How bad were/are your cravings to drink?

Old 02-01-2021, 06:13 AM
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How bad were/are your cravings to drink?

I wanted to post this title to see if what I am experiencing is how most of you feel, or abnormally extreme. I have long suspected the link between some anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications and the increased craving for alcohol...but that is a whole other story and post.
Most times I can get about three or four days and feel decent, but usually after that time the severe cravings hit....and boy do I mean severe! My most recent nasty fall was after about two great weeks of not drinking, no urge or craving whatsoever...but then, I was in the gym at around 10 in the morning and a craving hit that I literally could not stop or overcome. I left the gym in the middle of my workout and went right to the gas station, bought a twelve pack, and immediately went home to start a day of drinking...I mean who does that?!
My cravings hit so bad that absolutely no-one or nothing short of jail or death will stop me when I want to drink. It totally takes over my mind an blocks out everything else enjoyable or rationally planned that day; it is near impossible to fight it and take a different path when it comes.
Things don't feel right, something is wrong....inducing these cravings, at least I feel like that sometimes. And as I earlier described about medications, I am on anti-depressant/anxiety medications. I am 38, started medications at 19 and have been drinking heavily for the past twelve years...give or take a year.
How do you feel when you want to drink?
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Old 02-01-2021, 06:24 AM
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I know the feeling! This is NOT an easy thing to do. You have to have a plan so when that feeling hits you, you have to go into defense mode and it will pass. It really depends on how bad do you want to stop drinking. I knew I was going to die before long and was going to be miserable all the way there. I spent a lot of time on SR. When it got real intense I would do deep breathing exercises and or meditate and or take a nap. My sobriety had and has to be the most important thing in my life! Because it is! Best wishes for you on your journey!
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:16 AM
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I have not experienced what you are describing with that intensity. I do experience a pressure or a building of tension like I am going to burst if I don't get relief. Its like a balloon being filled with water.....Eventually that balloon will burst right open. This "pressure/ bursting" feeling is the generalized anxiety that I have had for as long as I can remember. It comes on with situations that are stressful. Work, communication and life stressors. It doesn't just come out of the nowhere though.

The way I would relieve the "feeling" was drinking.

This forum has saved my ass a few times when I go into that place. I do suggest getting on here and talking it through the next time you get the urge to go and drink. It is hard to rewire ourselves but it can be done. I am proof of that. Many here are. Call a friend. Eat some food. Do anything other than drink. You can do this. Its just really really hard at first.
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:45 AM
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Also, some people have gotten help with medication. Could you talk with your doctor or a doctor specializing in addiction about this?
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:46 AM
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I've not had that strong of a desire to drink either. Have you discussed this with your physician or therapist that described the meds you are currently taking? Sounds like something might be not exactly right, but i would ask first.

Have you considered making a written plan to take a different course of action when you feel this way? Even though the cravings might seem like you nave no control over them, you still do. You are making a whole host of conscious choices along the way - get in the car, get money, go to the store, buy alcohol, drink alcohol...and so on. What about having a phone number of someone to call and talk about the craving while you are experiencing it? You could put it in your phone as an emergency contact for yourself. Or maybe come here? Tell us right in the moment how you are feeling.
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Old 02-01-2021, 03:01 PM
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My cravings were pretty intense. I wouldn’t do anything criminal to drink, but I’d do just about anything including borrowing money from my home equity line of credit to buy booze. Just ridiculous. I just couldn’t stop so my doctor put me on meds to stop which helped immensely. I don’t think I could have done it on my own. I tried to fight the cravings for years without success.
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Old 02-01-2021, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RLee82 View Post
I was in the gym at around 10 in the morning and a craving hit that I literally could not stop or overcome. I left the gym in the middle of my workout and went right to the gas station, bought a twelve pack, and immediately went home to start a day of drinking...I mean who does that?!
Me! In my early 30's, I once left an AA meeting with fellow members and went to lunch with them. Got so triggered during lunch, I went straight to the liquor store, bought a half gallon of liquor and got wasted.

You're not alone in having cravings like that. Keep giving sobriety a chance - it will eventually stick. But I do understand how wicked cravings can sometimes be. I wish I had the answer for both of us. I'm on day 33 sober this time. I've lasted as long as 3 years and 7 months and since that time I've had some long months of abstinence, and on other attempts broke down after a few days.

Keep on keeping on - learn everything you can about addiction. The more you understand how addiction works, the more likely you can get through the next craving. I'm feeling pretty confident right now, but I know a craving can hit any day, and I'm better prepared mentally now to get through it and remain sober.

Keep coming here and read and post. It's helping me and many others stay sober and live better.

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Old 02-02-2021, 07:56 AM
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Thank you so much for all the feedback, it does truly make me feel like I am not alone in this. I have been on Gabapentin for years now to help with the cravings; it has helped tremendously and brought me light years ahead of where I used to be (drunk at work and such.) I am on a waiting list to work with a psychiatrist so we can get to the bottom of things...should have done this years ago, but being stubborn has hurt me greatly..Ugh!!
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Old 02-02-2021, 01:58 PM
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When I think about drinking, I'm tempted by visions of a short, leisurely jog on the most beautiful, empty beach you can imagine (Anguilla). I remind myself that if I do drink, I am setting myself up for an ultramarathon in the desert wearing ill-fitting shoes, got horribly lost along the way, and for some reason the only garment available to me in the final 20 miles is a wool sweater.
I am so glad that you are seeking help with your cravings to drink. Being proactive, candid, and open to diagnosis and treatment options are big steps in this battle. I wish you well, and hope you keep us updated.
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Old 02-02-2021, 11:25 PM
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Having had so many attempts I didn't manage to stop drinking until things had got really bad. I was drinking morning, noon and night. Basically if I was awake I was drinking till I passed out. I had totally lost control.

When I finally managed to stop, 27 months ago, my cravings were absolutely relentless for a long time. The alcohol isle in the supermarket made me feel dizzy with its pull. I worked so hard not to give in. I walked on average 10 miles a day, never carried money with me so I couldn't impulsively buy drink. I posted here, paced the floor, ate anything I wanted. They just did not stop, but nor did I. I was determined not to give in. I felt like I was different to everyone else. They were getting better and I wasn't.

Even now they come with a vengeance, not everyday but when they strike they are so strong, I have to sit on my hands so to speak. I try not to say too much as I feel like I should be setting a good example to others, not sprouting on about how hard it is and how I am still struggling.

All I can say is it can be done, you have to fight that urge that sends you running for the drink. It feels uncomfortable and unnatural. Every fibre of your being is telling you to drink, you literally have to fight your own self!

Look at it as a challenge like no other. Good Luck.
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Old 02-18-2021, 02:56 AM
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My cravings are not to bad, I go all day without any but as soon as it is evening that's when the cravings start, I am at the start of my journey to stop drinking, 16 years of service in the Royal Air Force when I was younger you tend to have a heavy drinking attitude, when I left in 1996 drinking was not too bad then and I could control it, but over the last 10 years it has got out of hand and it is going to wreck my marriage if I don't stop. So wish me luck!
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Old 02-18-2021, 01:13 PM
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I'm 2.5 years sober and don't have strong cravings. But when I do feel drawn to alcohol, or tempted, it's not by things or in ways that normal drinkers would expect. Like you, it can hit at 10AM. And even if the smell or sight of a glass of wine tempts me, my mind goes straight to the full bottle of vodka that I can guzzle rapidly.

I try to engage in a brief moment of meditation to clear my mind of the unwholesome thoughts and focus very deliberately on whatever I'm doing in the moment.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:39 PM
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When I was drinking, 10 out of 10 every night at 5:00.

6 1/2 years sober I have no cravings.

i get occasional nicotine cravings four years after quitting smoking.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:41 PM
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I had super intense and frequent cravings and they were the main barrier to my getting sober as I didn't know how to handle them without eventually acting out. Those mental states truly felt like being a monster from another dimension or something.

Like Melinda while I was drinking, most often I would say 9-10/10 >>> straight to the liquor store. I still had a few similarly intense (and long, sometimes lasting hours) ones during my first month sober and usually many milder ones, virtually every day, for a while. They very noticeably started to subside as I learned how to handle them sober, the more successful experiences, the more the cravings lessened. I'm now at 3 months and have not had anything stronger than maybe 1-2/10, even those quite infrequently, barely notice now. So the whole thing went from "I don't know how I can do this, due to the monster cravings" to very manageable, and much more quickly than I expected. I used the SMART Recovery as help with urge management (and to maintain motivation for recovery) - they have many different, great tools. I think they probably saved my life and would highly recommend to anyone struggling with cravings. They also teach you to identify and monitor your trigger patterns and I found that invaluable, as I seemed to have a very strong cue reactivity tendency. When you get familiar with it, it allows you to predict and foresee triggers/cravings and prepare for every situation ahead of time. I also actually found that learning super interesting and fun once I felt more comfortable and competent.

I don't expect to never have intense cravings again, but having learned those tools give me great confidence and peace that I can handle whatever hits me in the future, as long as I never drink again.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:24 PM
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I had experiences similar to what you describe, maybe just the same. The last two times I drank, I had no intention, no advance notice, no deliberation. The full-blown need to drink just came over me. It's what some people describe as losing the power of choice. I feel like that's what happened. Well, it was a little different the second-to-last time. I did consider what I should do instead, but discarded every suggestion I made to myself as completely useless because I knew the decision was already made, you know?

I had to come to a place where, in my mind, there was literally not an option to drink. Where my immediate response would be devoid of Thinking About Drinking. I employed a number of strategies to get along with the dis-ease I felt during those times, but the reaction I had to the idea of drinking simply became, "I Never Drink Now." It took all the fight out of me - in regard to drinking. There was a lot of fight left in me about the things that "made" me want to drink, and those are the things I had to work through. It makes me anxious just thinking about it, but you know what? I DID it! It wasn't fun or easy or comfortable, but it didn't kill me either.

The times I think about actually drinking are few and far between now. The most intense period was during the first 3-4 months, then like Alice describes, "muscle memory" seems to take over.

It does get better, RLee. And also, if your experience is anything like mine, the medications may actually help when you take them regularly AND don't drink. But that doesn't happen overnight - anxiety predictably increased for me without alcohol. It's alright - it will pass even if it feels like it never will.

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Old 02-22-2021, 04:13 PM
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I guess I will share my experience here.

The last 2 times I drank, I am not sure what happened. That is the out of control/unmanageable aspect I guess. In terms of cravings, well not a lot to be honest. Never really had them. For my long spell of sobriety (longish - 8 months) before my last 2 relapses, I even had a couple bottles of whiskey and some beers in the fridge that I never had the urge to drink or touch.

The second to last time I drank, I was 8 months sober, and things were looking up. Just got back from being away, end of summer/early fall beautiful weather, my gf had just left for a week to see her family. I just cleaned my house, worked out with my free weights and kettlebell - and drank my protein shake. I was in the kitchen, sweaty, happy, and on top of the world. My mood was stabilizing, my energy coming back and the 'fog' was lifting. I thought, 'you know, I might as well have a whiskey and get a bit drunk tonight, I will drink some water in the morning and have a sneaky drunk in watching my favourite videos to relax'. Well, after the first drink, I knew the bottle wasnt enough, and I "woke up" a week later, having gone to the liquor store every day and scraped myself together.

The last time I drank, well technically second to last (long story) was after getting back from a "staycation" hotel holiday with my gf. The last night we were there, we split a bottle of rose wine in the tub. I caught a little bit of a buzz, but didnt have any desire for anymore. The next day, I was on my own, and thought 'gee I would like to finish that wine buzz off with something a little more giving' so i bought 2 bottles of the same rose, drank them both to myself, and woke up a week later again, this time by taking myself to the hospital for withdrawl/detox.

I guess TL;DR - I do not really have urges or cravings, its rarely in my mind - but when I have that 'first drink' it is unmanageable.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:48 AM
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For me i had to push through the first year of cravings it was after that that i think i had faced the bulk of the trigger type situations and won those battles thus boosting my confidence and allowing me to realize that the cravings will come and go and i'll survive.

that being said i'm almost 10 years sober and over a week ago had a really strong craving like you describe i simply didnt care at all if i went and drank i wanted to so badly and i couldnt care less about the reamifications. I think it was at that point that i understood what people meant by I dunno what fcame over me I just started drinking without thinking. I dunno if i really get cravings otherwise anymore tho. Sure something crappy happens or some situation arises where i think gee I'd like a drink but thats about as far as it goes generally.

I can see how some medications could cause cravings. I cant speak for once your on but I know for me some would tickle that itch and i'd probably be either shoveling in more of the meds or wanting to head to the bar. So in my case i try to avoid meds. I'm a sensitive snowflake anymore anyhow tho even some herbal supplement or vitamin can cause me some adverse affect.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by zjw View Post
that being said i'm almost 10 years sober and over a week ago had a really strong craving like you describe i simply didnt care at all if i went and drank i wanted to so badly and i couldnt care less about the reamifications. I think it was at that point that i understood what people meant by I dunno what fcame over me I just started drinking without thinking.
I am 28 months sober and still get these moments. They are all consuming, and like you say, nothing else matters except getting a drink. So far I have managed to ride them out. They scare me, appear from nowhere with such force and ferocity that all rhyme or reason disappears.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:16 PM
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Never had them as bad as some of you have described, that must be really tough. I did get stronger ones when I was younger and would try to quit but could barely get a day or two. The urge to drink was much stronger then. Now after many years of not drinking for long periods it's usually not difficult. I do sometimes get thoughts and urges, but I can dismiss them or have a tonic water and they go away in a short while. I would also not be surprised if there is some med component to it, that amplifies the craving. It sounds pretty rough.
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:41 AM
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The voice dies in time. It dies each day little by little. Ignoring it kills it. I have not heard it's nag in 10+ years.
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