Session 2: Coping With Cravings and Urges to Drink

Rationale

  1. Craving is most often experienced early in treatment, but episodes of craving may persist for weeks, months, and sometimes even years after some alcoholics stop drinking Craving may be uncomfortable but is a very common experience and does not mean something is wrong. You should expect craving to occur from time to time and be prepared to cope with it if and when it occurs.
  2. Urges to drink, or cravings, can be triggered by things you see in the environment that remind you of using alcohol. Physical signs may include tightness in your stomach or feeling nervous through your body; psychological signs may include increased thoughts of how good you would like to feel from using alcohol or drugs, rememberĀ­ing times you used alcohol in the past, planning how you would go about getting a drink, or feeling you need alcohol.
  3. Craving and urges are time-limited, that is, they usually last only a few minutes and at most a few hours. Rather than increasing steadily until they become unbearable, they usually peak after a few minutes and then die down, like a wave. Urges will become less frequent and less intense as you learn how to cope