Getting sober after battling alcohol use disorder is quite the accomplishment. It is one that not everyone gets the opportunity to realize. Chances are that if you are no longer drinking, you have put in some serious hard work to lay a foundation for your recovery. It is even more likely that you are continuing to do things that help support your recovery so that you do not find yourself at the bottom of the bottle once more. But, despite all of your efforts and the knowledge you have obtained about alcohol use disorder, you might still struggle with common issues, such as figuring out how to reduce alcohol cravings.
Everyone can relate to what it is like to crave something. When a craving sets in, it seems like nothing will feel right until that craving is met. For most people, cravings for something like food can come and go without leaving much damage behind. But, if you are recovering from alcohol use disorder and start craving alcohol, it is not as easy as just letting the craving come and go as it pleases.
So, what are you supposed to do when you experience alcohol cravings in your recovery? You might have some tricks up your sleeve, but even those might not always feel like enough. That is why it is important to uncover several ways to reduce alcohol cravings as you continue on in your recovery.
5 Ways to Reduce Alcohol Cravings
Alcohol use disorder is a disease that cannot be cured, however it can be treated. This means that while there are things that you can do and implement in your life to prevent active alcoholism from developing again, you will always have the disease element. So, just because you aren’t currently drinking does not mean that you are out of the woods. Recovery from alcohol use disorder is a lifelong commitment, which is why it is critical to be aware of some ways to reduce alcohol cravings.
Know Your Triggers
Spend time thinking about what triggers you to want to drink. You may already know what your triggers are, but it may take further examination. Once you identify what triggers you and why, you can begin to develop an action plan to keep from drinking. For example, if you know that you are triggered when you leave everything to the last minute, consider practicing time management and establishing a schedule to prevent that from occurring. Or, if a certain person or place triggers your desire to drink, reconsider that relationship/location to protect your recovery.
Avoid Risky Situations
You get the power to determine how you want your recovery to go. Part of that is deciding on what situations you consider risky and potentially threatening to your recovery. A common example of a risky situation for someone in recovery from alcohol abuse is going to the bar. While you might not be there to drink, the sight, sounds, and smell of the bar can tempt you into wanting to drink again. Or, continuing to hang out with friends who are still drinking or using drugs is considered a risky situation. When the social circle around you engages in substance abuse, it can be hard to be the only one who doesn’t.
Keep a Cravings Log
The cravings you experience may be more cyclical that you think. It can be easy to get caught up in everyday life, so much so that you may not be aware of when your cravings tend to come on. So, keep a log of when you get your cravings. See if you can pinpoint a specific time of day that you are itching to drink again so that you can prepare for it. For example, if you know that every friday afternoon around 3PM you start having cravings to drink, plan something for yourself at that time (such as a kickboxing class, reading a book, meeting up with a friend, etc.).
Call Your Sponsor
Many people who are recovering from alcohol use disorder have found themselves participating in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-Step based groups. Within these groups, it is encouraged to have a sponsor who can not only help you through the steps, but who can also be there when you need support. If you are feeling like you might pick up drinking again, or if you are experiencing emotions that can threaten your sobriety, reach out to your sponsor. Pick up the phone and talk directly with them. Plan to meet for coffee. Or even text them if you are unable to do either. The point is to reach out to your sponsor when you are having cravings so you can be supported to stay on track and focused on your goal of life-long recovery.
Keep Doing the Work to Reduce Alcohol Cravings
Just because you may have completed a treatment program does not mean that you are cured. It certainly helps in the grand scheme of things, but only if you continue to upkeep the progress you made while in treatment. This means that in order to cope with cravings to the best of your abilities, you need to keep up with your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This may mean that you continue to see your therapist regularly or keep carving out time in your day to do something that you enjoy. It may mean that you remain a constant presence in your local AA meetings or that you keep connected to your treatment center’s alumni programming. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you are paying attention to your needs at all times, and strive to never be complacent in your sobriety or take it for granted.
Alcohol Rehab in Los Angeles
If you are addicted to alcohol, or if you are in recovery from an alcohol use disorder and need help, reach out to us right now. At Riviera Recovery, we can help you refocus your goals so that you can achieve sober, happy success.
Do not wait. Call us right now to learn more about how we can help you get moving on the road to recovery.