Alcohol cravings are intense, overwhelming urges to drink. These urges are as physical as they are psychological. During active addiction, cravings increase as people need more alcohol to keep their blood alcohol levels high, which prevents them from experiencing the physical symptoms of withdrawal. This intense longing for alcohol can continue even long into a person’s Recovery. You may have noticed your cravings worsen due to external cues — people, places or things that remind you of drinking — or internal triggers like stress or nervousness.
Alcohol cravings can seem overwhelming, discouraging and shameful, but you aren’t alone. The team at 7 Summit Pathways is here to support you wherever you might be in your Recovery. We’ve put together the following tips for handling your urges to drink.
1. Avoid Your Triggers
One of the best ways to handle your cravings is to avoid the things that cause your urges to pop up in the first place.
Triggers look differently for everyone. You might have specific friends who pressure you into drinking with them, or you might be tempted to enter your favorite bar every time you drive past it. Pinpoint your specific trigger points, and, if possible, avoid the people, places, items or emotions that encourage you to drink.
2. Find Coping Strategies for Unavoidable Triggers
It’s not possible to avoid every trigger you’ll face during your Recovery — especially emotional triggers like anxiety or disappointment. Instead, you’ll need to learn how to handle your cravings for alcohol using different coping strategies, such as:
- Distracting yourself: Healthy activities like meditation, exercise, showering or taking a walk are perfect alternatives to drinking if you feel upset or need to let off steam. Finding a hobby that you enjoy — like reading, knitting, journaling or cooking — can also boost your mood while helping you handle your urge to drink.
- Talking to someone: Confide in someone you trust when you feel an overwhelming desire for alcohol. You and a friend can make a plan to talk on the phone when you get a craving, or you can even bring them along to a high-risk event.
- Riding out the feeling: Without giving in to your craving, let it sit. Accept it as a normal and temporary event that will soon pass. As you ride out the feeling, challenge any negative thinking and remind yourself of the reasons you’re choosing to give up your addiction.
3. Eat Right
Since hunger and alcohol cravings can feel similar, you might also lessen your urges with healthy nutrition. Maintain a well-balanced diet with various fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, vitamins and healthy carbohydrates. Cayenne peppers and a diet high in vitamin B might also help you reduce your cravings.
4. Seek Help
There’s nothing braver or more rewarding than building a network of people you trust to walk alongside you in your Recovery. This process starts with treatment from a medical professional and might also include:
- A supportive friend and family group
- Professional detoxification and rehabilitation services aimed at improving your physical, mental and emotional health
- Medications like naltrexone or acamprosate
- Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous
How 7 Summit Pathways Can Help You Handle Your Urges to Drink
Alcohol Addiction can seem almost impossible to overcome on your own, but at 7 Summit Pathways, we are what works. We have several evidence-based treatment plans aimed at both your physical detoxification and your psychological Recovery. We’ll help you put together your ideal treatment to find peace and healing as you recover from your alcohol cravings.