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What To Do When You're Feeling Like You Want A Drink

There are those moments in life when a beer or a glass of wine sounds really good. Maybe it's the end of a long week or you've completed a challenging and intense project. Or perhaps you have the kids and the pressure of parenting is getting to you. The problem is if you've been through addiction treatment then those yearnings for a cold beer or a tall glass of wine might feel invasive or frustrating. On the one hand, having a drink might feel good for a short period of time. On the other hand, doing so will be dangerous. It might lead to relapse and returning to a life you no longer want. So what do you do when you feel like you want to have a drink?

There are a few things you can do right in the moment of feeling a craving. You're going to want to also give a big boost to your recovery overall. But right in the moment of facing a craving to drink, here are a few ways to respond that will keep you sober:

Surf the craving. A craving is a yearn, a desire, and it has energy to it. Just like an ocean wave has energy that you can ride to shore, a craving can be surfed too. Use the energy of a desire to focus on your kids, instead for instance. Or ride that energy of a craving by focusing on your work, house cleaning, or your romantic relationship. In other words, redirect the energy of the craving and get up and do something that you know will be worthwhile. Give that energy to what you really want to focus on.

Think about something else. It's hard to not serve yourself a drink if you keep thinking about it. If you have a desire to drink and you continue to think and daydream about it, there's a good chance that your thoughts are going to come into fruition. Therefore, the moment you experience a craving, switch your thoughts. Start thinking about your recovery, how much you love your spouse, how much you appreciate your children. In fact, it doesn't matter what you're thinking about, just make sure it's not about drinking.

Recommit to your sobriety. One of the most powerful moments to dedicate yourself to sobriety is right when you're faced with a craving. Although you might have a yearning to drink, you don't have to give in to it. You might say out loud to yourself, "No, I'm not going to drink. I'm going to stay sober." Or you might say, "I know I'm craving a drink because I'm stressed, but I can find another way to unwind." You have the power to choose how you want to respond to your craving. Recommitting to your sobriety is one way.

These are steps you can take when you're feeling the heat of a craving. And in general, when you're experiencing cravings, you can boost your recovery by attending more meetings, talking to your sponsor, and scheduling more appointments with your therapist.

 

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Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.