Everyone has their own battles to fight, whether it’s a lack of confidence or a medical condition. Someone may be experiencing PTSD and finding things worse during the pandemic. Problems with addiction are another issue for some, be it internet pornography, gambling or drugs and alcohol. During the early days, people may feel they are in control and able to stop at any time. Sadly these addictions often become entrenched, and in the end people feel powerless and overwhelmed by them.
You might have always enjoyed alcohol, or it may be something you turned to in a crisis. Perhaps you are now in the situation where you feel you’re addicted, and need to stop. It’s not as easy as it sounds, however, because alcohol often involves both physical and emotional dependency. If this is your current experience don’t despair, because this article will provide you with some valuable tools for gaining freedom.
Support From Your Doctor
If you’ve been a heavy drinker, there could be medical risks in coming off it suddenly. This could manifest itself in the form of seizures, gastritis, liver disease, cirrhosis or even death. If you need to speak to your insurance company first, do it, and then make an appointment.
There are a number of prescription drugs that can help people with alcohol cravings. Your doctor may provide you with such medication as:
- Topamax (Topiramate)
- Vivitrol or ReVia (Naltrexone)
- Neurokinin (NK1)
- Baclofen (Gablofen)
- Campral (Acamprosate)
With your doctor’s supervision you would be able to take it in suitable doses.
Therapy And Rehab Centres
If you feel your cravings are stronger than you are, it may be time for some professional guidance. You can learn techniques and strategies to tackle your cravings, and to also learn about your addiction triggers.
Some people attend rehab, either for outpatient or inpatient services. When it comes to specialist centres, White River Manor demonstrates peoples’ desire for luxury surroundings and accommodation while they restore their sense of self-worth and life purpose. This can be achieved with the help of multi-disciplinary teams and individualised treatment programs.
An Understanding Of Your Triggers
You need to sit down and recognise what initiates your cravings for alcohol. It could be specific friends or social situations. You may want to drink when you’re happy (e.g. birthday celebrations and weddings) or drink to mask your pain.
The next step is to consider how to avoid some of these situations. If you have friends who drink regularly (and excessively?) you may wish to invite them to your home for coffee rather than going to a pub. You would be wise to avoid anyone with the same issues as you, and any place that provides you with temptation.
People who enjoy going to the gym do so for a number of reasons, and they often come back exhilarated. This is because healthy exercise releases adrenaline and endorphins (‘happy hormones’) into their bodies. Because it’s a chemical response, it’s very close to the buzz people get from taking drugs or sexual activity.
If you do aerobic exercise five times weekly for half an hour, you’ll soon feel the benefits. Activities like brisk walking, cycling or running can actually reduce peoples’ cravings for drink, and it make them more emotionally resilient too.
Communication With Others
There is no shame in admitting to people that you like alcohol too much, and that you need to cut down. True friends will actually encourage this and seek to dissuade you from drinking in their presence.
You could also consider speaking to a member of Alcoholics Anonymous or joining a support group. It could give you the opportunity to tell your life story to others and share helpful hints and tips. You would feel like you’re no longer fighting this alone, because you would be on a journey with others.
Practice Mindfulness And Urge Surfing
One of the values of mindfulness is that it helps distance people from their thoughts and emotions. That’s good neuroscience, because we are not our thoughts! Much of what goes on in our heads is a playback of the things others have said to us, especially during childhood.
Scientists say that what we resist persists: try not to think about elephants and see what happens! Rather than fighting your cravings, mindfulness can help you to observe your feelings as they arise, whilst watching ‘at a distance.’. Whilst you may experience your cravings for 10 to 20 minutes, they will eventually ‘burn themselves out’ if you continue to ‘observe’ them impartially.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
People use this to discover the negative phrases that are going round and round in their brains. It might be ‘I’m no good,’ ‘I can’t do this,’ or ‘I’ll never amount to anything.’ Once they have identified their negative self-talk, people can come up with new scripts to use every time they come to mind. By repeating such phrases as ‘I am loved’ and ‘I can do this’ they harness the brain’s neuroplasticity and rewire their brains.
When it applies to alcoholic cravings, you would spend time listing your emotional triggers and then identifying the thoughts that accompany them. This is because emotions always follow our thoughts. If you discover new phrases to say each time you experience a craving, you’ll eventually think and feel differently.
Fill The Vacuum
Don’t keep repeating, ‘I am not going to drink:’ do something else. You may need to turn around and walk away from the bar or take up a new hobby. Make new friends who don’t drink alcohol when they socialise. Use such distraction techniques as taking a bath or going jogging when you long for alcohol. You might try playing music or cleaning the house – whatever takes your attention off drink.
Hopefully you now feel more hopeful about your life. It really is possible to overcome cravings for alcohol, and many people have proved it. With the help of others, you could be on a new path. Armed with new strategies and thinking, the future can become bright once again.