Tips for Handling Urges to Drink

If you are someone who is recovering from an addiction to alcohol, you might find that one of the hardest things that you have to deal with is resisting the urge to drink. You might feel angry or upset and immediately feel like you need to deal with it by drinking. This can make relapse very easy and recovery very difficult. Here are some tips for helping yourself overcome the urge to drink in the moment so that you can continue your path to recovery.

1. Don't Judge Yourself Too Harshly

The first thing that you need to do is refrain from judging your urge to drink as something horrible or indicative that something is wrong with you. The reality is that, if you have been addicted to alcohol, you are going to experience the urge to drink. It's unhelpful, but it is normal. By not judging your urge to drink, you will reduce the negative emotions that could cause the urges to get worse. 

For example, if you get angry about something that's going on in your life and feel the urge to drink, judging your urge to drink as weak or pathetic is going to make you more angry, making the problem worse. 

Instead, look at your urge to drink. Turn it over in your mind and examine it. Don't judge it. Then, think about what is going to be most helpful in the moment: drinking or doing something else to manage your anger.

2. Delay Your Urge as Long as Possible

The next thing that you need to do is get into the habit of delaying your urge to drink as long as possible. You can do this by engaging in mindful distraction. For example, if you feel sad and that is causing you to want to drink, consider telling yourself that you can have a drink in an hour or a few hours. During this hour or few hours, turn on the TV, go for a run, practice your hobby, play some video games. Do something to keep you from thinking of drinking. After the time is up, see if you actually still feel the need to drink. There's a good chance that your urge is going to be less severe.

3. Dispute the Thoughts Surrounding Your Urge

Next, take the time to dispute the thoughts that you might have surrounding your urge to drink. You might think that you can't handle a situation or that you will never recover so why bother trying. Don't judge your thoughts, but see if you can think of any counterexamples or counterarguments that would make them less emotionally destabilizing.

For more information, hop over to this website and talk to your alcohol addiction counselor.