How to Handle Alcohol Cravings So They Do Not Derail Your Recovery
Alcohol and drug addictions are bog problems in the United States today. It has been estimated that more than 130 million Americans consumed alcohol on a regular basis in 2014. Not including smoking, more than 20 million people in the United States who are 12 years old or older suffer from an addiction. For people who suffer from an addiction, more than 90% report that they started before they reached the age of 18 years old. The pain or discomfort that many people experience as they go through the detox process is one big deterrent to quitting drugs or alcohol and is one reason many people keep using and avoid alcohol and drug treatment facilities.
Cravings are a natural part of the recovery process. Whatever stage of the recovery process you are in, from detox and beyond, it is totally normal to experience some cravings. They are very, very common during the detox or withdrawal phases. They can also resurface years after a person has stopped using drugs or drinking alcohol. This can be particularly upsetting. For someone who may have gone though an alcohol addiction treatment program to experience cravings a decade later can really throw them off their game.
Educate Yourself about What Cravings Are and Are Not:
- Experiencing cravings foes not mean that your withdrawal strategy or your detox techniques are not working.
- You do not experience cravings because you lack motivation or do not have an adequate level of willpower. Experiencing cravings does not mean you are not doing what you need to be doing nor does it mean you are failing in your recovery or doing something you should not be doing.
- Your cravings will not last forever. They are usually self limiting and short lived.
- Stress, physical pain and/or psychological distress can be a trigger for cravings. The detox and withdrawal phase of your recovery is very uncomfortable physically and psychologically. If you experience cravings during these periods of your recovery, doing things to make that less uncomfortable may help prevent cravings.
Craving Management is Possible:
- If you can, look to identify your triggers that may be the cause of the cravings that you experience. People are often triggered by certain places, people and things that bring up memories of drinking alcohol. This is one reason that people in alcohol recovery programs are often told that they need to change everything in their lives. They recommend starting new habits such as going to support group meetings to replace the time spent drinking.
- Try to remember the reasons you wanted to quit drinking alcohol. Maybe you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), maybe you were told by your employer that you had to stop your drinking to keep your job. Whatever your reasons, everyone who stops drinking has a reason for wanting to do it. If you need to, make a list of the reasons you have decided to stop drinking and keep it with you. Look at it when you start to find yourself experiencing cravings.
- Help is available, take advantage of it. Many people in recovery programs say that the phone weighs about one thousand pounds when they need help. Making the phone call asking for help may seem like the hardest thing in the world to do. The more you take advantage of the help that is all around you, the easier it will be.
- Finding your spiritual side can help. Many people find peace and serenity in prayer and meditation. These activities can help calm the mind and body and help people deal with the detox and withdrawal process. If you feel a bad craving, meditate or pray for 30 minutes. You may find the craving has passed when you are done.
Three Things You Need to Remember About Addiction to Alcohol:
- This is a disease. It is a fatal one if you do not treat it and work to recover from it.
- You need a support network. The best way to get over an alcohol addiction is not to go it alone.
- Professional help is available. Seek it out to improve your chances for success.
You can recover from this if you work at it and get help.