I’ve noticed after 10 days the major cravings are gone. Unfortunately for me there are always fleeting (or sometimes longer) moments of craving. You have to do the work of playing it forward and reminding yourself that the buzz you get for half an hour (if that and that’s the only part that really feels good) is really not worth it.
Hi @Sam27 Cravings don’t come randomly. Each craving is launched when we find ourselves in circumstances that have previously yielded alcohol: these are what we call our drinking triggers, and we amass hundreds of them. Triggers get more powerful (cause more intense cravings) dependant on how many times they have been successful in getting us to drink. When we stop drinking then we experience cravings but don’t drink in response to them. THIS is what causes individual triggers (and the cravings they cause) to lose their power. So as we continue to not drink we steadily take the power from the triggers that we experience. I.e. we take the intensity out of the cravings from triggers associated with our normal daily routines first. But we do not take the strength out of all our triggers, only the ones we meet regularly. The triggers we don’t meet often still retain their strength (typically these are triggers that come from some behaviour/routine that we don’t regularly follow any more). As we continue to be alcohol-free then, in general, the intensity of the cravings we experience will fade until they cease to be so severe that struggle to fight them. When this happens we still experience cravings, but they cease to be disruptive. BUT… not all the triggers have been de-powered; some remain untouched. When we fire a powerful trigger that still has its full strength then this sets off an intense craving that catches us un-prepared. So just watch out for this and know that it will happen at some point, and some of these powerful triggers can lie dormant for years (e.g. drinking routines attached to a former place of work). The duration of intense cravings varies from individual to individual as some people are sicker than others: in some the drinking triggers are more powerfully developed than others so they take longer to drive down. But regardless of the individual this is measured in terms of some weeks, not days. As the challenge of the cravings recedes a new challenge rises in front of us, and that is that our brain start to generate lies to try to get us to drink again. The lies have been there all along, but when we first stop drinking it is the cravings that are our major challenge. Once the cravings subside then the lies become the big challenge. Cravings challenge our ability to stay sober, but the lies challenge our will to do so.
This is extremely interesting @DaveH. I’m more than 18 months into this journey and the lies are beginning to talk to me. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Why now? The cravings are gone but my brain has recently been telling me how much I am missing out. Also, I hadn’t thought about triggers that lie dormant. I thought by now I had dealt with all of them so I will be on guard. You have explained what is going on so well. Thanks for a very timely post.