Cravings aren’t always bad. You might crave a long bubble bath after a stressful day, or you could crave a piece of cake as the smell hits your nose. A craving is simply a reaction to an event or an emotion that happens in our lives, and often it’s the brain telling us that a certain behavior we’ve done before is ‘good for us.’
However, what if you are craving bad things? Things like alcohol, for instance? Does that mean you are addicted? Is craving even a sign that you are addicted to alcohol? After all, you might crave a piece of cake every once in a while, but you also might not eat cake every day. You could also have some success resisting your cravings as well.
If you are unsure if your desire for alcohol means that you’ve gone from taking the occasional drink to being at risk for alcoholism, this article is for you. Read on and see what you resonate with as it takes you through the signs of the addiction.
How Craving Alcohol May Be a Sign That You Are Addicted to Alcohol
First, most non-alcoholics don’t actively seek alcohol daily. They might drink a beer with some buddies or have a glass of wine with a fancy dinner, but they can easily do without it. So drinking responsibly isn’t a sign of alcohol abuse at all. However, it’s when you start to seek alcohol out that it becomes a problem.
For example, those cravings can be a problem if you turn to alcohol for every little stressor or drink a beer to feel good or normal. If you start craving a beer every day at around the same time or whenever you have a certain feeling, you might be hooked on drinking. If you can’t go a day without a drink and have to battle extreme cravings to stay sober, that can signify that you are dependent.
Other issues are more prominent and can have you being irritable or having low mood swings if you don’t have a drink, feeling isolated around friends and family, and neglecting your responsibilities so you can go to the nearest bar. If you find yourself putting alcohol and drinking on a pedestal, you probably have an addiction, especially if that pedestal is higher than your family, friends, and other responsibilities.
Nothing says a craving means you are addicted or can never drink responsibly, but you need to pay attention to the strength of those cravings. Normal and non-addicted people can brush cravings aside and also know their limits. However, if you find that your craving sticks with you and you keep drinking past your limit every single time, then your craving is the sign of something more.
Side Effects of Craving Alcohol & Alcohol Addiction
Signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction include:
- Extreme and hard to fight off cravings: If you find yourself white-knuckling, fidgeting, or otherwise feeling agitated if you can’t indulge in a craving right away, then you have alcohol dependence.
- Drinking to feel or feel better: If your life feels numb and bleak without alcohol in it, or you always gravitate towards a drink whenever you feel stressed, sad, angry, or overwhelmed, you are probably addicted. There are plenty of healthy ways to overcome feelings or the lack of feelings rather than heading to the bar.
- Blackouts and Memory Loss: While responsible drinking can leave you in full control of your wits and faculties, binge drinking can cause you to lose all memory of your drunken actions and also might even cause blackouts. Nothing is worse than waking up with a hangover with no memory of the previous night.
One last side effect of alcohol and alcohol addiction is simply the inability to stop drinking. You might know that too much beer is bad for you and how many glasses of wine you can drink before you can’t drive home, but even with that knowledge, you blow past your limits and keep drinking until your body makes you stop.
Drinking can also add to other health problems, both physical and mental, and can make things like depression and anxiety worse. If you are already battling those problems, you need to avoid the lie that “alcohol makes me feel better” because it doesn’t stop the problem. You just feel worse afterward.
Finally, one of the main problems with alcohol abuse is denial. Most people refuse to seek help for their addiction and instead think back to the days when they drank normally. They might blame other people or circumstances for ‘making them’ drink or become defensive and refuse to break the pattern they’ve placed themselves in.
Denial and refusal to get better can lead to more problems for the alcoholic abuser and those who love them. This is because they refuse to look at the negatives and the problems that alcohol brings into their lives and focus on the fact that they want to have everything under control.
How To Get Help if Craving Alcohol
If your cravings for alcohol are too strong for you to be able to handle alone, you need to seek help. Even if you don’t think of yourself as an addict to alcohol or haven’t done any addict-like behaviors yet, the cravings can still cause serious problems for you and might lead you down that slippery slope.
Make sure to reach out and get the help you need from medical professionals or family and friends. The best way to push past an alcohol addiction is to ensure you are nipping the cravings in the bud because if you have the tools to manage cravings, everything else falls into place.
One of the best and most effective ways to ensure long-term success with sobriety is to get professional help immediately. By doing this, you can get to the root of why you are abusing alcohol to begin with, helping to eliminate the trigger response to use alcohol in the future. So reach out today to get the help you need and deserve right now.
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- Hartney E. How to Control Your Alcohol Intake. Verywell Mind. Last edited August 29, 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/can-i-control-my-alcohol-consumption-22394