Alcohol abuse may cause major health issues, such as liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, and some kinds of cancer, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
The odds of being hurt in violent crimes, slips & falls, and auto accidents are all enhanced with moderate drinking.
Cravings for alcohol are like ocean waves in that they can occur at any moment, day, or night. A crucial aspect of recovery is learning to recognize and manage these desires.
The methods and lifestyle choices that can help you get rid of your alcohol cravings are the most crucial information in this work.
Understanding why cravings occur, being aware of triggers, keeping a full schedule, resisting desires, considering the repercussions, and keeping in mind your reasons for sobriety are a few of them.
To determine if it would be better for you to cut back or abstain, it is also crucial to speak with your doctor. Here are ten strategies to assist you in combating your cravings to consume alcohol.
1. Keeping Track Of Your Cravings
Recording your “triggers” for drinking might help you spot both internal and environmental triggers.
Social settings, particular persons, job obligations, and financial difficulties are examples of external triggers. Internal triggers include melancholy, tension, joy, anxiety, grief, and boredom.
Even if compulsions come and go, you may still use them. For instance, if you experience the temptation to drink when you’re stressed, it may indicate that you need to improve how you handle stress and your anxiety.
There are certain apps that require users to record the date, time, strength (1–10), and length of their cravings.
These programs are created to assist people in tracking and overcoming their alcohol cravings.
Making notes of everything enables them to see that cravings change and get stronger or weaker, and maintaining track over time enables them to determine whether their efforts are effective.
2. Identify What Trigger Your Cravings
Early on in your efforts to alter your drinking and control your desires, avoiding things that cause alcohol cravings can be a useful tactic.
For instance, schedule a dinner date with your spouse, go to the gym or invite friends over for supper.
You might also arrange to do something else with other friends or family members at that time.
Here are the two major types of triggers:
- External triggers are persons, places, objects, or times of day that present chances for drinking or serve as reminders to engage in it.
- Internal triggers, your sudden desires to drink, are easier to identify, anticipate, and avoid.
For a few weeks, keep a log of and examine your cravings to drink to understand better when and how they arise, what causes them, and how to stop or manage them.
3. Find Support
It might be challenging to cut back on drinking, but friends and family can support you. You can get assistance from your physician, therapist, or counselor.
Long-term adjustments in alcohol consumption can be explored through therapy with a qualified mental health professional, which can include addressing individual needs, looking at alternative stress management approaches, detecting mental health symptoms, and learning mindfulness and coping mechanisms.
In order to question and reframe unfavorable attitudes or self-beliefs connected to alcohol cravings, cognitive behavioral approaches can also be applied.
You can get over a need by talking to someone else in your life who is attempting to quit drinking.
Your family and friends can provide diversion and emotional support even if you don’t know anybody else.
Sharing anecdotes from your everyday life and reading up on the latest news will help the urge go away in only ten minutes.
4. Divert And Distract Your Urges
It might be easier to resist the impulse to drink if you keep yourself occupied with enjoyable things.
Exercises that assist in reorganizing the brain include swimming, jogging, hiking, playing sports, taking a stroll, canoeing, lifting weights, jumping rope, and even yoga.
In addition, activities like carpentry, sewing, grilling, learning a new language, painting, photography, gardening, camping, fishing, bird watching, or beekeeping help you avoid cravings.
Moreover, socializing with loved ones and friends might help you divert your attention from needing alcohol to having fun sober.
Alcohol use throws off the brain’s chemical balance, which lowers the hormones associated with happiness.
Instead, choose non-alcoholic beverages to keep yourself occupied and get several health advantages. They contain antioxidants, fiber, and necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. B vitamins, calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium, and iron are all in tiny levels.
5. Go For Medications
A prescription drug called naltrexone can lessen the desire to drink or to drink more than usual.
It functions by obstructing the effects of alcohol and opioid medicines in the brain and lessening the desire for drinking. It is offered as a generic tablet and a monthly injection (Vivitrol).
It is especially helpful when combined with psychotherapy since it frees patients from cravings so they may concentrate on the psychological components of recovery.
For people who find it difficult to take their medicine as prescribed, Vivitrol is an excellent option.
Naltrexone is used for moderate drinking in Europe even though the FDA has not authorized it in the United States.
Your primary care doctor might not be willing to provide you with a prescription if you wish to cut back on your drinking. (2)
6. Do Not Give Up!
Most people make multiple efforts before effectively reducing their alcohol intake or quitting entirely.
Before being able to persist with a plan to stop drinking, it is not unusual for someone to attempt and fail repeatedly.
Avoid letting obstacles prevent you from achieving your long-term objective. Everyone can stop drinking if they have the willpower and the work ethic.
Achieving sobriety requires altering one’s surroundings and way of life and setting attainable objectives.
To stay on track, creating a plan with a support network, participating in sobriety-promoting activities, and adopting a self-compassionate mindset are all crucial stages.