Do specific smells or happy memories that involve drinking alcohol (such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Fourth of July picnics) make you think back to your earlier drinking habits?
Alcohol romanticization is what this is, so we must figure out how to detach the memories from the drink.
I don’t know about you, but when I recall the craziness my friends and I got into during my college drinking days—happy hours, Homecoming weekends, dancing till the wee hours of the morning at the bar, apartment party hopping, late-night drunk food runs—I giggle.
But those recollections also contain less pleasant incidents, such as being stopped twice by state troopers on the way home from a party (and, thank goodness, avoiding a DUI or harming anyone!). I cringe every time I think about it, people vomiting up, passing out, fighting, and doing other less than honourable things.
We must distinguish the pleasant recollections from the booze. After four years of sobriety, I’ve discovered that memorable family occasions like Christmas dinner at my aunt’s house are just as amazing when you’re sober as they were when you were getting wasted with your cousins.
We can still hang out and play games together while laughing for HOURS on end, just like we always did!
I also enjoy doing simple things with my family, like baking cookies with them or going to the beach. I now understand that I was the one who made those memories, not the rum punch. With my family, I played a part in making those lovely memories.
Consider a bad experience you had while drinking where alcohol was the main offender or cause if you are having trouble separating the nice memories from the booze. I’ll admit that I have a lot more of these bad memories than good ones.
Identify the current feelings or emotions you are experiencing.
To assist alleviate anxieties, people chase the early buzz of booze. After the first cup, they could literally feel the tension in their shoulders release, and body began to move and react more slowly. People often even enjoyed the sensation of eyes moving and reacting more slowly. It is almost like a weighted blanket wrapped around the entire body, forcing them to move more slowly through life.
Because people don’t know how to calm their racing mind, they rely on booze to accomplish it.
But it doesn’t end there.
More often people would keep drinking after the initial buzz to maintain it, finally becoming sloppy drunk.
Alcohol cravings can be put an end to by recognising the feelings and emotions you are avoiding or seeking after. Perhaps you are trying to relive happy drinking experiences from the past (see point 1 above! ), in which case you should once more concentrate on not romanticising alcohol.
Recognize the emotion you are avoiding and express your discomfort with it if you are.
Keep in mind that it’s acceptable to experience uncomfortable ideas and feelings! We will be able to overcome these urges if we deal with our feelings and work through them rather than stuffing them down or ignoring them.
It may be helpful to check in with someone for a discussion or to simply put your feelings down in your diary once we have identified the emotions that are triggering those cravings. Perhaps we are simply bored, or perhaps we are experiencing depression, anxiety, or other issues that we need to talk about and resolve, either with a friend, a family member we can trust, or a mental health expert.
Spend some time writing or talking about those emotions. In the long run, keeping a journal will also enable us to recognise a pattern in our appetites.
Distract and Discourage
Finally, it is at this point that sobriety starts to be a lot of fun because we are free to explore new things that we might not have had the opportunity to do when drinking. Distracting our thoughts from drinking is completely acceptable, and in my opinion, it’s necessary to keep us sober.
Make a list of enjoyable activities you want to do or try that don’t entail drinking. When a craving strikes, have this list nearby (after completing the first three steps to help you understand the source of the craving!)
List activities that range from quick and easy to time-consuming, such as learning a new language, taking music lessons, or studying karate. Simple activities can include having a bath soaked with essential oils, reading affirmations, or going for a run or stroll.
Also, learn a few simple breathwork techniques that you can use anywhere, or keep a few quick go-to tools with you at all times to help you talk yourself down from a craving (like the Calm or Headspace meditation apps). My two favourite breathing techniques for a rapid boost of soothing energy are alternate nostril breathing and the 4-7-8 breathwork.
You can get through these cravings with your sobriety intact! You are stronger, better, and more brilliant without alcohol. Give these steps a try and check in with us below so we can encourage and support one another!Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest