Tips on How to Stop Craving Alcohol

Tips on How to Stop Craving Alcohol

Do you get the overwhelming urge to drink when you stop drinking alcohol? If so, you are experiencing alcohol cravings. These sensations are felt by people who have been drinking alcohol over a period of time and have become dependent on it.

In this blog, we will look at what causes cravings for alcohol and will help you to understand how to stop craving alcohol so that you can live life without it. For more information on reducing alcohol cravings, contact Samarpan Recovery.

What Causes Cravings for Alcohol?

When you use alcohol to reward yourself or relax, your brain forms connections that then associate drinking alcohol with reward and relaxation. Over time, as you drink more, this connection is strengthened.

If you continue to drink, even thinking about drinking alcohol can cause dopamine levels to increase. When you drink, even greater levels of dopamine are released.

Changes in the brain occur, and you begin anticipating alcohol to the extent that your brain craves it. Eventually, you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, as your brain effectively needs alcohol to function “normally”. At this point, the effects of drinking alcohol are diminished, and you need more alcohol to get the same effect.

Once these brain changes have occurred, it can take an extended period of time for the brain to return to its previous state.

What Reduces Cravings for Alcohol?

Now you know what causes alcohol cravings, let's take a look at what can help you take the edge off your cravings.


When you experience cravings for alcohol, one of the best things that you can do is go for a run or lift some weights (or whichever your preferred style of exercise is). Exercise helps to flood your brain with endorphins, which significantly reduces cravings.

Exercise also involves movement, which can be really helpful. The old idiom “move a muscle, change a thought” applies here.

Eat or Drink Something

Alcohol craving is worse when you are hungry. Getting a bite to eat is likely to reduce your alcohol cravings.

You can also consider drinking a sugary drink. While doctors would not usually recommend you eat or drink anything that will spike your sugar levels, you can make an exception here. The reason why this can be so effective to reduce cravings is that sugar acts on the same brain circuitry as alcohol does.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

When you have cravings, consider using a method that can help you feel calmer. Meditation, yoga, and qigong can all regulate your nervous system, which in turn reduces cravings.

Deep breathing is also effective and requires less effort than all of the above. Try breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds. A simple technique that can prove very effective when cravings crop up.

Speak With a Loved One

When your stress levels are high and you feel like drinking, the best thing you can do is talk to someone who you are close with. Just sharing your problems can reduce cravings massively.

It is even better to talk with a person who has been through alcohol cravings themselves. Someone who can tell you what they did when they were going through it.


Cravings for alcohol get worse when you are tired. Make sure that you get a decent amount of good quality sleep each night. To do this, go to bed at a reasonable time, turn electronics off an hour before you want to sleep, and make sure you are in a dark room where you won’t be disturbed by any noise.

In the early days of stopping alcohol, you may find that you get tired quite often. If this happens during the day, it can be useful to take a nap to refresh yourself and allow your body and mind time to rejuvenate.

Avoid Triggers

You may find that certain people, places, and activities make you want to drink alcohol. If this is the case, try avoiding these, at least for a while. If you have only recently stopped drinking, cravings may cause you to start drinking again.

If you are unable to avoid these people, places, and activities, make sure that you are prepared. If you know that a member of your family makes you want to drink, talk through beforehand what you will do if you experience triggers before you see this person.

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal can help you release some of the thoughts and emotions that may be causing cravings. It can also let you see patterns in your behavior that might be leading to more cravings.

Get to the Root Cause of Alcohol Cravings

All the above tips are fantastic ways that you can reduce alcohol cravings. But if you have stopped drinking for a long time and cravings crop up frequently, or you find you just cannot stay quit whatever you do, it may be time to look at addressing the underlying issues of your alcohol addiction.

Mental health problems and trauma are both reasons that cravings for alcohol can occur. Often, someone who experiences cravings for alcohol is not even aware of this. But when this person works with an addiction professional, it becomes clear that one or both of these issues were the main cause of their cravings.

Once this is discovered, it is a great opportunity for this person to work closely with this mental health professional to heal their ailments. Professional guidance can play a massive role in helping this person achieve long-term recovery, even if they struggled with frequent relapses in the past.

Samarpan Recovery Can Help With Your Alcohol Cravings

If you have tried all the tips in this blog and still experience cravings that cause you to drink, you should consider going to rehab. At Samarpan Recovery, we can help you get to the underlying problems that are causing you to drink and will support you every step of the way.

Our team has a wealth of experience in helping people with alcohol problems deal with how to stop craving alcohol, quit drinking, and stay quit for good. If you’d like to know more about how we do this, contact us today.

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