When first going into recovery, many—if not almost all—people suffer from obsessive thoughts about drinking. Dwelling on what we feel like we lost, namely, our ability to drink, becomes a mind game in which our daily life is taken over by pervasive thoughts of drinking, and what it would be like to pick up a drink.
The first thing to understand is that many, many addicts go through this when they first enter the beginning phases of recovery. In fact, almost all alcohol abusers are going to obsessively think about drinking when they first quit. That’s part of what makes them an addict, and part of the disease. One should never feel bad or guilty about the fact that they’re still thinking about alcohol during their early recovery stages (or ever). There are many other people like you who have gone through it as well, and who are now living a clean, sober life, freed from their obsessive thoughts about drinking.
Here are 3 ways to stop obsessing about drinking when you first get sober.
1. Give it time.
It’s known that early recovery is one of the toughest parts of getting sober. Many people fail at this point because they give in to their obsessive thoughts about drinking. The important piece of this puzzle, however, is that one of the keys to sobriety is to get over the hurdle of addictive thoughts and make it through this precarious time so that you can come out sober on the other side. Do not give in to your obsessive thoughts. In time, they will go away. Time is the great healer, as they say, and it is no different when it comes to recovering from alcohol addiction.
2. Stay busy.
This may sound like a given, but keeping busy and staying occupied can help curb your obsessive thoughts. When your life is full and you’re busy focusing on healthy habits, hobbies and other activities, chances are you won’t have time to obsess on drinking as much. Without something to do or focus on, we get bored and our minds have more time to obsess on drinking. It may even feed us false reasons as to why we need to drink.
Whatever you do, don’t give in to them. Instead, fill your time with healthy activities. Attending meetings, helping others in recovery, talking to a friend or going outside for fresh air and exercise can all keep your mind from wandering off into a negative place. And in any of the moments that it does, call up a friend or mentor who can help talk you out of it.
3. Stick to your recovery plan.
Everyone is different in the way that they get sober. For some, it may mean attending meetings and support groups. For others, it may be working with a counselor who helps them through the initial stages of sobriety. Or, you may be freshly out of rehab, starting your life over and going back to work or home.
Whatever your recovery plan is—and you should definitely have one to help structure your new life around healthy activities and plans—stick to it like glue. Take your recovery each day, moment by moment, and adhere to your recovery plan and use the tools provided to you as if it were the last thing you had left on earth. By committing to your recovery and being firm about following it on a day-to-day basis, the chances are that you’ll begin using your new habits to replace the old bad habits, like drinking, and thinking about drinking.
By using some of these tips as a guideline and incorporating them into your newly sober lifestyle, the thoughts about drinking will eventually fade and fall to the wayside. In time, you will find that you’re thinking is much stronger, more positive, and centers around a healthier mentality and way of life.