Alcohol addiction is the worst of all addictions, and if you are managed to defeat this addiction, congratulations to you. But I bet this journey is not simple, and there is a long road ahead with hurdles and obstacles. Experiencing alcohol cravings is one of such barriers that can hinder your progress. Alcohol craving is the overwhelming urge to drink alcohol, and it can last for 5 to 20 minutes.
Cravings are faced by almost every person going through addiction, and it can be difficult to curb these feelings. However, cravings are normal and a person experiencing abuse, misuse or addiction goes through chemical changes, and cravings are a way for our body to manifest this change. However, battling these cravings lets you reset your brain and body.
These cravings can be physical and psychological. Physical ravings include headache, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, frustration, physical weakness and shakiness, and inability to sleep. Psychological cravings include the inability to resist the drinking thoughts and think about anything else, anxiety, sadness and irritable mood. These cravings are usually set off when a person goes through triggering situations like stressful, difficult, sad, happy, or relaxing. Meeting specific friends, going to specific situations like clubs or social gatherings, coming late from the office, or being home alone on holiday.
There are various ways you can adapt to deal with and manage these cravings.
1. Identifying and avoiding triggering situations
As mentioned above, different person has triggering situations. Some feel the urge to drink alcohol when they are stressed, while others like to have a drink when they are happy or want to celebrate. It is best to make a list of situations instead of taking mental notes. Having a visual prompt can help you identify the ways to avoid these triggers.
2. Practicing relaxation exercises including deep breathing, relaxation exercises, imagery and mindfulness.
Relaxation exercises are beneficial to curb anxiety and related symptoms. These exercises help you feel relaxed, clear your mind and let you monitor your thoughts mindfully. Practicing these exercises daily helps you deal with cravings without stress.
3. Engaging in physical exercise
Physical exercises make you healthy, restore your body system and distract you from craving-related thoughts and urge.
4. Eating healthy
Drink plenty of water, fulfil your sugar cravings, and eat healthily. Prepare your meals from scratch; it will keep you distracted, let you keep a check and balance on your eating, and you can learn to cook without compromising your budget.
5. Learning a new skill or something you are afraid of
Learn something new, a new language, a new skill or a new hobby. You can take dance classes, gardening lessons, crochet, wood-working candle making, and there are endless more options. Or you can learn something you are afraid of, i.e., you can overcome your fear of heights, speaking in public, or fear of darkness.
6. Having a set of coping strategies at hand
You should have a set of coping techniques with you all the time. Make a list and keep it in your wallet; write various strategies on sticky notes and place it on your mirror in the bathroom, on your refrigerator in your living room etc.
7. Actively engaging in the recovery process
If you are in therapy, ask questions, and discuss every concern, how minor it seems to you. Do research, study books and talk to people who went through the same issues. Whenever you feel weak, remember the purpose of your life.
8. Mentoring a newly sober person
Mentor a newly sober person; this will let you share your experiences and help you keep checking and balancing your habits and lifestyle.
9. Staying in touch with your AA group members
If you are experiencing difficulty, talk to your AA group, regularly attend AA groups and discuss your problems and issues.
10. Know when to contact your therapist
If things are getting out of your hand, you feel that you can go into a spiral, and your strategies are not working enough, talk to your therapist. He can assess your problem, help you identify any new triggers, you can revise your coping strategies and can learn something new and more effective.
It is never too late to rethink your alcohol misuse, abuse or addiction and work your way to eliminate this lethal habit from your life. There are no tricks, no shortcuts in life. You just need effective strategies, a changed outlook and an empathetic support system. You can do almost everything in your life.