8 Tips for Dealing With Alcohol Cravings

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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

  1. 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.
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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. 

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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