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Recently, Cynthia celebrated a decade of sobriety. She was hooked on alcohol since the age of 15 and had tried hard to overcome addiction. Her journey wasn’t easy as she relapsed thrice before finally turning sober. Like Cynthia, many people struggle to quit drinking, but succumb to the withdrawal symptoms.
Recovery from addiction demands resolve and patience, and simply stopping the use of a substance doesn’t help. One needs to plan prudently. The most difficult part is to deal with cravings that return immediately after one abandons the bottle. But with some effort and care, they can be managed.
Here are some ways to handle those urges that refuse to go:
- Removing traces of alcohol from home – The first sensible thing to do is to make sure that there is no alcohol at home. This is because a craving can cause relapse if the substance is easily available and accessible. It’s advisable to get rid of all cans and bottles – out of sight, out of mind!
- Avoiding triggers – One must try to avoid people, places and situations that might exacerbate the cravings. Sometimes, a person may feel the urge to drink after dinner. This can be controlled by going for a walk or taking something else to drink like tea or coffee. Gradually, when one develops control over his or her cravings, one can transition into the social life again. These are the external triggers or high-risk situations but sometimes, there can be internal triggers too like a thought or an excitement, frustration or a physical ailment that excites one to grab a drink. It is important to be mindful during those times and exercise patience before taking the plunge. With time, cravings do get reduced. One can also explore partying at non-alcoholic bars which are sprawling across the country to help sober people have a good time.
- Using relaxation techniques to combat stress – Many people have the habit of drinking after a hard day of work, or after an argument with a colleague, friend or a loved one to alleviate stress. There are healthier ways to manage low mood rather than reaching for a drink. Look for mind-relaxation activities or a hobby that engages mind and body. Physical exercise helps in the release of feel-good hormones and yoga is good for overall well-being. If a self-help book offers solace, grab one. Soothing music, gardening, a trip to the mountains or burning aromatic candles at home are simple ways to feel rejuvenated.
- Building support network – It is indispensable to have a support network when cravings hit hard. One must have someone to talk to when the urge to drink is very strong. One can join online or offline groups and be regular with the meetings to foster healthy relationships. These groups offer a platform to share stories, ideas and beliefs, which can be extremely motivating.
- Taking treatment – Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, it becomes difficult to control cravings and it can result in relapse. In such circumstances, it is important to seek treatment from the best alcohol detox centers where recovery is facilitated through credible programs.
Alcohol cravings can be managed
One of the preliminary steps of getting treated for alcohol addiction is detoxification in which the body is cleansed of all the toxins and fortified with essential minerals and vitamins. Followed by that, treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy and other therapies can be immensely helpful along with medication.