A person who has entered recovery from an addiction to alcohol has already proven they have a strong desire to change their lives. Once in recovery, no matter how hard they work on themselves, temptation to drink can happen. If you need help knowing how to deal with alcohol cravings, we’ve compiled a list to help you.
How to Deal With Alcohol Cravings
- Avoid Places You Associate With Alcohol: You know which places have proven to make you want to drink alcohol. It might be a favorite bar, a sporting event, a social event, or even the home of someone who usually provides a lot to drink for their guests. Make the decision not to go to places that you know are likely to make you want to reach for a drink. Try something different like going to a new restaurant or enjoying a young family member’s Little League game instead of a pro-sports team event.
- Talk to Family and Friends About Your Sobriety: Let those close to you know that you are living a sober life now and that may change some of your interactions with them. It might mean turning down a party at a family member’s house or skipping a social outing with friends. Ensure your loved ones that you want to spend time with them, but for now, you need to stay away from events that feature alcohol.
- Distract Yourself: A helpful hint for how to deal with alcohol cravings involves learning the art of distraction. Make a deal with yourself that when an urge hits, you will distract yourself for a set amount of time. Set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes and involve yourself in a task for that half-hour. It might be reading, watching funny videos online, or playing with or grooming your pet. You can try doing something with your hands, like drawing, painting your fingernails, or cleaning out a drawer or closet. Often, by the time your alarm goes off, the urge will have passed. If not, set it again and keep busy.
- Write in a Journal: Many therapists recommend their patients keep a journal for many reasons, and one way they can come in handy is when experiencing the urge to drink. Sit down in a quiet place with either a journal you handwrite in or at a keyboard and explore why the urge has hit you. It may be an obvious situation, such as having a fight with someone or hearing bad news, but it might be something beneath the surface that will make sense as you write about it. By the time you are done writing, the urge may have passed, providing you with proof that thinking before you act can pay off.
- Contact Someone For Support: One of the most effective ways for how to deal with alcohol cravings is to share your burden with someone else. If you have a sponsor from a support group, contact them. If you don’t have a sponsor or they aren’t available, get in touch with a trusted family member or friend. You can call or text them, or ask if you can get together for a short visit in order to help keep you from having a slip-up. Let them know what you need, which could be just to be distracted, to listen to you process your urge to drink, or to help you brainstorm ways to keep from giving in to the urge.
- Attend a Recovery Meeting: Keep a list handy of support group meetings in your area and those that take place online. Larger cities offer support group meetings, such as 12-step groups, at a variety of locations and times. If going in person isn’t an option, make sure to bookmark websites that feature support groups. Even if a meeting doesn’t start for a few hours, make a deal with yourself that you will not give in to the craving to drink before you talk to others for support.
- Engage in Physical Activity: Often a great tip for how to deal with alcohol cravings involves getting physical. You can try something on the gentle side, like getting out your yoga mat and having a session. If you enjoy activities like running, riding a bike, skateboarding, or doing weight training, take some time to get in a workout. Focusing the mind on physical activity can help distract you, and provide stress relief that can help the urge to drink pass.
- Keep a Success Journal: Recovery from alcohol addiction involves many opportunities to learn how to deal with alcohol cravings. Each time you are successful in battling back and keeping your sobriety, write it down in your Success Journal. Note the reason for the temptation, how you talked yourself out of it, and any ideas for how to avoid a similar situation in the future. Before you know it, you will have a written record you can pull out to remind yourself of how strong you can be.
Alcohol and Drug Treatment in California
If you or a loved one need help to deal with an addiction to alcohol, Launch Centers can provide the help you need. Our Los Angeles program offers multiple choices for treatment, including detox and outpatient care, and assistance managing mental illnesses.
If you are ready to leave alcohol addiction behind you, contact Launch Centers today and let us help guide you.