Stop The Urge To Drink Alcohol – Once And For All
This is a milestone that is simply a magnificent one. The moment that you no longer have the urge to drink!!
Anyone who has tried to end drinking alcohol before, well we have all faced these moments when the drink is (literally!) on tap. It is there for the taking, and ‘everybody else’ is having a drink. So why not?
This is a common part of our sober journey and one that we really must arm ourselves for. Recognising what an urge is, and more importantly finding your own, often specific, method of resisting the urge the drink.
Do this bit, and you are a hell of a long way into your journey!
OK, now the more difficult bit. Easier said than done,
And temptation lies around every corner in our modern world. It is there in celebrations, there in commiserations – the temptation to drink, the offer of a quick one with old or new friends. The list goes on.
As do the reasons to consider having a drink, dangling over your head.
Knowing that the temptation will already absolutely be there is something that we should definitely use to our advantage…like a superpower, if you will 🙂
The ability to know what to expect!
We have the upper hand over the drink before it even rears it’s ugly head. We know that it WILL raise its head, and we can put things in place to armour your resistance to falling off the wagon.
Dealing with this early on in your journey to find your own alcohol off switch would be a massive saviour in your life in general. Smash this aspect and you will absolutely thank yourself afterwards.
What are Alcohol Cravings? Do I experience them already?
A person who is dependent on alcohol has a strong desire to drink. But not like a desire as a ‘normal’ person experiences when they want or fancy something. The craving can be so strong that it can feel like a life/death situation for someone with alcohol dependency.
Alcohol craving when dependent on alcohol is a strong desire to have a drink, without thinking of any of the negative consequences.
Cravings are very common for people who are currently drinking and also along their sober journey. Cravings happen and continue to happen. But what changes is YOU!
You start to recognise and control your cravings and urges to reach for the bottle.
So, What Actually Causes The Urge To Drink Alcohol??
Alcohol is used in all aspects of (well, my!) life. It is used to help people relax at the end of the day. It is something we reach for in celebrations as we say, it is everywhere!
Why do we feel the need to have it? OK, I will not go all ‘conspiracy theorist’ here….not my bag at all. But, look around us. Sponsorship, TV shows, comedy, all have alcohol as some for of celebratory aspect. Even the F1 has a big bottle of champagne spraying everywhere to celebrate a victory.
A right of passage for a young person? Or maybe an intrigue as it is something that only ‘grown-ups’ are allowed to do. Age limits to purchase this interesting liquid. See where I am going with this? It is a highly marketed drug. And this is why it is in our lives. This and it is addictive as can be.
Reasons that people tend to lean on when it comes to drinking are stress relief, cheering themselves up a bit, a reward-style behaviour – “I definitely deserve a drink for that” – not to mention good old peer pressure. There is a plethora of reasons to grab a drink. But far so many more reasons NOT to!.
Alcohol is also used as a coping mechanism for situations. Something that many relate to, and often is a path that has led them to alcoholism. Making sure you have solid, healthy coping mechanisms in place is paramount.
Remember, our brain will produce endorphins which make us happy when we are drinking. Released in exact response to having a drink – so another reason to keep your guard up if you are experiencing temptations!
Of course, every single person who drinks alcohol will not experience cravings. The nature of the drug works on personalities who become addicted to alcohol. And not everyone becomes addicted to alcohol. But for those that do, it can be very challenging. Cravings are not just a want. They can leave people so powerless that the only thing that matters is getting their next drink or two.
What Are Some triggers to drink alcohol To Look Out For?
Alcohol cravings and the need to get a drink are common symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Working out what trigger cravings, your cravings is very important so you can manage situations that you might find yourself in, or at least reduce the craving to drink.
Cravings start when you become dependent on alcohol, and that makes all the more difficult to quit or remain alcohol-free.
Triggers can come in different ways, triggers that end up with you craving for alcohol. Situations in life might be stressful, loss of work or arguments in different aspects of your life. Turning to drink is a relatively quick-fix coping mechanism.
Social events can be a challenge even if you don’t have urges to actually drink. It can be kinda expected.
Boredom can be a big trigger to getting some drinks in, which in turn can lead to further cravings for a drink.
Or just being around others, watching them drink – that in itself can be a major trigger that can lead to cravings.
Overcome cravings to drink – beat the urge to drink
For lots of us out here, the difficult to change your relationship with alcohol is something that might even seem like a different life. But it is very, very possible.
I am not going to say it will be easy. Sure, many have found their own Alcohol Off Switch and that has been that. But in truth, the journey is a challenging one. Add to this, alcohol being all around social events, and life in general, so are urges to have a drink.
It is these times where you will learn to identify your own urges, and take steps to slow down and eventually stop cravings to reach for a drink, once and for good.
The first challenge on your journey to sobriety is recognising your own triggers, triggers that lead to cravings for a drink.
Alcohol is associated with stress, relief or pleasure – if we wanted to break them down into areas of potential concern. So, with this in mind, actually identifying what gives you pleasure, causes stress or when you need relief and finding more physically or mentally healthy ways to be in these situations will help you tackle urges to drink.
Also, consider where alcohol is actually going to be available. Sometimes it is unavoidable to be around these places, but if it can be avoided or time reduced in these places, this will overall give you a much better chance of beating temptation.
Some strategies to help kick the urges into touch
Make no mistake, alcohol cravings can be a challenge to deal with. This isn’t unique to alcohol, all addictions will bring their own set of issues, triggers and urges.
But as we all know, we have an edge on beating cravings because WE KNOW that they are coming!
Armed with this warning, we can put things in place to make these temptations lessen, make situations easier for ourselves.
Be kind to ourselves. Help ourselves remain on the sober path so we can continue reaping the true benefits of not drinking.
A very good technique is to be mindful of exactly what your triggers are. Thinking of specific times or situations where you would normally drink. How are you going to deal with that? What are you going to do instead?
Actually thinking these situations through before you are in them, visualising them and going through your own steps is a great way to stave away the desire to have a drink. Do this and you will manage cravings all that more, and eventually stop the cravings altogether!
Being aware of your triggers, keeping one step ahead of it al.
Another really good idea is to make a list of activities, non-alcohol related that can be done as an alternative when cravings do raise their ugly head.
Ride out the temptation
Alcohol addiction is one of the hardest addictions to kick. A lot will relate to the previous attempts to limit or ‘moderate’ the amount of alcohol that we drink, before we go down the sober path.
I have said it before, and I will say it again – it is much, much harder to moderate than to quit alcohol. Much harder.
Make no mistake, alcohol addiction is one of the hardest habits to snap out of. Addiction is a continuous struggle to try and limit your alcohol intake or maybe even stop totally. But it is VERY possible. And the benefits are just amazing. Read around, ask around, it is all out there.
Just finding what works for you.
Some days might just feel like a total grind. And honestly, that is ok.
Do what you have to do and go with it. Resist the urge to pick up a drink. Read, and fill your head with all of the positives that you gain from not drinking alcohol. Do whatever it takes to get over it, and reap the rewards tenfold!
Get away from tempting situations quickly and calmly
We all have those situations in life where drink is often hand-in-hand with it all. After work on a Friday with workmates, family get-togethers or even making sure that you always have alcohol at home to hand.
Changing your situation and environment is paramount to changing your overall behaviour. Not only this, it actually makes life easier on you to change.
A book that I recommend with a passion, a person really to follow, check his website etc is James Clear. When it comes to changing habits, his book simply changed me, and was/is indeed a big part of my own Alcohol Off Switch. 100%
Distract yourself with a healthy, alternative activity. ..
With alcohol, cravings happen
When it comes to alcohol and cravings, sometimes it’s easier just to accept what’s happening.
There is no rhyme nor reason, they can hit you out of the blue. For times like this, we can now recognise what is happening and also know that they pass.
Utilise one of your preferred methods quickly – busy yourself!! Do whatever it takes until time passes.
If you are trying to stop drinking, it can be difficult to put down the bottle. However, distracting yourself with a healthy alternative activity can help you stay away from the temptation of alcohol.
Finding activities that you enjoy and that energize you is key for your long-term success in curbing your drinking habits. There are many different activities to choose from that provide both physical and mental benefits.
Remind yourself of your ‘why’ – what is your reason for wishing to live an alcohol-free life?
Remind yourself of your reasons for making a change to stop drinking
Making the decision to stop drinking can be a difficult one. It is important to remember why you are making this choice and how it will benefit your life. Many people find themselves in situations of drinking too much or relying on alcohol to cope, and it can be overwhelming to make the change.
Challenge the thought that drives the urge. ..
Alcoholism is a serious problem that can destroy lives, families and relationships. It can be difficult to break free from the cycle of drinking, particularly when the thought driving the urge to drink remains unchallenged.
Sometimes it takes that challenge – often to find your own alcohol off switch – truly challenge the desire and want for a drink.
Talk it through with someone you trust. ..
The effects of alcohol abuse can be devastating and long-lasting. While it may seem like a simple, quick escape from the stresses of daily life, the truth is that alcohol abuse can lead to severe health problems, financial issues, and even legal trouble.
But if you have decided it’s time to take back control of your life and quit the booze for good, having a strong support system can make a major difference in your success.
Often these reasons are strong and are the very drive that keeps us from drinking. But there are times when the desire to have a drink can be too much, or
Imagine what would happen if you gave in.
The idea of giving in to drinking alcohol can be a scary thought for those trying to quit. While it may seem like an easy solution, this kind of thinking can quickly lead to more dangerous habits that could have long-term health and social implications.
For one, continued heavy drinking could lead to physical dependence on alcohol and an increased risk of developing serious health problems such as liver disease or high blood pressure. Additionally, ongoing excessive drinking has been linked with changes in brain chemistry that can impair judgement and increase the risk of engaging in reckless behaviours, including driving while intoxicated or other dangerous activities.
Therefore, anyone considering giving up on their effort to stop drinking should weigh the consequences carefully before taking action. Seeking support from friends and family members or consulting a professional therapist is recommended for anyone looking
We all know the feeling so well, the urge to drink alcohol . Most of us too well.
The urges can come from seemingly nowhere, or from a very obvious trigger. Whenever they start, often sub-consciously we have already decided that we are going to drink.
Urges are dangerous and often lead to a very slippery slope.
We know about urges, we know they will come.
The questions to be answered are
why do we have urges to drink alcohol?
How do we stop the urge to drink?
This question gets asked by so many people on social media now that I really wanted something for someone to read that explores many options. This is not to say that these are ALL options. When it comes to finding ways of stopping drinking alcohol.
Why would you want to even stop drinking?
You may be reading this blog, or hearing about people going teetotal, hearing of (a LOT more people, more recently) deciding to ditch the booze.
Oh, great question – and you have stumbled across the exact list of motivators to answer just that.
You WILL notice money. It may not come right away, but all of those payments really do start to add up, and with all of the energy that stopping drinking will give you, you will have the want to do so much more with your newfound wealth.
And I do not say this lightly
It will feel like you have just stumbled onto a pot of money because up until now you have not got a single thing to show for all of that money that you have spent on alcohol.
Want to know EXACTLY how much money you will save by not drinking.
Well, I will tell you – that is an almost impossible equation to work out, when you take in to account just how much different your entire life is when you drink.
Healthier absolutely everything about you
This one is proveable on soooo many levels.
Your sleep will improve, your skin will look healthier, your body will just function that so much better. Nutrients that not absorbed when you are drinking booze – now your body will appreciate all of those lovely vitamins and minerals.
Decreased alcohol will mean increased hydration of your overall self.
The health benefits of not drinking are immense, and an entire subject in itself. Do your own research if you need convincing. Not drinking alcohol will improve your health. Period.
Gone are the days of hangovers, and that cloudy mindset that can grow with chronic alcohol abuse. When you find your way, your own path to sobriety, you will love feeling more mentally alive!
Focusing on ways to stop drinking will increase productivity
All of those things that you used to do before you were drinking? Hobbies as a child? Or maybe you will feel the ‘productivity impact’ in other aspects of your life.
You WILL notice an increase in productivity. You will simply do more when you stop drinking alcohol.
The benefits of quitting drinking – the list of ways to stop drinking alcohol – can be almost endless (one day I would like to try and create a list with the help of a mass of people. I think it would be so interesting to hear exactly what benefits of not drinking alcohol people have experienced. ‘Benefits’ itself is just so subjective – but what an amazing read it would be!
The Alcohol Off Switch List of ways to quit drinking alcohol
Set a drinking goal
Having a drinking goal is a great way to quit drinking, or certainly to reduce it. How you set your goal is really a personal choice.
You could go with the national recommended drinking as a guideline (one standard drink per day over aged 65, or no more than two per day for men under the age of 65), or if you are a long-term drinker then there may be some more realistic drinking goals that you want to set.
Again, depending on your personal situation and experiences, medical advice would be a good starting point, in the first instance, to help you establish what would be the best approach for you.
Read, read and read!
There are many, many fantastic books and resources around now about how to stop the urge to drink, written by people from all walks of life. I can wholeheartedly recommend using reading as one of your weapons of choice when it comes to walking the path of sobriety and investigating ways to stop drinking.
When looking for ways to stop drinking that booze, be open in your approach. It certainly helped me reading from authors such as Annie Grace, Russell Brand and some amazing sober blogging groups are out there too!
Get it down in writing – Journaling is a great way to stop drinking alcohol
Journaling is a fantastic tool to help stop the urge to drink, and also one of the very reasons that you are reading these very words. When I started on my sober journey, for the gazillionth time – I decided to utilise all advice that could be thrown at me. Journaling was one of them.
Journaling is a good way to stay sober. In fact, it’s been proven that writing about your thoughts and struggles can help you overcome addiction issues.
Journaling is also a great way to stay on track with your sobriety. I like keeping it in my phone because then when I’m tempted to drink, all I have to do is pull out my phone and look at all the reasons why drinking. In fact, I use most sobriety groups in this manner – for motivation!
Keep a drinks diary
Whenever a person starts a drinking diary, there is often mixed emotions. Some will agree ‘just to give it a try’ but don’t really have faith in it as a legitimate tool. I can honestly say that a drinking diary is one of the most effective ways to stop drinking once used.
A drinking diary can be as simple or as complex as you like, physical or digital. There are lots of digital drinking diaries out there and a quick Google search will show this – I will recommend one that I have used with (what I feel was ) success – Sobertime. I recommend this as it is available on both android and apple, has a great community and is free to use – there are some very small charges if you wish to remove ads, but I used it for well over 6 months until I actually paid for this digital diary. The only reason that I paid for the app is I felt that it had given me so much back.
If digital is not for you, a notepad and pen will more than suffice.
There are various ways of using drinking diaries for drinking less or quitting drinking.
1) Tracking your consumption across time
One way drinking diaries can be helpful in reducing drinking levels is by tracking consumption patterns over time. In this sense the main function of a drinking diary is to monitor consumption data, not just measure it.
2) Tracking drinking patterns within a specific time period
A drinking diary can be used to track drinking during a particular time period of, for example, one week.
This actually highlights to you (the drinker) what sort of things trigger your drinking, or what times are you more likely to drink. This information provides useful insight which can help drinkers make more decisions about how much and when to drink in the future.
Using a drinking diary for comparison purposes -see where you were and see where you are now.
A drinking diary can also be useful by providing quantitative data from which subjective experience of drinking can be compared i.e. comparing what was actually drunk with how much one thought they had drunk – recording drinking-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours over time.
The drinking diary provides a way to compare drinking behaviour with drinking thoughts, feelings and actions which also makes it possible to observe similarities or differences in drinking patterns across the days of the week etc.
A drinking diary is an awesome tool to have in your sobriety toolbox.
Stop the urge to drink by not keeping alcohol in your house
One of the most practical tips that you can do when looking for ways to stop drinking alcohol, is (drumroll!!!) removing it.
Removing it from temptation, so to speak.
Even if you live within manageable access to alcohol, close to a shop etc, by not keeping alcohol in your house puts that extra barrier around you to assist with your sober journey.
Every little helps, and when it comes to living teetotal, take everything that is available.
Find your tribe
Finding your tribe (read support network) in whatever way it comes was such a turning point for me. For years I have searched for ways to stop drinking alcohol, and clearly without success or I would have stopped searching! The turning point for me was support.
Finding support comes in all different shapes and sizes. My current own personal support network now is my wife, a close friend and 1000s of online strangers. I did not fancy AA, I did just not feel that it suited my personality. Plus, it threatened my own security and personal life – or that is how I viewed AA anyway.
With the explosion of social media, I have found that blogs, podcasts and social media groups were just the weapon to keep me sober during hard times. I have made some wonderful friends online and value finding your own tribe as a top of the list ways to stop drinking alcohol weapons.
Keep yourself busy
Many of us are preoccupied with alcohol. It is in our thoughts, at the forefront of our minds and we live for it.
When you stop drinking, one gift that we get almost instantly is time.
Initially, this may not be seen as a gift but when you start to use that time wisely – then it becomes priceless.
Although we may not realise it, when drinking alcohol is no longer a part of our lives – that preoccupation with the drink starts to fade.
So how do I use this free time? What can I do now if there’s nobody telling me what to do and where to go?
Well, in my experience, keeping busy is absolutely key! Planning that you are going to be given time is key to success in your sobriety.