How to Deal with Alcohol Cravings

The intense alcohol cravings can cause fear, confusion, and temptation during recovery. Alcohol cravings can lead to a preoccupation with drinking, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, and mental confusion. Although these cravings are common during recovery, you may feel shame, guilt, and a loss of control that hamper your recovery. However, you can prevent these issues with strategies that help you understand and manage your urges to drink. Here are some tips on how to deal with alcohol cravings in recovery.

If you or a loved one need a safe space to stay sober, our sober living environment at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation may be right for you. Contact us and learn how we can help.

Know Your Triggers

Certain social settings, environmental conditions, or emotions have the potential to remind recovering addicts of the pleasures they enjoyed when using alcohol. Although triggers don’t force you to use alcohol, they create a strong urge. These cravings can result from external and internal cues.

  • External triggers. These factors come from outside yourself and include people, places, events, stressful circumstances, and financial problems.
  • Internal triggers. These triggers come from within and are more challenging because they seem to come from nowhere to create an intense craving. Internal triggers include thoughts and emotions such as fear, anger, guilt, and shame. In addition, positive thoughts such as wanting to celebrate with others can also function as an internal trigger.

Journal Your Triggers

Addiction, recovery, and cravings are complicated because the brain receives and processes past and present thoughts and feelings to determine what you will do. Keeping a recovery journal can help you learn the people, places, events, thoughts, and emotions that trigger your cravings. You can also record your progress to see if the urges improve or become more intense when triggered.

Don’t let the method or tools for journaling hinder you from starting to journal. This is your personal account of how you respond when experiencing an urge to use alcohol. Express yourself honestly and in detail to benefit the most from journaling. Writing like this will make you stronger to face a similar craving in the future.

Manage Your Triggers

In the first stages of recovery, avoiding every possible trigger can help you deal with alcohol cravings. In addition, the journal can help you begin identifying those “high risk” people, places, and events that threaten to hinder your recovery progress.

However, you can’t avoid all triggers, especially internal ones. For these, you need strategies such as:

  • Carry a “Reason Card”. Write down all the reasons you are making changes. Read these often, especially when you sense a craving.
  • Call a trusted friend. Have a friend’s number readily available who can help talk you through your thoughts or circumstances.
  • Find a distraction. Once you sense a strong craving, you may need to find a way to focus your attention on something else.


You can also help control cravings by eating a healthy diet with less sugar and more lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. B vitamins and Vitamin C have can also help deal with alcohol cravings.

Consider The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

If you or a loved one need further assistance pursuing a sober life, The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation is here to help. Our sober living environment allows individuals to recover in a supportive, understanding community. To learn more, contact us to discover how we can provide the help you need.