So here it is… you have set yourself goals for being sober and not drinking alcohol, and now you find yourself craving the very thing that you promised yourself you wouldn’t have. What can you do about it?
The first thing to remember is that alcohol addiction is 90-95% psychological, and the physical part of addiction is actually very small. It makes sense then that if you can manage the thinking part of the craving, then you are 90% of the way there!
Here are some tips for you:
- Remember your why. When you made the decision to stop drinking, you did that with your conscious decision-making part of your brain. This is the part of your brain that makes all your decisions, and you made the sobriety/alcohol-free decision for a reason, or in likelihood many reasons over a long period of time. If you’re feeling wobbly, revisit that decision now, and remember all the reasons for making it. That part of your brain is the part that you need to be thinking about and trusting. It was the right decision. We’re talking about a highly addictive drug. It has to be the right decision. Stick with it.
- Psychological cravings are based on learned responses to external stimuli and internal thoughts. What this means is that if you are getting thoughts of ‘I want a drink,’ this is your subconscious mind working in the way it did when you drank. Even if it was only yesterday, our subconscious minds try to help us, and they do so by telling you to do what seemed to work before (even if it didn’t). When it comes to addiction your subconscious mind really isn’t that clever, and you now know that what it’s recommending to you (alcohol) got you to a place that you didn’t want to be. Yesterday’s news is not helpful today. Think of it like a naughty child screaming for ice cream. Ignore it, or put it in the naughty corner!
- Dig beneath the craving and make sure that you are not hungry, angry, lonely or tired. To avoid this, eat well and regularly, use techniques to keep calm and make sure your needs are met, connect with other people on The Alcohol Coach group, or The Discover Sober Group (if you are on The Discover Sober Program). Ensure that you are well rested. Use the acronym HALT to help you remember. Also keep hydrated. This is a time for self-care.
- Distract yourself with something that you enjoy doing or that relaxes you. Think about creative things you can do, learning something, connecting with people or doing something that gives you purpose. All of these things help us as humans to meet our essential needs in life. The subconscious mind is like a child, and distraction always works really well with children. If you distract with something you enjoy, this will build new neural pathways in your brain creating new patterns of behaviour.
- Play the scenario like a movie right through to the end. If you drink, what will happen and how will the movie end? If you stay sober how will the movie end? How will you feel tomorrow morning? Amazing, right? How much do you want that?
Make notes for yourself around the tips above. Work on your goal and your vision for yourself both for tomorrow morning, and a little further into your sobriety.
These quick fix tips are a handy toolkit, but don’t replace the deep work needed for long term change around learning about addiction and alcohol, and reframing the subconscious mind around drinking alcohol.
You can watch the Masterclass, that goes into more depth on aspects of the subconscious and alcohol and explains issues like alcohol and stress, fear of change, and the No1 reasons why what you’ve tried up until now hasn’t worked HERE.
For details of other programs or to check my availability to book a discovery call click https://www.thealcoholcoach.com/about/