Do you crave alcohol? This is how you get rid of cravings!
We have now reached day 7 of IkPas. This means that after today you have not drunk alcohol for a week. Do you find it easy to fit in, or do you regularly crave alcohol? Carien Karsten, psychotherapist and expert in the field of shopping addiction, took part in Dry January several times herself, but continued to long for her daily glass of wine. She decided to treat herself and shares her successful approach here!
After participating in Dry January twice, psychotherapist Carien Karsten knew she could stop drinking alcohol for a month. Then willpower. Because what didn't work was to stop longing for a glass of wine.
Desire, also called a craving called, is caused by the nucleus accumbens, the part of our brain - no bigger than a peanut - that is after rewards. The greater the expected reward, the stronger the craving and the more there is an addiction. In the case of a craving for alcohol, this does not have to mean that you drink a lot. For example, Carien was a moderate drinker. Yet her own strong desire bothered her. She therefore decided to treat her craving as an addiction, using the same technique that she uses in her treatment of shopping addicts.
Create new reward reminders
The technique that Carien used revolves around replacing your craving with a competitive pay picture. In other words, you are going to replace your memory of the rewarding glass of alcohol with new behavior that evokes a new expected reward. With this you train the peanut particle in your brain to start longing for a different reward. So you actually set the reward system in your head to a new ritual.
How exactly does it work?
- Take a moment when you normally crave a glass of alcohol. This can be, for example, in the evening, when you collapse on the couch after a busy working day.
- Now think of an attractive alternative that can replace your glass of alcohol. What do you really like, or what do you have fond memories of? This is how Carien came to her memory of the mini magnums she used to eat as a child to mark the end of her father's birthday.
- Have you found a good alternative? Then imagine during the day how your new reward will taste, feel, etc.
- Then consciously take the time in the evening to enjoy your new reward.
- Every time you reward yourself in the new way, your brain creates a new reward memory. The stronger the reward reminder of your new reward becomes, the easier it is to reach for your new reward next time instead of your old reward: alcohol.
- Do this with attention for a while and you will notice that the longing for your wine or beer slowly gives way to the longing for your new reward.
Carien applied this treatment to herself a year ago. She noticed that her desire for a glass of wine had disappeared after thirty days. So it takes some perseverance, but then you have finally tackled the biggest challenge: the craving.
Although, of course, you will then be looking at it with a new desire. So let's hope your best memories are about popsicles; )