Even alcoholics who have been in recovery for decades occasionally experience a craving for a drink. Part of admitting you’re an alcoholic and going into recovery is knowing that you’ll never be able to drink, even in moderation, and that you’ll need to be prepared to deal with cravings rather than give into them.
Recovery means acquiring the tools for dealing with a wide array of feelings that may trigger cravings or even a relapse. The following are just a few of the things to tell yourself when you experience an alcohol craving.
1. This feeling will pass.
Simply acknowledging the fact that craving for alcohol is a temporary feeling is often enough. Reminding yourself of this makes the craving less significant and less deserving of your attention. You can continue on with the day without letting cravings overwhelm you.
It’s also a good idea to remind yourself of why you got sober in the first place and remind yourself of the way you felt when you started out. Remembering how you overcame the fear, loneliness, and desperation that seemed so powerful at first is a good way to reset your perspective when it comes to feelings.
2. It’s not worth risking my sobriety.
This is another way to step back from craving and gain some perspective. Is it really worth having a drink because I’m feeling angry, sad, bored, or I want to celebrate? There are so many alternatives for dealing with these emotions, as well as celebrating an event with friends or family.
There is really nothing that makes having a drink and risking your sobriety worthwhile. Remind yourself of what would happen if you did have that one drink. The repercussions would be much worse than facing the emotions you are having today.
3. There’s an important reason why I don’t drink.
Oftentimes we forget or lose touch with the reasons why we got sober in the first place. This is especially common with those who have been in recovery for a long time. It may seem that because everything’s going well, having just one drink wouldn’t do any harm. Remind yourself that alcoholism can’t be cured and that you quit drinking for a reason. Whether it be because you ruined relationships, a career, family, or just made too many bad decisions, it’s important to revisit the factors that led you to recovery.
4. What would I tell people?
This is another good way to stop a craving in its tracks. Having a drink would mean telling the friends, family members, and peers in recovery that you started drinking again. Oftentimes just the thought of disappointing the people who believed in you during your roughest times is enough to put a craving in its place.
5. Remember what drinking did to my body, looks, health, etc.?
Anyone who has gotten sober can tell you how much healthier, happier, and more focused they look and feel. Going back through old photos or simply remembering how unhealthy drinking made you look and feel back in the day can be enough motivation to continue to stay sober.
6. Do I want to deal with a hangover?
Hangovers are awful. The headaches, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea are enough to make anyone never want to touch a drink again. Remind yourself of how terrible you felt on those mornings after a drinking binge. Chances are, you won’t want to revisit those days. It will give you a renewed appreciation for the clarity and focus that sobriety brings.