Getting through detox or going through a treatment program does not mean that your battle against alcoholism is over. Even though you may have built up a strong network of support and grown to enjoy a life of sobriety, you may still find yourself dealing with alcohol cravings. It doesn’t mean that you are a failure, just that you are human. Learn more about what causes your alcohol cravings and how you can manage those urges when they occur.
What Are Alcohol Cravings?
There’s no scientific diagnosis that explains the urges typically experienced by people in recovery from alcohol addiction. Your brain had gotten to a state where it got used to functioning with the presence of alcohol. Withdrawing from alcohol causes the suppression of certain chemicals in the brain. That causes the brain to start sending signals to your body to provide it with more alcohol so that it can go back to what it considers normal, which is operating with alcohol.
Specific triggers can also cause us to experience alcohol cravings. The brain starts associating certain memories with the pleasures that come from drinking. Whenever we come across one of those triggers, the brain can start begging us to consume alcohol again so that it can once again experience those pleasures.
What Can You Do to Deal With Alcohol Cravings?
The best way of handling your alcohol cravings depends on the cause. For example, if you are not yet in a state of recovery, your urges are likely the immediate result of going through withdrawal. It’s best to consult a doctor or addiction health specialist about managing alcohol cravings during that stage.
If you find yourself experiencing alcohol cravings because of various triggers, you should have a plan for handling those situations. It takes time and practice to undo the way your brain associates different experiences with alcohol.
1. Stay Away From High-Risk Situations
Once you get past the first stages of recovery, you may start to relax and feel that you have your sobriety under control. That can be when you find yourself unexpectedly having alcohol cravings. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay away from situations where there will be alcohol, like going to a bar with friends.
Until you find yourself on a more stable footing, learn to say no to invitations from friends and family. While there may be some hurt feelings, you should not feel guilty about making your sobriety a top priority. When alcohol cravings become more manageable, you can decide whether you are mentally prepared to ease yourself back into specific social situations.
2. Find Ways to Counter the Urges
If you’re having difficulty avoiding situations that trigger alcohol cravings, look for ways to distract yourself. Physical activity can allow you to channel that desire differently. You can also try practicing yoga or meditation techniques to calm your mind.
Another option is to ask your doctor about medication options to control your alcohol cravings. There are prescriptions available that can reduce the intensity of your urges. Some can cause your body to have an adverse reaction if you do end up having a drink. Keep your mind open to anything that can help you maintain your hard-won recovery.
3. See a Therapist About Your Alcohol Cravings
Making and keeping appointments with a mental health specialist can give you an outlet to talk about your alcohol cravings. They can reinforce the coping techniques you originally learned while in treatment. Talking about what you are going through can help you back on track and give you the strength to manage any future alcohol cravings.
Learn to Control Alcohol Cravings
Midwest Detox Center helps clients dealing with alcohol cravings. We also offer a variety of services to help people with addiction, including: