What to expect when you quit drinking – PART TWO
Unfortunately, no matter how much preparation we do in terms of reducing our alcohol cravings (and more is ALWAYS better) cravings are normally unavoidable.
We have compiled a list of our top four strategies to help you get through the cravings, without turning back to drinking:
1. Name the voice!
Learn about Addictive Voice Recognition Technique and use it! Acknowledge that the craving is being driven by your lizard brain, not ‘you’ (the more evolved primate/human part of your brain aka the frontal cortex) and give this ‘voice’ a name. Wine Witch and Booze Bitch are common ones. By giving it a name and a persona, you can identify in the moment that the voice is not you, it is this other ‘person’ who is trying to prevent your success.
2. Play the tape forward
The moment a craving hits, really think about the entire night ahead of you if you do drink. Would you really stop at one drink? Or more likely 1am, blacking out and ruining the entire weekend (and your reputation AGAIN!)? Play it forward to the most likely scenario, including the following morning’s hangover, anxiety and regret. Now play the tape forward with you not having the drink. How does the night look? How do you feel? How do you feel tomorrow and for the rest of the weekend?
3. Feel the feels
When the craving hits, sit in a quiet space with your journal close by. Close your eyes and go ‘into yourself’. Really allow yourself to feel the craving, and ask yourself ‘What am I really craving at this moment?”. You may be stressed and craving relaxation, maybe you’re lonely and craving connection. Allow your emotions to exist and then be expelled. Do some conscious breathing. On the in-breath say ‘I accept these feelings’ and on the out-breath ‘I release these feelings’. Crying or even screaming can help to move emotions through you. You could journal your thoughts and be present in the moment until you feel comfortable and calm again. This process will really enable you to learn more about what areas of yourself you need to heal, rather than numb with alcohol. It is through these moments that you will progress so much on your healing journey.
4. The 3 D’s – Delay Distract Decide
The 3 D’s stand for:
Here’s how it works:
Delay – when you’re experiencing a craving, delay the decision about whether to drink or not for a set time – for example 10, 30 or 60 minutes.
Distract – do something that will occupy your thoughts and grab your attention to distract yourself from the craving for your set time period.
Decide – After the set time, decide not to drink. If it’s too hard to say no at this point, delay the decision again and restart the 3 D’s process until you feel comfortable saying no. You can even make a deal with yourself. You will allow yourself a drink, but it won’t be tonight. It’ll be tomorrow. Then, you get to go to bed sober and wake up fresh in the morning and reassess. You’ll probably find you’re so glad you didn’t drink that you won’t want that drink anyway!
Next week we are going to take a deep dive into all the amazing benefits of being a non-drinker. Heads up, there are so, so many beautiful and incredible ways your life is improved, simply by deciding to not consume poison!