For anyone undergoing alcohol recovery, cravings are inevitable. The body largely overcomes its physical dependence on alcohol after a few days of non-drinking, but for the mind, old habits remain tough to break. A person who has been drinking regularly for years cannot just flip a switch and instantly shut off those tendencies. The urge to drink remains. Though things will likely get better with time, the cravings will probably never go away completely.
Successful alcohol recovery depends on the addict’s ability to deal with cravings. In all likelihood, you will learn some skills for dealing with cravings in your treatment program. Eventually, though, you will probably run into a situation where the temptation is great and the standard coping mechanisms seem all but futile. When one of these moments hits, here are some things to keep in mind.
- All cravings pass. Most cravings only last a short time. When you are in the moment, it may feel like you are going to explode if you do not get a drink, but do not give in to this feeling. Have faith that the craving will run its course, and you might be surprised by how quickly it does go away. Some cravings last no more than a few minutes.
- Divert your attention. Whenever you get a craving, the worst thing you can possibly do is sit around and think about it. In alcohol recovery, you will learn how crucial it is to get your mind on something else as soon as a craving starts. Develop a set of activities you can do to occupy yourself in these difficult moments. Absorb yourself in something else for a few minutes, and your craving will likely fade.
- Talk to someone. During the alcohol recovery process, it is a good idea to find a couple of people in your life who can serve as your go-to sources of comfort during your difficult moments. Try to have at least one person you can call at any day and any time. Then, do not worry about being a burden. If you have a trustworthy, caring person in your life, then they will likely be happy to help in your time of need.
- Remember the negatives. Recovering alcoholics get in trouble when they focus excessively on how much they used to enjoy drinking. It is much healthier and more productive to think instead about all the reasons why you entered recovery in the first place. Alcoholism is a destructive force, and going back to that place will only do damage. Plus, think about all the effort you have put into alcohol recovery. Do not let it all go to waste.
Do you suspect that you may be an alcoholic? Are you under the influence of alcohol at all times? Is your habit beginning to affect your work or your relationship with your loved ones? Stepping up and declaring that you are an alcoholic takes great courage, but the first step of recovering from addiction is admitting to the problem. If you’ve tried to stop and you think that you have lost hope on all types of alcohol recovery treatments, think again. Maybe you just didn’t do it right the first time. There’s still hope for you yet. You should never give up.
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