Hello Everyone. It’s been 3 years since I initially joined this community. In the 3 years I tried (unsuccessfully) to stop drinking. I’m back again and I’m hoping that this time I can stay sober. Today marks 12 days sober. I’ve been reflecting and reading and keeping myself busy and it’s been working but for some reason today, in particular, was a struggle. I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store crying because I so badly wanted to buy a bottle of wine. I didn’t give in. Instead I bought mocktail sangria.
I know everyone is different but for those of you have been sober for some time, is there ever a time where the cravings are not daily? Will mocktails serve as a trigger?
I promise you it gets better. I remember sobbing with self pity and wondering when it would end. I never thought I could or would quit drinking. I can say without a doubt I never think about it now and I drank a bottle of wine every single day for years. Now I am almost 5 years sober and it was worth it. Hang in there please. You just have to trust me.
Hi stepstosober! Congrats on day 12! You should be past the bulk of the physical withdrawal by now. It’s time to start building up your sober toolbox to help you get through the mental cravings. I made the decision to not drink everyday. It’s not easy but it is doable. In early days I dwelled on not drinking. I thought about not drinking all the time. What helped me is asking myself what I should do at any given moment since I don’t drink. I was fragile for quite awhile. I gingerly relearned how to do everything without a drink nearby. I wasn’t aware of how dramatically my way of thinking would change. At 13 months, I think I’ve leveled off but at 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months my feelings and thoughts were at very different stages of brain healing. I guess that’s why its recommended to not make any big decision in the first year. I rarely get a craving now, or even think about drinking, but when I do it passes quickly. I stayed away from mocktails. To me it feels like a desire to hang onto the drinking lifestyle. I found a couple drinks I like which look good in the sun or sparkle in holiday lights so I don’t get fomo. At first I needed the “bite” so opted for soda and lime or soda and cranberry. Now I drink LaCroix, plain water, or diet cranberry gingerale. Hope this helps! Welcome back!
Fantastic @stepstosober! It is so hard, the cravings can be intense, and great that you powered through. I don’t find mocktails triggering. And the cravings ease up soon. Annie Grace has great resources on her site, and good videos on youtube where she answers people’s questions, v helpful. I love her one on why moderation doesn’t work. : ) week-end!
@stepstobesober yes, the cravings minimize over time and I agree on avoiding any non-alcoholic beers, wines etc. I think in the beginning they can trigger real cravings. I love this group as it emphasizes that we all need each other. We need other sober buddies to talk to….we aren’t supposed to do this thing alone. You are in the right place and I’m happy you are back.
Hi @stepstosober You say “is there ever a time where the cravings are not daily?” Yes… definately they stop. We don’t manage to stay alcohol-free by getting better at beating cravings, we do it because the cravings lessen over time. Eventually thet get small enough that we can step over them without too much trouble then they fade to nearly nothing. They never totally go away, but they stop interfering with our day-to-day living.
Cravings are launched by drinking “triggers”; circumstances that have yielded in the past. When we meet the circumstances of a trigger (like sitting in the car-park of somewhere we used to buy booze) then the trigger is fired and we get a craving. Two things make cravings more powerful… the number of times that the trigger has been successful in securing alcohol, and closeness. Over time we accumulate many, many triggers and a lot of these become very powerful indeed. But just as triggers become more powerful (and the cravings they induce get stronger) through successfully delivering alcohol, they lose strength when they are not successful. We decrease the power of cravings by denying them.
Every time we deny a craving then the intensity of the next craving to come from that trigger is diminished.
This is how we overcome cravings… not by getting better at resisting them, but because they diminish every time we resist them. Eventually they cease to be troublesome, but at first the challenge is huge… we have so many triggers and most of these trigger produce powerful cravings. It’s hard, but it slowly gets easier and easier.
Hi @enzedgirl re “i think it’s also true that we get much more skilled at managing cravings” Yes, for sure! We have no direct control over cravings… they occur completely automatically and we can’t stop that, but we CAN change how we respond to them and we CAN to a significant extent manage how we expose ourselves to them. Both of these will help us get through those crucial first weeks. Regarding dealing with the cravings that come we’ve the straightforward; delay, distract, and deny tools, but if we work carefully on the “distract” one then we can avoid one craving triggering another… once we start to dwell on the idea of having a drink then we’ve going to keep re-triggering ourselves. But also in the early weeks we need to think about reducing our exposure to triggers. We can overcome a craving far better when we know it is coming, but fighting off cravings is exhausting, so another thing we can do is space them out a bit so that our resolve doesn’t get completely depleted. We know the times of day/week that are going to be the most challenging so we can deliberately fill that time in a way that completely occupies us… leaving no space for the craving to enter. We can also plan to expose ourselves to certain triggers in controlled ways… socializing, going into bars etc, celebrations… these are things we can elect to do or forego for a while, and if we choose to do them then we can prepare the circumstances (be accompanied, have a way to leave etc, etc).
There is a great deal we can do to help ourselves with cravings, and we can do the same for the other challenges… lies our minds create, changed emotional state, and biased memory.
As you say “we get more skilled…” We can do this by figuring it out for ourselves as we go along, or we can take advantage of the experience of others (when we find it convincing). The second route favors fewer relapses. My experience was that the more I was able to learn from others the easier I made my own path… but as with so many things in recovery… that is far easier to say than do.
Hi @stepstosober I’m on day 12 again today too. Have tried heaps to stop. And also to moderate but thats a big fail right there. My OH wanted to go to the pub tonight but i didnt really trust myswlf to not drink. The old wine witch was knocking on the door telling me that it would only be one. But we all know that it wouldnt stop at that. So I’m home with my soda cookibg dinner and chilling out. And lookibg firward to that lovely sober sleep! Yay! Have a good weekend. X
I’m on day 12 and cravings started. I knew damn well I needed to get home and not go out. In fact I stood in the shower for ten minutes until I relaxed. I’m in my p.j.s happy as Larry now but either I was tired or hungry or both. Friday. Poo. End of the week. P.S. I smell nice lol.
I don’t do low alcohol or no alcohol drinks as they trigger me, yet alcohol in offs or deserts is fine. Ride the urge, delay distract, take a different road home, change your routine, imagine how you want life to be as a healthy sober person
I’m day 12 too!! Congrats!! I had a very similar experience at the supermarket car park, but instead I kept driving, I drove until I forgot why I was driving 🤷♀️ I haven’t had a bad episode since thank god 🙏 But I’m avoiding anything that could trigger me. Are your cravings getting less intense? Hang in there you can get through this!! 💪🏻
what great advice you have here from people who are from single digits to many many digits in their day count. a daveh said, @stepstosober and what other have said about avoiding triggers by not drinking nonalcoholic versions of the poison. i agree, i am trying not to glorify, romanticize alcohol. the taste would still be a trigger for me even if there was no alcohol. the triggers and getting through it – is exhausting, so sleep when you need to. i forgot how tiring it was to just go to a socializing event where i usually had multiple drinks with multiple people and loud laughter and forgotten words, it was EXHAUSTING to be there. of course, you are finding your own way. a way that will bring you benefit after benefit, second by second, hour by hour, day by day.