7 Things to Tell Yourself When You Want to Drink

a man thinking about drinking alcohol

7 Things to Tell Yourself When You Want to Drink

a man thinking about drinking alcoholIf 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.

For example:

  • “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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two friends supporting each other to be healthy4. “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.

The Benefits of Pets in Addiction Recovery

a young man with his pet during his breakfast at an addiction treatment center in the riverside california

The Benefits of Pets in Addiction Recovery

a young man with his dog during his addiction recoveryIf you or a loved one is recovering from a substance use disorder or an addiction, it’s a long journey. For many of us, addiction recovery is a process that takes years. But, whether you’re just getting out of rehab or have been in recovery for some time, you’ve likely heard that pets can be a great call.

This is very true. Research consistently supports that there are many benefits to having pets as part of medical interventions including addiction recovery. Having a pet can boost your mood, improve your habits, and change how you respond to yourself and others. However, it’s also important to go into something like pet ownership when you’re ready and not immediately when you get out of rehab.


Different kinds of pets offer different levels of companionship. However, your pet does give you a companion. That’s true whether you pick a rat, a snake, a bird, or a cat or dog. You’ll have someone to talk to, someone to share your space with, and something to be there. While that can be tangential and you won’t likely feel like you have very much of a companion if you opt into pet fish, it can make a big difference in how you feel. Studies show that pets actively provide companionship, although it’s important to note that pets also have negative emotional and practical burdens as well.

Building Habits

Pets require a sometimes-significant amount of care. If you choose something like a cat, you’ll have to clean up after it every single day. If you choose a dog, you’ll have to walk it every day, sometimes for several hours a day – depending on the breed you choose. That responsibility can be significant. In addition, pets typically require regular food and water, regular care, and attention in order to be healthy. That can force you to invest in building habits like getting up at X time to walk the dog, going for walks every day, building discipline to care for something else, etc.

Importantly, if you’re not ready, those responsibilities can be stressful and may have a negative impact. If you don’t have room to add on more things that you have to do, it’s not yet time for you to get a pet.

Good Responsibilities

Getting a pet means taking on financial and emotional responsibility. For many people, that can seem insignificant upfront. However, it means you’ll have to work, take care of yourself, and take care of your responsibilities to your pet simply because that pet depends on you. Again, depending on where you are in your recovery journey, that can feel like stress and can feel extremely negative. If you’re ready, it can give you the push you need to improve how you take care of yourself. It may also boost your self-esteem – giving you the opportunity to feel good about yourself, to actively build on your self-image as someone who takes care of the things you love, and to get started with social responsibilities in a relatively low-stress environment.

Improved Emotional Health

a young man with his pet during his breakfast at an addiction treatment center in the riverside californiaPets have been linked to improved outcomes, decreased loneliness, and increase in motivation in several studies. While that will sometimes depend on what kind of pet you have, it is often the case that pets give you an outlet, someone to share with, and will offer positive mood input. In one study, pet owners showed reductions in loneliness, improvements in ability to interact with others, and to focus on the now rather than living in your head or being stressed.

Here, most studies track the effects of dogs and other animals that actively engage with people and as parts of their lives. For example, dogs naturally increase social interaction by forcing you to go out and to be at the same dog parks as other dog owners. However, they may also provide a positive influence to mood by being positive and by showing affection for you. There are fewer studies showing the same results around guinea pigs, snakes, or cats – and those animals will not provide the incentive to go walking, which means you may want to choose a dog if you’re hoping to be more social.

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Decreased Stress

a young man playing with his in addiction treatment center in the riverside californiaCompanion animals have been shown to reduce stress in several ways. Here, the most consistent way is that sitting down and petting an animal showing you affection does decrease stress and improve mood. For many people, once you establish a bond with a pet, simply sharing contact and petting the animal can improve your mood. However, in other cases, pets can act to reduce stress in other ways. For example, giving you something to take care of can reduce stress by giving you a short-term sense of purpose.

That’s especially true if you’re still in the early stages of recovery and have to build up to moving back into the workplace and everyday responsibilities. Dogs can also help you to exercise more, which will decrease stress because exercise reduces stress. More importantly, they increase the amount of light exercise you do, which offers benefits like improved blood circulation and energy increases without increasing exhaustion and muscle soreness, which can help you to feel a lot better than spending several hours at the gym. Of course, you can get those benefits without a dog, but dogs can help you to build the discipline to do that walking which you might not be able to do on your own.

Don’t Start with a Pet

It’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t get a pet until you’re ready to get a pet. Even small pets are a significant amount of emotional and financial responsibility. Forgetting to feed your caged pet will mean that they get sick or die. If you’re still in an area where you’re in a high danger of relapse, you probably don’t want a pet yet. Many rehab experts suggest that people leaving recovery start out with something small and simple, like a potted plant. Once you learn to care for and keep a plant alive, you can move on to something that requires more time, more daily investment, and offers more reward for that investment.

Pets can be a great choice as part of your recovery. They can help you to feel better, to reduce stress, and to boost your mood. They can also be significantly stressful if you’re not up for the responsibilities – e.g., are you ready for the dog to chew up the carpet, a cat to spread litter everywhere, or a snake to escape and force you to find it? – but they can also provide significant benefits in terms of companionship, responsibility, and comfort.

If you or your loved-one struggles from 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.

7 Benefits of Residential Treatment for Addiction Recovery

photo of people from a self-help group during therapy

7 Benefits of Residential Treatment for Addiction Recovery

photo of people from a self-help group during therapyWith some 40.3 million Americans estimated to have a drug or alcohol use disorder, substance abuse treatment and addiction recovery are increasingly necessary. Yet, in 2020, just 4 million people sought out help, and nearly 50% of those only through self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Despite that low treatment rate, behavioral addiction treatment is the most effective form of treatment. And, for anyone with a moderate to severe addiction residential care shows more promising results and better short-term outcomes for quitting and withdrawing from drugs and alcohol.

While many addiction treatment programs shifted to virtual and telehealth services due to the Covid19 pandemic, there are still many reasons why you’d want to attend residential treatment instead. That’s why some 70% of treatment centers still provide residential care. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, treatment options vary. But, it’s always a good idea to get a recommendation from a counselor when deciding.

1. Detox Services

Detox involves the medical monitoring and management of withdrawal. You cannot have full detox services in a non-clinical environment. While, in some cases, you can go to a detox clinic for only the detox period, most services are part of residential care facilities. This allows the medical staff in question to monitor your health when you quit drugs and alcohol and also over the immediate 30-90 days after – where you’re most susceptible to delirium tremens, PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and other long-term side-effects.

Detox services mean you get the benefit of medical experts managing your physical and mental health during withdrawal. This can include medication to reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms. It can also include emotional and psychological support to deal with the anxiety and cravings that come up during withdrawal.

2. Ongoing Guidance

In outpatient care, most people get one touchpoint with a therapist and doctor per day – sometimes per week. Those touchpoints can help you to get over addiction by offering you the support you need. But, in residential care, you’re living around the nurses, counselors, and therapists taking care of you. They are constantly observing your behavior, your progress, your lack of it, and where you’re struggling. That additional access to care can make a big difference to anyone who’s struggling in treatment.

It can also mean you get updates to programs or to treatment faster in response to setbacks, to behavioral issues, etc. And, most importantly, it allows your medical caretakers to see how you’re doing all the time, which makes it harder to put on a false front of doing well just when you go into treatment. That can be important, especially for women, who often resort to simply lying about their wellbeing to their doctors. 

And, that ongoing guidance means you have access to professional care when things get bad. If you’re having a bad night, cravings hit, or depression strikes, you can get support. That’s not something you can normally do outside of maybe having the option to call via phone in outpatient care. While it’s not necessary for everyone, it can be immensely helpful to many.

3. Letting Go of Stress

Stress is one of the major contributors to both addiction and relapse. Therefore, most people with an addiction can be expected to have major sources of stress in their life. Whether that’s family, work, trauma, or otherwise doesn’t matter. Attending outpatient treatment often means continuing to deal with that stress while getting help. And, that can create immense barriers to finding motivation, energy, and mental space to respond to treatment. For many people, coping mechanisms cannot be learned from a point of high stress.

That’s why many residential treatment centers take the approach of removing patients from their home environment completely. This reduces exposure to drugs and alcohol. It also reduces exposure to responsibilities, interpersonal relationship difficulties, commute, and work that might trigger that person. It allows you to build a base of coping mechanisms from the lowest stress environment possible. While no residential treatment center will be completely stress free, you will step outside of the stress caused at home, which can make a huge difference in treatment.

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4. Access to Peers

photo of an outpatient group during a therapyIn outpatient groups, you get some access to peers. In most cases, you’ll have most of your meetings with a group class. In inpatient care, you’ll spend at least some time living with your peers. That means sharing a room, sharing community areas, playing games, doing sports, and otherwise actively engaging in treatment and care together. That can give you more insight into addiction, into the motivations of getting clean and sober, and can give you more social accountability to get and stay clean.

Re-socializing is often and important part of addiction recovery. Substance use disorders push people into isolation. Many people push those around them away, avoid people they care about, and build up walls around themselves to avoid feeling guilt, shame, or accountability. Reversing that pattern often means investing in others and starting with people who are unlikely to judge you – your peers – is extremely helpful.

5. Access to Complimentary Learning

In outpatient care, you normally get a few hours of treatment per day. This is often taken up by group and one-on-one treatment with occasional music or art groups. In residential treatment, you have to fill the full day. That means moving back and forth between behavioral health treatment, group therapy, and complimentary treatment like stress management, art and music, exercise therapy, and more. These aren’t necessary as part of treatment, but they can help you to build the skills to better cope with life, responsibilities, stress, and cravings when you leave treatment. Residential treatment has the time to offer that.

6.  Privacy

For anyone concerned about their career, professional reputation, or personal reputation, going to outpatient treatment is often a bad idea. While there is some merit to being open and honest with your community and working to build a better version of yourself that way – that’s not always an option, especially for working professionals. Residential treatment is often remote or out of state, allowing you to attend treatment in complete anonymity.

7. Personalized Care

One of the largest benefits of residential treatment is that you get constant access to medical and psychological professionals. That close contact allows your caretakers to assess your wellbeing over the course of the program to deliver truly personalized care. And, depending on the facility, that might include changing up treatment, it might include offering motivational therapy, it might mean switching you on or off of medication assisted treatment. However, you will get updates to the treatment based on how you’re responding.

In addition, it also often means ongoing access to aftercare and sober living or even job placement, based on your condition when you leave the treatment facility. Your caretakers will get to know you and will be able to offer the insight and custom treatment you need to get the most out of your time in addiction recovery.

While residential treatment isn’t the right call for everyone, it can be a good choice for many. With reduced stress, options to get additional classes, and more points of contact with staff, and more personalization for programs, there are a lot of benefits.

Either way, getting into treatment is still the most important first step. Hopefully, you or your loved one can make a choice that works well for your needs.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today to learn more about our detox and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.