How to Deal with Alcohol Cravings

No doubt, the alcohol-free journey can be a bumpy one - especially in the beginning. We crave and we get tempted, but there are sooo many ways to deal with this. It’s allllll about Practice, Patience, and Perseverance! Here are some tips and tricks that you can try to beat those cravings to a pulp! It’s all up to you to find what works and what doesn’t work for you. 
 
Pre-Empt the cravings
Cravings will come. Let’s not deny that. You know yourself best and when your cravings or urges might show up. So be proactive about it!
If you know you might crave a drink after dinner, prepare in advance a tasty alcohol-free digestif (the fancy word for the drink you have after a meal 🧐) so that it’s the first thing on your mind after dinner, forcing you to ditch the alcoholic-option. If you know that heading to the fridge reminds you of cracking open a cold one, put a note on the fridge to remind yourself why you ain't about that life anymore. 
The more we see a message, the more we’re likely to actually adopt it.
 
Let it out.
When you start craving alcohol, reach out to someone in your support group and talk through it. Sometimes this alone is enough to get rid of it.
Don’t let it live and grow inside your head. LET IT FREE. It could be by telling a family member, or an online friend from a Facebook support group (Join ours here). Or you could even write it down and chuck that paper out! You’ll feel better so long as you find a way to not bottle it up.

Leave no room for alcohol!
In other words, distract yourself. With what? With yourself! Get on that self-care grind!
It’s not only cathartic, but it will leave literally no time or space for alcohol. Adapt your schedule so you’re doing things in the time you would have been drinking.
Eat dinner earlier. If there’s a time at night where you usually grab a bottle of red wine, draw a bath or take a shower instead. After you’re done, put on your best pajamas, do your skincare routine.
One of my friends got a teeth whitening kit and it would take 20-30 minutes after her shower to do that. You could also do a hair treatment or read quit lit. 
It’s totally up to you! The possibilities are endless. If you spend just 30 minutes to an hour on yourself and only yourself, you will feel strong, proud, and motivated to keep going.

Remove yourself from tempting situations
For many of us, the biggest challenge to cravings is going to social situations that include alcohol. There are plenty of ways to deal with this:

  • Replace them! If you know it will tempt you to drink, don’t go out going to bars, clubs, or pubs. Instead, have a nice dinner, movie night, or game night. Or tire yourself out during the day with hikes, museum dates, thrift shopping or a gym sesh with mates. 
  • Work with them! Pick out restaurants that have a great mocktail range on their menu. Trust me you’ll find a lot. Bring alcohol-free options if it's a house party. Have this in your hand so the habit to sip is still fulfilled.
  • Force excuses! If you can, drive. Not only will this force you to not drink, but you can leave if you ever feel bored, tired, or uncomfortable.

    Play the Tape
    Stop and try to imagine what will happen if you give in to the cravings. Be specific, play it like a mini-movie. Every thought, feeling, action that will happen...

    My friend is offering me the first drink of the night. What will happen if I accept? I’ll feel a nice buzz, but I’ll also feel super guilty. I’ll fill the guilt by just having one more. But it keeps going and now I’m drunk. I do things I regret, I say embarrassing sh*t. I’ll be stumbling all over the place, getting mystery bruises, be sweat af. I eat that burger or kebab that I didn’t even really need and regret that too. I’ll probably end up puking that night or the morning after. Oh God, the morning after… A killer hangover that will take me out the entire day. I can’t even remember half of the night before. Will it really be worth it?

    Then play out the tape if you said no to that first drink. How good will I feel the next day and for the rest of the weekend when I realise I didn’t give in, and I can remember everything from an amazing night with my friends? Sometimes we think not drinking is worse than it actually is. Yeah my friends will probs be drunk and I won’t be - but at least they have me to document all their regrets ;) 

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