The good news for those of us who struggle with alcohol is that if we ignore cravings for long enough, over time our brains will readjust and the cravings will disappear. Completely! I'm 8 years past my last drink now and I never, ever get a craving to pick up.
I did at the start however, big time. So this video gives some tips on how to deal with cravings while you're waiting for your brain to heal.
Understand that a craving feels like a wave. It peaks in intensity and then calms down - usually after 30 minutes. So if you can delay and distract for a while, you'll be able to relax soon enough. Think of it like surfing an urge and know that you'll be chilling on the sandy shore again soon.
Have some activities up your sleeve to distract yourself. I used to clean the house, others go for a run or play with the dog. Do whatever you need to do. Here's a helpful list of ideas for what you might do when a craving strikes.
Being aware of your triggers is super helpful, the places, situations and people that cause you to crave alcohol. Know what they are and work to avoid them if at all possible.
Keep very strong images in mind of climbing into bed sober and waking up hangover free. These visualisations are so powerful.
So is talking out loud about what is going on in your head. Tell someone in your house that you're haivng a craving or just say it out loud to yourself. Writing it out can also really help - however you do it, externalising your thoughts is an effective tool.
And above all, when a craving hits, reach out and connect with others who know what they're like and how hard they are to deal with. You can do this in your community, or you can do it online in Facebook groups, group chats or communities like this one here at Living Sober. Connecting with others works. We need each other. We can help each other. And together, we can kick those shit cravings to the curb.
Mrs D xxx
Nice, quick tips. Thanks.
The articles and posts are very helpful. I am only on day 2. It’s disturbing how it messes with your head. I had a pretty awful childhood and vowed I would never drink. I have a different perspective now, I have more compassion for my parents and siblings, but I want control back. I don’t want to be known as tipsy grandma. I crave clarity, even if it means I have to deal with some bad feelings and thoughts. Does anyone have suggestions for something to sip in the evenings, instead of wine?
Drinking too much and looking at cutting right back, impacting on life,
Have an appointment to have a good chat with my GP,
There’s some good reading on here, keep up the good work everyone.
Righting this as I have, hopefully, my last drink this week. My first goal is to cut down to a few days a week and slowly from there stop. I find myself drinking for no reason now, pretty kuch every night. I know it won’t be easy but I want to make the change
Sorry for bad english
Day 1 here. About my 100th Day 1 actually, but I’ve always tried to do it alone. I’m 72 and don’t want to spend the next 20 years with the guilt and shame I feel now. The HALTS is a good first tip for me – thank you.
Hi Makam, I’m 73 and like you I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life waking up feeling terrible, guilty, ashamed and not remembering what happened the evening before. I’m now Day 15. With the help of this site and the support of this community you never know what you can accomplish. One hour, then two and gradually One day. Take care.
How are you getting on?
I’m 61 and trying to get Day 1 under my belt since forever.
Today I will try HALTS….
Hi all I’m 1 day sober hoping everyday I can get through without a drink…
My drinking has got out of hand since I lost my 27yr old son to suicide last lockdown
I am so ashamed of needing to use alcohol to help numb the pain
It’s my go too and I desperately want to change that.
Need support please
First time iv reached out
I my gosh Pixie I can’t (and don’t want to…) imagine your pain. Sending you love and prayers. I hope you have some good support around you.
Good on you for reaching out. Please do not be ashamed you are trying your best to deal with so much pain. How are you today?
Drink plenty of water flush out the system, also eat plenty of fruit to replace the sugar you no longer have from the alcohol.
Im going to start day 1,today let you know how I get on
I’m on day 2 of no drinking really wanting one though the urge to go buy a drink is really high
I’m into my second week of no drinking. I am feeling good, though quite high strung so I crave a glass of wine to calm my nerves, and relax. But I am learning to get through without succumbing to the craving. I am still feeling a bit ‘wired’ at times and yet, I do feel I am retraining my brain, and wonder if my body is also adjusting. I crave alcohol when I am sitting with hubby, and his beer before or after dinner. I hope I can find a sipping drink that is non alcoholic to enjoy those times.
Day 3. Yesterday I noticed I had the craving. And like the video advise, it came and went and will no doubt come back again. I did distract myself while the urge was there and when I got into bed last night I was proud of myself for being sober and knew I would wake up feeling more like myself x
Craving hard not for any reason. Kids outside I’ve got 20 mins to get some dinner sorteded it’s like a ticking time bomb. Want to swig, need to swig almost got the shakes trying not too. Day 4 here, feel bloody amazing so don’t know why I’m finding it hard todau
I’m on day 4 (again!) and have the exact same scenario, finding it so hard, was so close to bundling the kids in the car and heading down to the shops…now the cravings have passed and am feeling calm again. So pleased I didn’t cave. Really need to work on getting through these cravings in these early days. All the best kmcn, one day at a time! Loved the tips in here going to try and be a bit more aware of these cravings tomorrow and getting through them.
Day 1…let’s do this! LOVE the HALTS. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Stressed.
I am usually many of those and will work on different ways of addressing them that doesnt revolve around alcohol.
To come to a point of realisation of ones self harm with alcohol and admitting it feels embarrassing but very liberating at the same time. Listening to the tips about cravings and other things I can achieve in my life brings hope and new adventures to explore. I can’t wait……
Am so disappointed with myself. I was sober for 16 years, then for no reason I can explain I just had a craving…..had suddenly become jealous of people who can handle drink when I can’t…
For a few months previously, I found myself hacked off at all these “share a crisp glass of wine with your friends on the deck” type of property ads. And one day I suddenly was thinking: well why not try a taste of wine today……can’t hurt because you’ve been sober so long, you’re in control. The rest is obvious. Only once a week …but I choose to demolish the best part of one and a half bottles of wine. I am lonely as a new empty nester: been in NZ 17 years but never made that many friends as I never worked and am not sporty. I know I just have to beat the cravings….I know I can do it but it really helps to be able to off-load Thanks for listening
i know exactly how you feel. well, no one can know exactly and that sounds kind of patronising but I was sober for about 16 years and then in pandemic with my husband dead , my son left home with a shitty girlfriend and my brother died I just thought who caresif I drink or not and so all during pandemic I hid and drank alone …….. today I hate myself but am on day 3 again………… after trying for a few times to quit again. in 2 weeks I am 65 ………………. I have to have a refit of my life………….. i’m with you mate .
Good luck! I’m day 1 as just had a health scare and went in a three day bender! Hope your ticking along ok 👍
Morning everyone the time here is 0850, iam starting day 5 iam feeling strong with no urges. I’ve been working hard to remain sober reading everything I can on recovery. I love the warmth of this site, iam so glad I found you all, there are no accidents, everything happens, for a reason, keep on keeping on God bless.
Ahh Mrs D… you have turned up in my life again. I read your book about a year ago and have been changing my relationship with alcohol… except when i dont. Am also in NZ and have just found this site.
Day 4. The past 3 days of withdrawal have been sheer hell. But this morning, I woke up feeling great, with a lightness of being. I also, paradoxically, want to cry my eyes out. I told my daughter I’m an alcoholic. I told my best friend. They offered their support before I could ask for it. I am terrified though, after reading so many posts on this site, that it seems easy to relapse. I don’t want to go there. I’m nervous about the cravings. I’m stubborn, so hopefully that is enough to get me through. Your image of getting into bed sober and getting up without a hangover may be just the visual aid I need!
Yes…please make more videos as it feels like a support meeting…it helps so much. But also the simplicity but depth of your writing is so meaningful…both are so helpful. Your journey has changed the way i look at this part of my life! You have helped so many! Thanks for still being here…
Love it – I hope that you make a lot more!
That was great. I had forgotten about halts, from rehab. Thanks for the reminder.