Alcohol Cravings and Temptation: What to do when experiencing cravings for alcohol and being offered alcohol.When going through the alcohol addiction treatment process and after leaving rehab, it’s important to plan ahead for alcohol cravings. You will have cravings for alcohol for months or even years after quitting. Temptations to drink can be spurred by situations, physical urges, emotions, and thoughts.

When alcohol cravings occur, it’s important to remind yourself of your reasons for getting sober and staying clean. It’s also important to have avoidance plans in place ahead of time. Not having plans in place is setting yourself up for failure. Alcohol rehab centers will help you devise your plans of action and education you on the best ways for coping with alcoholism.

There are many ways to fight the cravings to drink. You need to discover which ones work for you to prevent relapse. Approximately 90 percent of recovering alcoholics relapse in the first four years after treatment.1 Chances of successful recovery are greatly increased through treatment at an inpatient alcohol rehab center and participating in counseling, taking drugs to treat alcohol addiction, learning what triggers your alcohol cravings, and devising plans of action to distract yourself from alcohol cravings.

Alcohol Counseling

Your alcohol rehab center will connect you with a counselor that will help you in your recovery process. Alcohol counseling is an important part of the recovery process. Stress, boredom, depression, anxiety, negative thoughts, and memories of past trauma can spur alcohol cravings.2

Alcohol counseling will not only address alcohol addiction but any links that it may have with traumatic events whether physical, sexual, or other. Receiving counseling for any connected trauma will reduce the craving for alcohol.3

During your counseling sessions, you will learn skills for preventing addiction relapse and how to avoid situations that trigger alcohol cravings.

Alcohol Cravings and Temptation: Avoid being tempted by a friend offering a alcohol.Medications for Managing Alcohol Cravings

Many time alcohol detox requires the use of medication. Medications may be prescribed to manage alcohol craving due to withdrawal symptoms and after detox to deter drinking and prevent relapse. These medications will vary according to individual needs.

Medications prescribed to manage alcohol cravings may consist of one or more of the following:4

  • Acamprosate
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepine
  • Buprenorphine
  • Dexmedetomidine
  • Disulfiram
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Suboxone
  • Topiramate

Situations That Trigger Alcohol Cravings

Become consciously aware of the situations that trigger alcohol cravings. Many of these situations may be avoidable and for those which aren’t, coping skills can be learned.

Drinking may be associated with certain activities, people, places, or events.[5] Do not place yourself in situations that will test your resolve.

People impact your thinking, self-esteem, and decisions you make. It’s important to surround yourself with the right people. Alcoholics may often have to give up negative relationships to remain sober. When with friends or family that drink, suggest activities and places that wouldn’t lead to drinking.

Journaling is a great way to keep up with your triggers, your feelings, and reasons for abstaining.

Distractions From Alcohol Cravings

When alcohol cravings occur, distractions can effectively channel thought and attention away from cravings by focusing your energy elsewhere. Distractions allow time for cravings to subside.

Some popular ways of dealing with alcohol cravings are:

  • Talk to a family member, friend, or counselor
  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a drive
  • Exercise
  • Participate in a hobby
  • Listening to music
  • Run errands
  • Perform household chores
  • Reading a book
  • Watching a movie
  • Play a game
  • Participate in a religious activity

Remain focused and be patient with yourself. Alcohol cravings will cause you to feel pulled between relapse and sobriety. Overcoming each temptation will make you stronger and build your resolve. Though it will be a struggle to stay sober, you can overcome alcohol cravings and maintain sobriety.

1 Comment
  1. Jennifer 11 months ago

    Thanks for giving very good explanations for alcohol cravings and avoiding temptation.
    Those who have gone dry after drinking very heavily can experience intense cravings for alcohol which, if they are not dealt with appropriately, can all too easily cause a relapse. But the good news is that in the majority of cases these cravings should become less of a problem over time.

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* is for informational purposes and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Please consult a physician to determine your best plan for treatment.

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