8 Ways to Deal With Alcohol Urges and Cravings

Updated on February 18, 2022
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Quitting alcoholism can be overwhelming and difficult. When alcoholics decide to limit their alcohol intake or give up on drinking altogether, they may experience strong cravings. These urges can be intense, especially for recovering alcoholics. Failure to satisfy alcohol cravings results in withdrawal symptoms whose effects vary depending on the severity of your alcoholism.

Cravings don’t affect everyone. However, if you’re a heavy drinker or have been regularly, you may experience them. While desires sometimes seem to come from nowhere, they can be triggered by environmental conditions, a memory, or feeling. Discussed below are ways to deal with alcohol urges and cravings.

Find help

Cravings are a natural addiction symptom that can cause you to relapse, especially in the early stages of recovery. They can help you manage your alcohol cravings while maintaining long-term sobriety. While cravings are usually intense and short-lived, handling them alone can be challenging and overwhelming, forcing you to give into them. Joining a substance abuse recovery center can empower and equip you with the support and knowledge you need for healthy decision making, ensuring that you don’t give in to your urges and leading to full recovery.

Know your triggers

Exploring the situations, people, or places that trigger your urge to drink helps you find ways to cope or evade them. These triggers can be external or internal. When you encounter things that remind you of your drinking episodes, you may experience intense cravings. Avoiding triggers may imply getting rid of your home bar, going to restaurants that don’t serve alcohol, hanging out with friends who don’t drink, and practicing self-care to prevent stressful situations that may push you to crave alcohol. Practice self-monitoring or track your behavior and thoughts to identify situations that trigger alcohol cravings, equipping yourself to fight drinking urges.

Distract yourself

Whenever you experience cravings, it’s a great idea to find a healthy distraction that can help you shift your focus. You may dance to your favorite music, read, go for a walk, and watch something interesting. You can also exercise, spend time with family and friends or join a support group for recovering alcoholics where you can go to interact with others like you. Prepare a list of things you can do whenever cravings hit and carry it everywhere you go because the urge to drink can occur anytime and anywhere.

Talk to someone about your cravings

While talking about your cravings may be difficult, sharing them with a trusted friend, mentor, family member, or counselor can help reduce the anxiety, stress, and restlessness that comes with them. This enables you to focus on why you want to stay sober and may even allow you to identify triggers you didn’t know about, lowering your chances of succumbing to your alcohol urges and cravings. If the desire for a drink catches you unawares, calling someone you trust can help salvage the situation, preventing a relapse.

Remember the consequences of a relapse

Alcohol abuse negatively affects your relationships with friends and family. It weakens your mental health and makes you highly susceptible to stress and anxiety. Alcoholism affects your productivity at work or performance at school. It may cause you to lose all you’ve ever labored for. Whenever you experience the urge to drink, reminding yourself of the consequences of giving in to your carvings can help you remain resistant.

Practice meditation and mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness help you avoid giving in to unhealthy impulses such as alcohol urges. It allows you to take charge of your mental fitness. Practicing meditation and mindfulness reduces depression, stress, and anxiety and improves emotional regulation, memory, focus, and cognitive abilities, all of which are alcohol cravings and urge triggers.

Establish a busy schedule

Most people, especially those who have turned to alcohol before to kill boredom, will likely encounter alcohol cravings whenever they have nothing to do. When recovering from addiction, it’s essential to keep yourself busy to avoid the stressors and thoughts that may trigger a craving. Fill your schedule with healthy and productive activities that can help reset your brain. Consider learning new skills or doing things that remind you that alcohol isn’t the only way to have fun.

Use medication

Alcohol urges can be hard to control alone, especially if they’re persistent and intense. Through medication, you can curb your cravings to promote full recovery. Drugs such as Naltrexone and Acamprosate can help reduce your cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Before taking any medicines to cure alcohol cravings, talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions you might have.


Persistent, intense cravings can negatively impact your recovery from alcoholism. Knowing how to handle them ensures a successful recovery journey. Use these tips to deal with alcohol urges and cravings.  

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.