Alcohol cravings are one of the most prevalent symptoms during alcohol detox and well beyond. These cravings can occur during any stage of an alcohol use disorder, appearing first as alcohol addiction is setting in and lasting even years after alcohol detox. Over time, the alcohol cravings become further apart and can disappear for months or years after becoming sober. They are unpredictable, however, and often it is by giving in that alcohol addiction becomes active once again. There are ways you can combat these alcohol cravings.
Alcohol cravings normally last about fifteen minutes. Take time to make a list of ways you can distract yourself when a craving hits. Maybe do some calisthenics. Grab a pencil and puzzle book, or engage in a hobby you find you must concentrate fully to perform. By focusing your thoughts on something you enjoy, you give your mind something else to do until the craving passes.
Meditation or Mindfulness
Meditation isn’t for everyone, but there are many types of meditation. You can sit and concentrate on emptying your mind or focus on your breathing. By moving your focus away from the cravings, you give them time to dissipate. Another much easier activity is to practice mindfulness. With this activity, you give complete focus to whatever activity you are currently doing. For example, if you are taking a walk, notice the feel of your leg muscles as you lift each leg and set it down, feel the ground under your feet and notice the smells in the air around you. Feel the air entering your lungs and notice how it feels when you exhale. By doing this, you enter a state that many artists call “the zone.” It is a place where only the activity you are doing matters.
Keep Track of Alcohol Cravings
With this method, you have to take notice of your craving. Keep a record of all your cravings in one place. Note the time of day and what activity you were doing when the craving hit. How are you feeling? Note if you are tired, angry, anxious, or hungry. The purpose of this is to try and find what triggers your cravings. With that knowledge, you can focus on finding other ways to deal with those situations, so they no longer becoming triggering events.
When you notice the first pangs of a craving, firmly tell yourself that you do not need to give in. Remind yourself of what happens when you drink and talk about the future that you envision that has no room for alcohol. If it helps, give a personality to your craving and demand that it leaves. Let it know you do not welcome it and won’t be tricked into drinking. You can do these things quietly, in your mind, or say them out loud.
Reach Out for Support
If you are still struggling, reach out to someone in your support network and have them talk you through this. It can be a friend or family member, your AA sponsor, or even pastor at a nearby church. The point isn’t who you ask; it is only to make sure that person understands where you are and helps talk you through this craving.
Here at Compass Detox, we understand the danger of alcohol cravings. They are one of the main ways those dealing with alcohol addiction feel ready to give up on sobriety. Our alcohol detox program is set up to help you fight these cravings now and later. If you or a loved one live with an alcohol use disorder, reach out to us today at 855.526.4915 and talk about entering our alcohol detox program. You have the power to fight this, and we want to help you.