If you ask several people who struggle with addiction how to deal with alcohol cravings, you might get a different answer from each one. Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for cravings. You can feel good knowing that your cravings will eventually begin to occur less frequently as you continue with your recovery, but they can still happen at any time.
Alcohol impacts the reward center in your brain, and being in certain situations or around specific people can trigger the memory that associates drinking with pleasure. Memories about drinking often leave out all of the negative parts. You might struggle to remember the hangovers and consequences that come with picking up an alcoholic beverage. These are a few of the best ways to curb alcohol cravings that you can implement in your sober living community.
Start Tracking When You’re Craving Alcohol
Learning how and when your cravings tend to happen gives you insight into what might work to help them pass quicker. You can use an app or a journal to track your cravings. Find what works for you and write down your craving’s time, duration, and intensity. This can help you see they don’t happen all the time and tend to vary in intensity.
Change How You View Alcohol Cravings
The desire to stop alcohol cravings is natural. However, it might be better to embrace them for now. You can learn a lot from tracking your cravings. After you’ve tracked them for a while, pull out your information and do an informal analysis. Do you notice that you are having more cravings in the evening? If so, you might need to find an activity to keep you busy during that time. You may also notice that you get intense cravings after you talk to a family member. This can help you understand that you have work to do in your counseling sessions to uncover the reason why.
Remember That Alcohol Cravings Only Last So Long
The average craving lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, but it can feel much longer while it’s happening. As you start craving alcohol, take a look at the clock and remind yourself that it will pass. You can also view cravings as a wave. They tend to start off small and rise to a specific point before falling back off. Picturing yourself riding this wave can help you feel stronger as you notice the craving coming to an end.
Check for an Obvious Cause of the Craving
It almost sounds too simple, but cravings sometimes happen when you have a basic physical need. For instance, you might be thirsty and can stop the craving by making an ice-cold non-alcoholic drink. Since alcohol triggers your brain’s reward system, you might also find that swapping out a drink for a favorite snack can help give you a sense of satisfaction. Even taking a nap could be all your body needs to feel refreshed. Take it easy on yourself right now, and go with what feels good as long as it isn’t alcohol.
Curb Alcohol Craving With a Physical Activity
You can’t drink and play basketball at the same time. Nor can you go for a vigorous swim. Doing something physical makes it practically impossible to drink, and you’ll find that it keeps your mind occupied. Doing a yoga sequence or lifting weights also reminds you of the good things you are doing for your health.
Try a Relaxation Technique to Conquer the Root of the Craving
Mindfulness meditation is one of the go-to tricks for working through a craving. Filling your mind with thoughts about things that are going on in your immediate surroundings leaves less room for your mind to wander to thoughts of drinking. You can also experiment with other relaxation techniques. Visualization exercises, writing in a journal, or having a therapeutic massage can all help reduce the stress that triggers cravings.
Rely On Social Support to Stop Alcohol Cravings
Reaching out to other people who know how to deal with alcohol cravings has many benefits for helping you get past a challenging moment. Life in a sober community provides many opportunities to talk to someone when you feel the need to pick up a drink. Not only can your sober friends remind you of your reasons for quitting drinking, but they’ll also be ready to distract you with games, music, or just making dinner that makes alcohol cravings a thing of the past. Leaning on someone else until you feel stronger is one of the best ways to discover how to manage your cravings.
Our sober living community is located in Nashville, TN. NRhythm is staffed with a dedicated team of recovery professionals who make helping men overcome addiction their passion in life. Our goal is to help everyone who comes through our doors become their best selves. Reach out to us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you get started on your road to recovery.