EP 10: Reader Question – Overcoming a Craving: My Best Advice

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Annie explores surprisingly effective ways to overcome cravings. Hint: No willpower involved! Episode links: Brain Study / Urge Surfing.

The podcast today features Michelle. Michelle has graciously decided to come on and share her story and I’m so excited.

You’ve stopped drinking, changed your mindset and your behaviors yet occasionally the craving for alcohol still hits. The most common question I get is how can you overcome cravings for alcohol? The answer lies in your naked mind.

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How Do I Overcome Cravings For Alcohol?

The best way I’ve seen to overcome cravings is to be present and mindful with the craving. Studies show that when you try not to think about something or to repress thoughts the opposite happens – you think about whatever you’ve tried not to think about even more! Furthermore, studies also show that when an individual learns how to become aware of everything that is going on during a craving-both inside the mind (thoughts) and inside the body (feelings)-they become naturally more resistant to cravings. Crazy right? It sounds counter intuitive but there is so much research to prove this is true.

Raise Awareness

Becoming aware of your thinking means simply noticing what is going on in yourself before, during, and after the craving. You can ask yourself questions like these:

What was I thinking/ feeling just before this craving came on?

By identifying what your triggers are you can overcome cravings for alcohol by realizing that this desire is being controlled by and outside force, not an actual need you have. This would be a good time to train your body and mind to seek out a positive reward for that thought or feeling – a run, a cup of hot tea or a phone call with a friend.

What thoughts do I have about drinking this drink? Are they true? Are they helpful? Would I be better off if I could drop that thought?

Now, I am not asking you to drop the thought – that doesn’t really work. It is however important to ask yourself the question in order to overcome cravings for alcohol. This is an area where I really feel that writing these thoughts down and being able to look at them when you aren’t craving alcohol is helpful.

What does this craving feel like in my body? Am I clenching my teeth? Is my heart beating faster? Do I feel nervous? What other feelings am I experiencing?

In order to overcome cravings for alcohol it’s important to remember that we have previously used it as a shield. A buffer from feeling our feelings. We want the anxiousness or unease to go away and we know alcohol can do that. Until it wears off and those feelings come back full force. What else can relieve the anxiety without the bounce back effect?

Urge Surfing

There is a free audio resource (about 9 minutes long) which will teach you the ‘Urge Surfing’ technique. You can use this recording during an urge which makes it an incredibly valuable resource. The audio is available here.

You can read more about how Urge Surfing works here.

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Find out more about the This Naked Mind approach and read a sneak peek of the book today!

Here and Now

The way to overcome cravings for alcohol is to be in the here and now. To realize it is not the alcohol you are seeking but the escape, the relief, the momentary pause which you can already find in you.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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