David Sklar, PhD, ACSW
CRAVINGS? NOT REALLY
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I, like all of us struggling with alcohol or other substances, had many fears prior to quitting. My greatest fear was handling cravings. How was I going to stay strong when craving liquor? Longing, yearning, ache, thirst, lust, these are some descriptors for craving.Tough stuff. And it never ends? I am not the king of willpower. At this point I am an alcoholic, and by definition, lack willpower. With addicts inability to exert willpower is a way of life. Fighting cravings sounded like a near impossible task. I did not look forward fighting doing something I crave, but cannot do. Much to my surprise, here is what happened to me and many of my clients.
By the time I quit drinking I was in terrible shape. I couldn't stop myself from drinking and getting drunk. I felt like shit in every possible way. Stringing together my first few days of sobriety was a physical and spiritual relief. Each day of sobriety left me feeling better, and looking better then the day before. Each morning I felt a surge of gratitude and reveled in my newly found freedom. When I thought about, and when I still think about alcohol, I physically remember the awful feeling of being wasted, overwhelmed, unable to respond. I did not crave alcohol, and found that others walking my same path, had the same experience. In treatment I find that people are apologetic when they say several months after quitting that they do not want to drink. It was confusing until I picked up the good old Blue Book. I found Bill W's experience similar to mine and others. " For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we will recoil from it as from a hot flame...We will see our new attitude towards liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes. That is the miracle of it." (p.84,85) This is a crucial point. Sobriety isn't a condemnation to eternal struggle like you all might have been led to believe.