7 Things to Tell Yourself When You Want to Drink
If you’re in early recovery, you’re likely battling with significant cravings. Unfortunately, those cravings won’t likely easily go away. You’ll probably face them for months or even years to come – and they may never fully go away. Instead, your tactic should be to develop coping mechanisms and strategies to help you move past cravings – to get around the want to drink, and to remind yourself why you’re sober.
That can be difficult to believe, especially if you’re in the middle of dealing with cravings – which can feel overwhelming. However, the fact they are overwhelming means it’s also important to ensure you have a support network. Talk to friends and family, go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and make sure you have people to call and talk to if things get too bad.
However, these 7 things to tell yourself when you want to drink will get you started.
1. “This will go away, and I’ll be glad I didn’t drink”
Cravings can overwhelm you when they hit. It can seem like getting a drink is the most important thing in the world. That’s unfortunate, because on average, those cravings last just 15 minutes and then start to subside. But, if you take action and go to start buying alcohol – you’ve already made up your mind and it’s unlikely that you’ll change your mind.
Cravings will go away. If you can hold out, you will feel better about yourself. You will have reason to be proud of yourself. And you will be moving yourself closer towards your goal of staying sober.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Fighting cravings is difficult. But, therapists recommend looking for distraction, doing things with your hands, talking to people, or engaging yourself in an activity that takes your mind off of alcohol. For example, cleaning up, working on a Rubik’s cube, playing a game on your phone, starting a discussion with someone, or even setting a timer and spending that amount of time working out.
A time-out won’t make cravings disappear. However, they will lessen the severity of the craving and will give you time to get yourself together and to figure out what you want to do instead.
2. “I want to be sober”
No one quits drinking for no reason at all. You stopped drinking and likely went to rehab for specific reasons – and you know what those are. Along the way, you probably found other motivations to stay sober. Remind yourself of what those reasons are when you start to feel cravings for alcohol.
- “I want to be sober because I like myself better as a person when I’m sober”
- “I want to be sober because it gives me freedom to be there for my family”
- “I want to be sober because I want to achieve my goals and alcohol gets in the way”
- “I want to be sober because I deserve to be in control of my life and alcohol prevents that”
You know why you got clean or sober. You can write those reasons down, along with anything else you think of along the way, and repeat it to yourself when you start to feel cravings.
3. “People care about me staying sober”
Whether you have friends and family, caretakers, counselors, or even just therapists in your life, people actively care about you staying sober. Going to Alcoholics Anonymous or another 12 Step Group can be a great way to remind yourself of that – because you’ll have more freedom to discuss sobriety, cravings, and relapse with people who understand them. Having that social accountability can help you to stay sober as well. However, it can also be a good warning that you’re starting to slip. For example, if you find yourself withdrawing from your support networks or hiding things from then, it may be a sign that you need more support than ever.
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4. “I am relying on myself not drinking”
It’s good that you have other people who want and need you to stay sober. But you also have yourself. And, chances are, you’ve made promises to yourself and are relying on yourself to stay sober. That could be to enable you to be a better parent. It might be to allow yourself to graduate. It might be for your career, your health, your mental health, or even for your self-esteem. But, you are relying on yourself and you alone are responsible for taking care of yourself. Reminding yourself of that and of the fact that you are worthy of being taken care of is important.
5. “I am responsible for myself but I have people to help”
It’s important to take responsibility for yourself and for your sobriety. But, it’s also important that you don’t feel you have to do everything alone. Reminding yourself that you have people who can help can be an important way to avoid drinking when you want to. For example, you can make a list of people you can call. You can also state specific things to yourself.
- “If I don’t think I can not drink, I can call X and have them pick me up”
- “I can text my sponsor to ask for advice right now”
- “I can ask my sibling for help”
If you know that you have support and specifically what you can ask for, you can remind yourself of that when it is relevant. Then, you’ll have an alternative to drinking.
6. “I’ve come this far”
Sobering up is a long experience and for many of us, it’s dangerous. Rehab is even longer and may involve weeks or even months of your life. You’ve put a significant amount of work and effort into getting sober.
Reminding yourself of that work and of how far you’ve come can be a great tactic. In addition, you can think about how proud you are of that journey, how much you’ve changed since you started, and what you’ve achieved for yourself.
However, even if you’re at the very beginning of your recovery journey, you should remind yourself that you’re taking steps to achieve your goals to be sober. That’s something to be proud of. It’s something you put work into. And, it’s probably not something you want to lose.
7. “I’m not ready to give up yet”
Most of the time if you want to drink, the thing that you want is feeling happy, relaxed, carefree, or not having to think and be stressed. The thing is, if you drink, you have to face more of those negative feelings when you sober up – effectively making life harder for yourself in the future. Life will always have its ups and downs. But, if you drink, you are, in that moment, giving up. And, while you can always get back up, return to sobriety, and continue your recovery, you will regret the lapse. You don’t want to give up and you know that. Reminding yourself of it can be important in helping you to stay sober.
An alcohol addiction is a serious behavioral disorder. It’s important that you reach out to others, get help, go to an alcohol rehab, and ensure you have the support you need to navigate recovery. That should mean learning tools to deal with cravings, learning new coping mechanisms, and figuring out your triggers and how they affect you. Asking for help can be difficult, but especially in recovery, it’s an important part of moving forward. And, when you have help, figuring out what to say to yourself when you want to drink will be that much easier.
If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.