How To Overcome Cravings For Alcohol
When someone craves alcohol, s/he has a visceral desire to drink it in response to certain stimuli, which can originate from withdrawal or a host of environmental factors. For example, staying around people, places, or things associated with your drinking history can quickly drive you into a craving. Whichever the source, cravings are very disorienting to recovering alcoholics.
Handling cravings is the biggest step towards preventing a relapse. Luckily, constructively filling your leisure time to tackle apathy and other negative emotions is a good shot towards maintaining sobriety. In fact, experts encourage recovering individuals to engage in a few new hobbies as a way of distracting cravings and relapses. Unfortunately, not many people have discovered the list of healthily-engaging hobbies for recovering alcoholics. Take a look and consider the following and you’ll say thanks later.
Gardening presents a plethora of benefits besides helping you recover from addiction. The activity comes with physical and mental health fruits, new skills, and a means of experiencing nature differently, just to mention a few. It also relaxes the body. Gardening is a highly-rated support therapy with endorsements from various medical practitioners across the globe. Apart from being a constructive activity for filling your leisure time, it can also keep you away from several environmental stimuli.
Spending time outdoors while engaging in gardening will reduce your stress levels and significantly lower your blood pressure while promoting your immunity and alleviating anxiety. You also get to keep depression at bay while working in your garden. Plus, if you choose to grow food crops (for example vegetables), you get to improve your diet.
As if that’s not enough, gardening is a good meditation alternative. It gets you focused so that you have exceptional mindfulness. And by achieving meditation, you get to mitigate stress and anxiety. You also achieve strong control over your emotions, which can give you a leg up with fighting stimuli.
While it’s also educative, reading is an effective leisure filler that can help you keep alcohol cravings away. According to a certain group of researchers, reading works as well as yoga and humor to keep stress away, while significantly alleviating blood pressure and heart rate. When your psychological stress levels are low, you can better overcome alcohol cravings.
Likewise, reading is an effective depression killer. For example, reading fictional books sweeps you away from the real world full of depression to a whole new world with different people (characters) and events. Non-fictional books, on the other hand, will help you reduce stress and depression through focus and concentration while educating you on various life skills. For example, reading a book on how to overcome certain stimuli can help motivate you even more.
Learn To Play a Musical Instrument
Music is also part of addiction recovery. What’s good, you don’t have to be a seasoned instrument player to use it as a way of sending away cravings. Plus, its advantages are countless, including promoting a sense of good self-image and decreasing anxiety.
For example, playing a musical instrument brings about inward cheerful energy that strongly encourages you to keep your sobriety goals on track without easily giving up. Moreover, music brings people together, which promotes social bonding. When you have good friends with whom you enjoy music (and not alcohol) around you, life seems to take a new course with new people.
Attending regular musical instrument sessions/lessons also helps you develop a strong level of discipline that’s very vital in staying sober. By forcing you into mindfulness (as you can’t play an instrument amid disruption), it also equips you with focus, which is a much-needed skill in staying sober. Also through memories, you get to rebuild a mind-body connection that was seemingly destroyed by alcohol.
Learn To Draw or Paint
Drawing and painting are products of art, which is a major player in the relapse prevention journey. They help you overcome addiction both mentally and physically in a number of innovative ways. For example, both help us reduce stress and anxiety so that we do not submit to such stimuli. When you draw or paint, you can express your emotions through the work of art and relieve yourself of it as a result. What’s good, you don’t have to be perfect in it; only some little concepts and you’re good to go.
Drawing and painting are also useful to tackling personal trauma like a child and sexual abuse. When you express such trauma in art, you get to face it in a different way. And you’re likely to overcome it this way, especially by taking a look at the drawing and or painting frequently to successfully release the memories in a safe environment.
By attending drawing and painting sessions with others, you also get to build a solid group of new friends with whom you have a common interest. Such people fill the gap left by your old friends, which is very constructive.
Go To Meetings
Meetings help provide much support to recovery from alcoholism, especially to individuals who went through rehab and used to have a support network. For example, if you attend meetings with people who successfully recovered from alcohol use, you can get invaluable encouragement and support from them. The meetings themselves are a special distraction to cravings.
The group to which you belong has an important role here. For example, it can be a mutual support group in which you have similar goals and can support one another better. A study indicates that recovering individuals who helped others with the same problem reported fewer cases of depression. When you lend a hand to others with the same condition as you, you get to feel good about yourself. One study indicates that you get twice as many benefits when you help others with the same problem as you than when you help others with a different problem from yours.
The Bottom Line
Hobbies provide a constructive distraction from craving stimuli that usually attack you when you’re idle. They’re a perfect leisure filler that can lead to other benefits, like making new friends and learning new skills. If you’re looking for top-ranking hobbies for recovering alcoholics, our recommendations will serve you perfectly. Meanwhile, we wish you a successful recovery.
2. Alcoholics Anonymous-Related Helping and the Helper Therapy Principle (By Maria E. Pagano, Ph.D., Stephen G. Post, Ph.D., and Shannon M. Johnson, BA).
3. Helping Others & Long-term Sobriety (By MARIA E. PAGANO et Al).
4. TheDiscoveryHouse: 9 Unique Hobbies For Recovering Alcoholics
5. Leisure Time After Giving Up Drugs And Alcohol (American Addiction Centers)