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How to Stop Alcohol Cravings Without Medicine

Updated March 23, 2017

Learning how to stop alcohol cravings without medicine is important for recovering alcoholics trying to quit drinking on their own. Cravings can be hard to deal with initially and may occur for a variety of reasons. In some cases, cravings occur as a reaction to physical symptoms of discomfort from withdrawal. Recovering alcoholics may also crave a drink to escape from unpleasant feelings of boredom and depression, to enhance a positive mood or to to fit in with other people in social situations where alcohol is available. Each type of craving requires a different coping mechanism, and every individual must decide what combination of methods works best given the circumstances.

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  1. Use short-term coping mechanisms such as distraction, flashcards or meditation. According to Bright Eye Counseling, these methods can help you overcome the onset of alcohol cravings.

  2. Try distracting yourself when you feel the urge to drink. Go for a walk, call a friend to chat, play your favourite video game or do some household chores. Keeping your mind and body busy can be extremely helpful in overcoming alcohol cravings.

  3. Make flashcards reminding you of all the reasons you want to stop drinking and all the positive things in your life. Review all the good things you have going on, and focus on the rationality of overcoming your drinking habit. There are many good reasons for giving up alcohol. Remind yourself why you are quitting when the urge to consume a drink starts to eat at you.

  4. Consider meditation as another coping mechanism. Quiet reflection may help clear your mind and calm your body, reducing cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. Sit in a comfortable area with your favourite music. Light some candles and relax in the bathtub. Do whatever you need to do to help your mind shut off and stop focusing on the desire to drink.

  5. Become more physically active. Going for a run or lifting weights when you feel the urge to drink is a constructive activity that distracts you from your cravings and triggers the release of natural endorphins in the body that produce a feel-good effect.

  6. Avoid relapse by scheduling a regular exercise routine. According to an article posted on Sage Journals published by a team of university and hospital researchers, increased physical activity may play a key role in overcoming dependence on alcohol.

  7. Walk, jog, play sports or lift weights at least three or four days per week. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting at least 60 minutes of exercise on most days of the week to maintain your health. Physical activity will improve your health as well as distract you from boredom and alcohol cravings.

  8. Eat a healthier diet to compensate for nutritional deficiencies associated with alcoholism. According to the Peace Health Organization, people who avoid junk food and consume healthy foods over a period of six months are nearly three times as likely to remain sober while recovering from alcoholism.

  9. Alter your diet. Eat only fruit, vegetables, whole grains and sources of lean protein such as fish and nuts. Both the Mayo Clinic and Peace Health recommend following this kind of diet to improve health and decrease alcohol cravings naturally.

  10. Stay well hydrated. Drink at least 64 fluid oz of water each day to help your organs function properly and facilitate the natural detox process.

  11. Avoid junk food and beverages containing sugar, caffeine, saturated fats, simple carbohydrates and trans fats. The Mayo Clinic links such foods to multiple health problems. The Peace Health Organization also advises against consuming these kinds of products to diminish alcohol cravings and increase your ability to overcome addiction.

  12. Tip

    Consider joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups are intended to help you put things in perspective and receive useful counselling. Even if you decide against taking medicine to stop alcohol cravings, you may still benefit from a support group of some kind.


    Overcoming alcoholism without medication is not always possible. Speak with a doctor or counsellor if you feel like you need additional help to stop drinking. There are plenty of ways to get help and avoid potentially dangerous situations involving alcoholism.

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About the Author

David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.

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