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How To Stop Alcohol Cravings

by | Questions | 27 comments

(0.27) Your cravings
(1.21) My movies
(4.31) Your mind

Eat Well

You need to eat good food when you quit drinking because you’ll be helping your body overcome the damage you’ve caused. Your body will be better able to deal with any cravings if you provide it with a good supply of nutrients and vitamins. Chow down on lots of fruit, vegetables, lean meat, fish, and complex carbs – whole meal bread and pasta for instance.

Drink Water

I can’t think straight if I’m not properly watered!

Sleep Well

Even though you might have a little trouble sleeping at first, you’ll still get a better sleep than when you were pickling your body every day. Your brain will take a little time to adjust to the new way of doing things – not being drunk at bed-time – but it’ll soon get used to it.

Have more time in bed, enjoy it. Take long hot baths with epsom salts before you retire for the night.


Your body needs exercise daily, or most days at least. Exercise will take your mind off the cravings.
As soon as you feel any cravings, try taking a walk. It’ll only take ten minutes, but it’ll pull your mind away from alcohol.

Rope in Some Good Buddies

Have a buddy that you can call or visit when you’re cravings are high. Just hearing an understanding friendly voice can be enough to pull yourself together.

Do New Stuff

Do something new in your life. Get a hobby, join a group, take a night-class, just get out there and enjoy life.

Distract yourself until the craving passes

It’s very easy to distract yourself. Don’t sit on the couch getting all soppy, thinking of the reasons you can’t do this, push the negative thoughts from your head, get up off your arse and do something.
Go for a walk, take a run, go for a bike ride, do the dishes, play a video game, play with yourself, listen to some rock and roll – dance, just get up and do!


Go into the bathroom and stand in front of the mirror. Lift your hand in front of your eyes… have a good look at it. Now I want you to bitch slap yourself across the face.

Tell yourself to wise-up. Get real and stop whining!

You’re not going to poison yourself any more… period!


Play your tape from beginning to end

Your tape is the story of your drinking, every detail from start to finish. Picture the whole thing playing out in your head, like a movie.
Begin with your craving.
What do you feel?
What do you see in your mind?
Are there any sounds?
See the movie in your mind.
Now what do you do?
Do you have drink in the house?
Do you normally go to the pub?
Do you go to the liquor store (off-licence in UK)?
See it in your head.
Walk with yourself to the pub.
See yourself ordering the first pint
…pick it up…
…taste it…
…drink it!

Now order another. See yourself drinking it!
Then order another. See yourself drinking it!
Do it again and again!
Watch the movie in your mind.

Play The Movie All The Way Through!

Feel yourself getting more pissed.
Hear yourself speaking, slurry, vulgar, not doing it very well.
Hear yourself saying something stupid, cretinous, then something else moronic.
Everything you’re saying sounds stupid.

See yourself walking to the toilet, staggering, burping and mumbling to yourself…
See yourself leaning against the wall in the toilet, pissed and pissing.

Move the time forward to leaving the pub pissed, last orders has been called ages ago, you’re told its time to go home.

You get home and try to get your key in the lock, scratching at the keyhole, eventually you get it in.
The front door opens.
You see the darkness.
You feel the coldness.
You hear the silence.
Be aware as the loneliness surrounds you… Feel it!
Watch yourself staggering to bed, pulling and wrenching your clothes off, scattering them around the bedroom floor, collapsing into the cold bed.
Your head spins.
You feel let down…

See yourself in the morning.
Feel it!
Hear it!
Watch the movie.
Play the tape.

Now hit the rewind button!
Flip it and Play it backwards.

See yourself going back to bed.
You go back to sleep and wake with your head spinning… it’s an odd feeling waking up pissed…
Get up and notice the loneliness, the cold, dark, and silent room.
Your clothes fly into your hands and you pull them on.
You stagger down the stairs, taking your keys… you leave, go out the door.

You have trouble pulling your keys away from the lock for a few moments.
You wobble up the road, back to the pub.
You’re not very welcome are you!
The barmaid hands you a near empty glass, it’s dirty!
You feel the beer rising from your belly, coming up your throat, into your mouth;
You put the glass to your mouth and spit the beer into it.
You gradually fill the glass and hand it to the barmaid.
She takes the drink and gives you money. She Gives You Money!
She puts the glass up to the tap and the beer is sucked up.

You take your wallet out and put the money in, you feel a little less drunk, a bit better.

The barmaid gives you another empty dirty glass and you slowly fill it in exchange for money.

You become more and more sober.
Your wallet gets more and more fuller.

Eventually you leave the pub, the barmaid gives you a lovely goodbye, and you feel great.

See it all in your mind.
Play the tape.
Watch the movie.

Each pint goes back into the barrel.
Each barrel is carefully carried out of the pub to a waiting lorry.
The truck goes around all day collecting the poisonous contents from all the bars in town.
All the barrels of beer are taken back to the brewery where they’re put into vast tanks where they go through a process of de-alcoholization.
The end product is clean water, sugar, barley, and hops.
It’s a great movie… a blockbuster!

Take out your “reasons for not drinking” list

Some people have flash cards, I had a list.
On the list were all the reasons that I was quitting alcohol.
Each of my reasons has emotional baggage.

My son…

I could see him in my head. I saw the way he looks at me when I’m drunk. Anger in his eyes! They say “you’re not supposed to be doing this!” “You’re my Dad – you shouldn’t be acting this way!”

My partner…

I see her feelings being hurt, it’s written all over her face, my bad drunken words… putting the world to rights, telling it how it is, ‘Plain Spoken Kev’ telling it like it is… Asshole me!

My health…

I feel my heart thumping in my chest at two o’clock in the morning. I feel frightened and weak. Am I going to have a heart attack right here in the bed, in the dark, on my own? How many nights did I have to get up so I could calm myself? What kind of life is that?

Don’t try not to think about it…ride it out.

You must not try not to think about drinking.
Play your tape.
Acknowledge your feelings.
Understand the cravings.
See the drink golem and know that it is dying, you’re killing it, but it’s not going to go without a fight.
Fight the little fucker!
You’ve got to strangle the life out of it!
Kill it!


What I Did

One of the things that really helped me to overcome my urges was joining a yoga class…Kundalini yoga. Practicing yoga helps to focus my mind, helps me to relax my body and has taught me how to sit quietly and meditate – to be in the moment.
When I was in school, one of the things I frequently had to do was write punishment lines on the blackboard… you know like Bart at the beginning of every Simpsons episode….
“I must not burp in class”…
“I must not draw naked ladies in class”…
“Garlic gum is not funny”…
“I will finish what I sta “…

This is a great trick for cementing non-drinking values.
I still do my lines every morning – positive affirmations. I have fifteen sentences altogether.

For example>>>>
“I am in control of alcohol, not the other way round!”
“I really enjoy being free of alcohol, I feel better and better every day!”
“I never use substitutes!”

I started out by writing each of them once and repeating them two or three times in my head.
I did that until I could repeat them without looking at the list.
Now I say them in my head every morning while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil.

Another thing I do is picture my son and the kind of life he’ll have if he decides that following in my footsteps down the alcohol road is a good idea. I picture him as a middle aged bald wreck, without a job and arguing with an alcoholic wife. His house is a mess, his life is a mess, and his head is a mess.

There’s whole movie that I play in my head.

A real scary fucking movie!

I can see it on a one hundred foot screen, surround sound.

I see myself in front of the screen with a flame thrower, one of those you see in the old war movies, and I spray that screen from one side to the other with liquid fire, and I watch it burn real quick!

As the screen burns and parts of it fall away, I can see that there’s another movie playing behind it, on a screen that’s even bigger than the first, moving towards me, getting bigger and bigger.

Filling the screen is my son laughing his head off. He looks really healthy and happy. He’s there with a beautiful wife and children playing on a lawn. He has a good career and a wonderful life.

I see my influence there. I see that when I gave up drinking it changed the way he saw me, changed the way he saw life, his life!


I’m Only Interested In What Works

I know some of the ideas in this post are a little out there, they seem that way to me when I’m writing them down.
The point is they work.
And if they work that’s the war won.
The mind is a powerful tool, probably the most powerful tool on the planet. With your mind, I believe you get what you ask for in this life.
If you tell yourself you’re not going to be able to quit, you won’t quit, how can you? Your wish is Your command!
You can use your mind to do anything you want, including giving up alcohol.
You don’t need it.
You need water.
You need air.
You need people.
You don’t need alcohol.
Use whatever works for you… and good travels!

Leave a message below if I can offer any help at all in your fight with alcohol.

Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards…

Download the Transcript for How to Stop Your Alcohol Cravings

How To Stop Alcohol Cravings transcript

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  1. Mike

    Hi Kevin,
    Well here I am again – trawling the web looking for yet another kick start that will lead to sobriety.
    Came across your site.
    I’m an intelligent man with a lovely wife and two young boys, yet I seem powerless. The day after my normal session – bottle of 13.5% and a can of 9% whatnot and I’m like the guy in ‘Groundhog day’ committed to doing the same thing over and over again.
    It’s totally weird knowing I have a problem and not wanting to drink during the day, but I know that come the evening my daytime resolve will be under attack from my drinking side. Shortly afterwards will see me off to the drugstore beating myself up as I hand over the money.
    Back home I start the ritual and a few hours later the empties are in the recycle ‘bin’o shame’ and I make my way upstairs, knowing I will be awake at 4am and will not get back to sleep.
    I don’t get nasty, just withdraw into myself or speak tom my wife if something profound comes into my head. The worst that happens is I’ll fall asleep in my chair and crawl upstairs at 5am maybe.
    It’s ridiculous as in all other ways I’m very health conscious. But the feelings of helplessness and shame are becoming overwhelming so I guess there is hope when the guy inside who cares about me isn’t giving up.
    Yeah, I could do with a hand Kevin.



    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hey Mike, That’s the first step, listening to the person inside who’s screaming for you to stop. Most people who have a drinking problem will do anything not to listen. The next step is to stop, no matter what. My family was my real kicking-off point. If I was on my own I think it would have been harder. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it. We always start of because of the world we live in. I began drinking as a badge of independence and ended up drinking as a badge of dependence. I think that sums it up for most of us.
      Good luck on your journey Mike. Stop back and let us know how you’re getting along…
      Onwards and Upwards!

  2. Laurie

    hi, My name is Laurie, my son is in his 30’s married with two boys. He’s been a heavy drinker for years. pint or 5th of whiskey ,plus. every day. I wrote him a letter. his drinking is now making him mess up at work. ruining his family. He has admitted it and wants this out of his life. he has anxiety really bad and shakes. if he doesn’t drink. the doctor is putting him on Librium for 3 days to detox at home, I will be with him.. so . I don’t understand. he said nothing about how you quit? did u just stop? I’ve heard this is dangerous. anyway. I fear for my son’s life. I don’t know what to expect. any help?

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hi Laurie. I really feel for you, having to watch your son go through this. The only advice I can really give you is to take one day at a time. I’m not in a position to give you medical advice because I’m not a doctor. I would say that if your doctor has approved home detox then your son should be pretty safe. I quit on my own. It always takes a lot of mental effort to get over the physical withdrawal. The body will heal and, if you’re son sticks to it, he’ll be free from it in no time.
      Quitting drinking is simple in that it only requires not drinking any more. Our bodies have a wonderful capacity to protect us, if we’re poisoning ourselves with alcohol or nicotine, or in repairing the damage once we quit.
      He is doing the right thing by quitting. By continuing to drink he’s adding to the damage that’s already been done, but you know that! You are doing the right thing by sticking by him and giving him all the help he needs.
      I’m not sure if I’ve been of any help to you. Let me know how things are going?
      All the best to you both!
      Onwards and Upwards!

  3. Laurie

    need help

  4. Emily

    Hi, I am a mother of two beautiful young boys. I am 34 and love to drink red wine. I do however find myself feeling taken over by the urge to drink. As I go grocery shopping I sometimes talk myself out of buying wine even. But I always find myself back buying more a day or two later. I also, make a promise to myself during the day not to drink when I arrive home and then break that promise day after day. I also get looks of dread from my husband when he sees me having another drink. I can easily drink a bottle by myself if I allow it but most of the time drink half. I love love love your mentality on the way you’ve stopped drinking. I to am into health/fitness and I even eat healthy but I feel as if I am on a downward spiral that I can’t stop. What also FREAKS me out even more is my father is a recovering alcoholic and he does the AA and I am on the same path as him. So thank you for your website/video’s on youtube. They are a real eye opener!

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Thanks for you kind words Emily. The only time I have ever felt in control of my drinking is in the last year, since I quit. I know I’ll never touch a drop again and I love that feeling of being in control of my life. Before that, no matter what I did, the effect of the alcohol got in the way. No matter what plans I had, the urge to drink would take over when the opportunity presented itself. It’s all about understanding that one thing, alcohol will always hold you back from living your dreams. I look into my son’s eyes, he’s 22, and I wish I could take back all the times he has seen me drunk. It’s one of those things that still can tweak my emotions. But, I can’t go back, I can only look forward. I still have a great relationship with him and I can now give him 100% of my time when I’m with him.
      I wish you all the best, Emily. Onwards and upwards!

  5. Dan


    I guess I am just starting to realize that I too have a problem. I also have two beautiful boys and hit a low recently at one sons bday party. This is one of the first times I blacked out and only recalled celebrating the birthday song cause I recorded on my phone. Pretty eye opening for me. I drink cause I feel like I deserve it, It’s been 3 weeks since I got drunk and did have a glass two weeks ago. While stopping my anger is noticeable to my kids and wife. Any advice? The last time I was sober for a short period of time was 13 years ago when I raced road bikes, I am 40-50 pounds over weight and truly want to get healthy for my kids and wife. Any advice for the holidays coming this next week? I feel the need to have my wife and kids go without me to friends as I don’t want to be tempted.
    I appreciate your website as it’s the first time I have shared my thoughts with anyone.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hey Dan, losing all those precious memories is sad. But there’s nothing you can do about it. You can make sure you never lose another memory because of alcohol. What is deserving about poisoning yourself? I understand where you’re coming from. It was always one of my excuses, I finished a hard day’s work so I could have a drink because I deserved it. I had a shit day at work and didn’t work so hard so I had a drink because I deserved it for putting up with such a shit day. I missed a days work because of my drinking the day before and I would have another drink – I deserved it because I felt so crappy and a drink would fix it. I wish I could tell you something that would stop you getting angry when you don’t have a drink. As long as you think you’re missing out on something, you’ll feel deprived and angry. You’re missing out on nothing, that’s the truth. You’re only missing out when you drink. Missing out on real life, your wife and kids, the memories… I’m glad you shared your thoughts and I wish you well Dan, let me know how you’re getting along.

  6. MrBean

    I admire your work, I do. But, you never mention why do we have cravings, there is constant conflict inside us. That is between concious and subconcious mind. We need to work on the second one to overcome addiction, the one that still wants to drink. We need to reprogram subconcious mind, which is our boss. That could be done by meditation and or hypnotherapy. What do you think about those technics?

    Take care,

    • Kevin O'Hara

      The video is just too short to go into that, plus the hypotheses and theories about the subconscious mind involve varying views. I believe that most of the action takes place in the environment. We learn how to become drinkers and we have to deal with it from a physical aspect. I understand where you are coming from, I think meditation can help – it’s helped me, or at least my form of meditation has helped me – and hypnotherapy has got some possibilities. I really don’t know enough about either to make any meaningful judgements. I am more focused on the ways a person can help themselves to overcome the mental holdups that arise from habitual drinking.

  7. MrBean

    Hey Dan!

    I admire your work. But you never mention the root cause of why one has cravings. This is stored in our subconcious mind. There lies the devil who whispers to your concious mind that you need to have a drink. So there is always this war going on in your head – constant conflict. You try to distract yourself with other things, but… devil burried alive never dies. The way to kill the devil is by using some technics like Hypnotherapy, Meditation/visualisation, etc… those heal your subconcious mind. That would permanently solve the problem. You have to rewire your mind. What do you say about that?

    Keep up the good work.
    MrBean 😉

  8. Mariposa

    Dear Dan,
    I thought that bcause I only drink wine I didn’t have a problem. After all- the Europeans drink a glass with lunch & dinner. Red wine is good for the heart…. I don’t taste hard liquor, much less fattening beer. So, I thought I was a high end- expensive wine (to avois headaches) and champagne ( only for celebrations) drinker. I thought it was was chic and IS perfectly acceptable in society. Until- one glass became one bottle or one and a half…. Mostly waking up tired, mortified if I had written something stupid the night before on my cellphone to somebody, falling frequently alone at night from walking (weaving) through my house. I have had at least one anger or embarassing incident with each one of my theee kids and my parents. I divorced my husband for cheating on me and judt felt lonely. I took my wine as my companion to blur my loneliness… but it has actually blurred my motivation, my thoughts and my relationships ( not to mention the lack of sleep). I have asked God to help me stop. I loved the method of playing the film in my mind so I can see the disgusting, sad and lonely aftermath that awaits me if I open that bottle at night. Im trying to pray more, walk more, drink some tea & read. Im trying to get up every morning fresh to take my 9 year old daughter to school. I’m hopeful my kids will notice the lack of alcohol in my breath, notice my clear eyes that no longer swim in a dazed stupor… that my sober boyfriend can see I take control of my life, accompany him with a selzter water and am conscious always of what I do or say. Thank you for your words of wisdom. They will help me every day.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      It’s one of those things about drinking, we all think our drinking is not bad. Alcohol is a drug, anyone who drinks it is taking a drug – no matter which fancy way it’s been ‘wrapped up’. I had the same thing with my red wine, the more expensive the better… I felt like I wasn’t drinking, merely partaking of the delicate flavor of the deep rich oak aged nectar. What a con! I have some great stories for some future videos about the greatest ‘wine tasters’ on the planet not being able to distinguish there arse from their elbow…
      Your kids will definitely notice the lack of alcohol on your breath, they may not say anything, but that’s cool as well!
      All the best

  9. Maria

    I just found your site on you tube. Thank you for the taking the time to help others. I am having a bugger of a time quitting drinking for more than a few days. I believe I can now after watching your video and visiting your website. Thanks again and God Bless you.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Glad we can help!

  10. dax

    Hi my name is Dax I live in denbighshie in the U.K. and I have watched some of your clips on you tube. I have not had a drink now for 10 days. but I did not drink everyday only when im upset, stressed, when my mum died in feburay this year and when had a bad day at work. But now im stating to snap at my b/f and I do not like it plz help


    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hi Dax, Sorry to hear about your mum. It’s a stressful time for anyone. I hope you find what you’re looking for here on the website. There’s over two hundred videos on the site now, you should find something in there to push you forward. If you have any questions that I haven’t covered, let me know and I’ll make a video.
      Take care

      • annette

        Dear Dax,
        Reading Allan Carr’s book Easy Way to Control Drinking that I heard mentioned in Kev’s video has helped me halt. Not to mention just sitting in a AA meeting was a very sobering experience. Also joining in netwarriors.org has helped immensly. Hope these tips help!!!! Cheer up! My mum died too and I now feel I have an angel looking out for me helping me in ways she couldn’t here on earth, sick as she was. Hugs!!! You can do it!!!

        • Kevin O'Hara

          Well said, Annette!

  11. Jessica

    I’m Jessica. I’m a 26 year old, single mom of an 8 yr old boy. I stayed sober for a week, but the weekend was really hard. Is it impossible to control yourself and only have one or two when you go out on a date? I don’t do well in social settings. I have convinced myself that alcohol makes me more outgoing and less nervous.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hey Jessica,
      Does the alcohol make you any less nervous? Or do you think it does? Most people don’t do well in social settings if they think that. We all have nerves socializing, esp when your not yet comfortable with the other person. I completely understand. But the bloke is just as nervous as you. Doing this without alcohol means you grow. Relying on alcohol means you don’t, you rely on the drug to do the work for you. The problem with trying to control alcohol is that it’s a drug. You know what happens when you take a drug, you need more and more to get the same kick. We don’t look at alcohol in that way, but that’s the reality. It’s completely probable that you will control your nerves under your own steam once you are able to relax. Look for some relax techniques that you can do just before the meeting, you’ll feel way better and build your confidence for the next time.
      I wish you very well, Jessica!
      Take care

  12. Renny

    Great advice. It is January 5th, 2015 and I’m in the same place that I have been in so many times before. Head is killing me; stomach hurts and I have to go to work today. Oh Joy. This is not a joke, this alcoholic stuff. It’s just not a joke. I did what you said and recorded my mortified and freaked out self just now as day 1. I realize that I can’t just have one and I can’t just have a drink one day a week/month, etc. I’m always all in and I feel like shit. So now I have to go all in and turn the other direction. Play the movie backwards as you say. I’m 50 and that number itself scares the shit out of me. My god, I may only have another 20 or 30 years left – meaning, I am more than 1/2 way through my life. My body at some point is going to shut down I know. Today dear friend. I start today.
    Thanks for being there for me at 3am when I woke up terrified. Keep up the good work.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      We’re all in the same boat, Renny. It’s not the amount of years you have left that really matters, it’s what you do with them. The amount of time I’ve wasted in my past, all those ‘good times’ that I can’t even remember. Start treating your body with the same respect you would for a prize racehorse that you just spent 10 million on. You are worth far more!

  13. peter

    Love you man in a Christian man up type of way..I’ve been taken to the woodshed a million times and this am listening to you made me realize self communication is key to mental mastery of this addictive vice called alcoholism, drunkardness whatever you want to call it..I’m a professional poker player so I love games and that’s how I beat the bottle today by realizing its just a result of thought process, all these years searching for silence and I realize the way to win is to play the hand backwards you taught me that thanks. I spent 52 bucks on booze yesterday and have had over 90,000 drinks in my life and I’m here saying stick it satan you couldn’t kill me now I’m a new man, 2 cor 5 17…….booze has cost me half a million dollars now I need to live 32 more years to earn back from satan what he stole, my time , possession’s, sobriety, saneness,,,,,Either I win or satan does and I can’t lose cause I’m Christs…thanks man

  14. Skip

    Hi Kevin, enjoyed the U-Tube videos, am 58 years old and have been drinking beer since I was 18. Am at the point where I want to quit, never got in trouble, just want to improve my life. Thanks for all the info, would love to keep in touch, think it would help.

  15. Casey

    Thank you I was having really bad cravings in your movie sequence got me through! God Bless


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