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Are You Sure You’re Craving Alcohol?

by | Stop Drinking Alcohol | 12 comments

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. Mark Twain

Today I’m just going to be talking about just a couple of simple things that you can do if you are getting cravings just after you’ve stopped drinking alcohol.

Or a bit later on like I do sometimes so stay tuned.

I’m Kevin O’Hara for AlcoholMastery.com and I just wanted to make a quick video of a couple of simple things that you can do, that you can introduce into your life, if you are getting cravings, even after a couple of days or a couple of weeks or a couple of years like I sometimes do.

A craving is really just an urge, it’s something that comes up out of the blue sometimes.

It’s often triggered by things in your environment and people around you.

Basic trigger mechanisms are at work here.

Your craving is basically something that either that pops up in your emotions as an emotional feeling, as a physical feeling.

Or it can pop up as something that you are thinking, just a thought that’s coming into your head.

What I really want you to ask yourself is are you really craving alcohol?

Is it an urge for alcohol or is it an urge for something different?

If you think about the craving like – did you ever get an itch somewhere where you just can’t find where to scratch?

This itchy feeling, I often get it after I walked in the bottom of my legs, it’s just like an internal itch somewhere.

I don’t know what the hell it is.

That’s what I think the craving is like.

And often I think, 60% or 70% of the time, you’re talking about this urge being to do with the lifestyle that you’re changing, it’s to do with – not so much the alcohol but the hole that is left behind after you’ve stopped drinking.

So you go through your normal alcoholic routine, you come home from work and you take a drink whenever you’re sitting on your couch at home, you go to the pub, all those times when you do drink, once you take alcohol out that equation, then you’ve left a gap and it’s often that gap that you’ve got to fill.

But sometimes it’s a lot simpler than that.

Filling in the gap, doing things that are going to progress your life forward and move your life away from alcohol.

That’s going to take time but a couple other things that you can really do in the moment are to do with what your body is interpreting as the craving for alcohol that it is actually something quite different.

The first one of those is water and this is something that I had in spades when I was drinking and when I stopped drinking and still sometimes I get this every so often.

Now when I was drinking, as I said I used to work in a fairly manual job, so I was using a chainsaw most of the time.

Most of the time I’d be covered in a lot of protective gear; the helmet and safety pants and gloves.

Living in Ireland you’re often wearing jackets and heavy jumpers, that kind of stuff to work – rain gear that kind of thing.

When I was working I’d often get thirsty and by the end of the day, that thirst would manifest itself in my brain and my thoughts as a need for alcohol.

First thought that would pop into my mind often when I would finish work would be I’d love a pint now, I would love to sink a cold and clear pint of lager or Guinness or whatever it was at the time.

I have talked about this before but halfway through the day, I would subconsciously be backing off away from drinking water to enhance that first pint, to enhance the flavour or the taste or the satisfaction of that first pint.

By the time I was finished working in the evening, I’d be gagging for a pint, I’d be really,really thirsty.

And I’d often go into the pub and order two pints on the go, because they were Guinness and because Guinness took a little bit of time to pour and to settle and basically arrive right in front of me on the counter, on the bar top.

So I’d order a couple of pints and that first one would just go down almost straight away because I’d be that thirsty.

It was only afterwards when I started thinking about this and once I stopped drinking, that I realized that it was actually thirst.

It wasn’t anything to do with the Guinness or the craving for alcohol but it was actually just being dehydrated.

The Guinness was doing nothing to satisfy the dehydration, I should know – alcohol is a diuretic.

That was one of the times that I knew was basically just times when I threw out my drinking life that I just basically mistook feelings of thirst for cravings for alcohol, this was what I used to drink when I got thirsty, it was the thing that I used to drink, was get a few cans of cold lager on a sunny day.

So that’s one of the things to look for.

I still get it every so often, now I still get that and I thought of when I’m really thirsty and it is.

I think about it and realize that my mouth is completely bone dry, at the back of my throat is bone dry, that my body is craving for is some water to drink and my mind for that one second would start to interpret those feelings as wanting a cold beer.

This especially happens if I’m thirsty, when I’ve come in from a walk, often I go for a walk before we meet up in a restaurant or something like that, I’ll be thirsty going into the restaurant and I sit down and might be a couple of other people there that are drinking beer and that automatic thing happens.

So that’s one thing to think about, is your craving actually a thirst for water?

It’s one of the big things that people face just after Christmas if they’ve given up alcohol in January.

There’s a lot of alcohol that’s being consumed beforehand, which is dehydrating and has dehydrated your body, and you’ve been probably drinking alcohol in place of water so you’re not really dehydrated.

How long has it been before you’re actually dehydrated, I mean before you were actually hydrated?

Think about all those snacks that you’ve been eating while you were drinking, especially over Christmas when there’s a lot of that kind of stuff around.

So when people give up, they tend to feel the symptoms of dehydration.

Which can mean sometimes feeling nauseous or getting headaches that kind of thing.

Make sure that you’re hydrating yourself enough, especially in the evening if you haven’t switched to something else.

You haven’t figured out what to replace the alcohol with at this time, then you probably need to drink a bit more water.

So just make sure that you are hydrated and that should cut some of the cravings.

Just as another thing, that’s just reminded me off, if you are switching out from alcohol to something else, try and stick to healthy drinks.

Try and drink water is the main thing.

If you can get a lot of water down you, that’s going to do you a lot of good into the long run.

It’s going to do your body a lot of good.

If you can change one thing in your life that will make a big difference and a big impact almost immediately, it’s to hydrate yourself more.

Keep drinking water and get yourself hydrated.

Make sure you drink, I don’t know what it would be, I drink probably about 4 litres of water a day, I don’t know what that is in American standards.

Avoid sugary drinks or those non-sugary drinks Coke, Fanta all that kind of stuff.

They’re just crap, it’s not going to do you any good.

It’s going to do you more harm than good.

These drinks are really not going to satisfy any of your cravings or it might satisfy them in the short run.

But there’s a lot better things for you to be taking into your body which I’ll talk about now, and that’s carbohydrates.

Carb yourself up, this is very important.

Like I say the alcohol has got a lot of sugar in it.

That sugar might have turned into other things.

But there’s a lot of buzz around your buzz, sort of thing.

You’re getting a sugar hit and that sugar is addictive on its own.

You might have a sugar addiction as well as an alcohol addiction.

Some of the cravings that you might be getting, might be for sugar.

One of the best ways of getting good sugar into your diet is by complex carbohydrates.

You might find that the sugar is causing you to have low blood sugar which is going to give you a drop in energy.

Once you get a drop in energy then your willpower is going to suffer as well.

So you need to keep those carbohydrate levels and the sugar levels up.

But as I said, it’s a lot better to do it with good complex carbohydrates like rice, beans, brown bread is good but I wouldn’t recommend too much of that, wheat products and stuff.

Try and get it from many unprocessed sources as possible.

Fruit is a great one – I mean I love bananas too.

They’re a slow releasing carbohydrate, deliver sugar over a sustained period.

Instead of giving you that big sugar hit and then you get the corresponding drop afterwards.

Bananas are just a brilliant source of long term sustainable carbs.

I’ve often talked about the dangers of the poison in alcohol, the toxins in alcohol and how your body is treating those.

But in a lot of drinks like in Guinness and in beer and that kind of stuff, there is some small bits of goodness.

There is sugar, there’s plenty of carbohydrates and if those things that your body has got used to and your body is going to crave.

When you stop drinking, you’ve just drop this big source of fuel that your body has been using.

And now you’ve got to try and replace that.

If you don’t replace it, you’re going to find yourself lagging.

You’re going to find yourself having problems with your ability to keep up with everything, your energy levels are going to lag behind, and you’re going to find this whole journey to be much more difficult.

Try and get as much of that carbohydrates from naturally whole foods that you can fruit and vegetables.

Like I say bananas are my favourite, rice, beans, pasta – brown pasta, whole wheat pasta.

Avoid the white crap as much as you can.

If you can get really good thick dense bread that’s made out of good grains then go for that and avoid processed crap including chocolate.

I mean this is doing you no good it might give you that spike of energy but you’re getting that corresponding dip which is bad for you.

So what should you do?

First keep yourself hydrated.

You’re probably going to be dehydrated after you’ve quit drinking.

You need to keep up those levels of water flooding through your system.

I mean we’re made of whatever 70-75% water.

So you have to keep replenishing that stock and make sure you stay away from the crappy processed drinks like those fruit juices that just sit on the shelf for months on end.

They’re sugary drinks that you get in the bottle that are all fizzy and they’re just crappy.

They’re no good for you so you should try and avoid them.

If you can get some decent homemade smoothies into, you that’s a benefit.

Because you’re getting hydrated and you’re getting the vitamins and minerals and all that stuff from the fruits and vegetables that you putting into it.

Next carb yourself up, eat regularly, eat regular good whole foods good carbs, eat smart all the time.

This is the time to start thinking about your body, your long term future.

If you want to live a long life, not only you live a long life more importantly live a life that is full of vitality and health – one way you can do things right up until the end sort of thing., you need to start being super cautious about what you put inside your body.

I mean this is what’s been going on all along.

For me, the change was completely radical when I stopped putting alcohol inside my body and all the crap that that entailed.

Not only the rubbish of the alcohol but the rubbish that I was using at the same time.

Think about every morsel of food, every drop of liquid that you put into your body and it should be doing you good.

Don’t be putting crap in there because crap in and crap out.

You are what you eat and what you drink and that’s basically what it boils down to.

Before I go I wanted to tell you about something I come across the other day about processed foods. It was this American chiropractor from Alaska, I think it was Anchorage.

She owned a healthy alternative chiropractic practice.

She bought a Happy Meal from McDonald’s and she kept the Happy Meal for six years.

She opened up this Happy Meal after six years and it looked almost as if she’d bought it the day before.

Now there was nothing changed, there was no signs of fungus or degradation or anything.

She said that she shows this now to her patients just to have them avoid this type of food.

And I know she’s a chiropractor but whenever I eat food like that, any crap food, I haven’t ate them in a long time by the way, but whenever I started eating fatty foods, my joints in my knees swell up and I can really feel it in my back.

There’s just different parts of my body start to swell up, different parts that shouldn’t be swelling up.

I’ll put a link to that down below, in the post below so you can take a look at what this Happy Meal looked like.

Happy Meal, yeah, this is the thing that people give to their kids.

Anyway that’s it for this week or that’s it for today.

Should have another video up on Thursday and another one of the videos for the new course, the new stress course.

If you have any comments at all then leave a comment down below.

Love to hear what you have to say about keeping yourself hydrated or carbed-up.

If you’d like to leave a like button, click the like button below if that’s your thing then please do.

It helps the channel to get recognition and stuff like that.

Anyway until next time.

I’m Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery.

Onwards and upwards.

Belief can be a deception you play on yourself!

Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!

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  1. Stephen

    Hi Kevin,
    Just to inform that There is no ‘Like’ or ”Dislike’ buttons visible for me on this page.

    Good comments about the dehydration and using beer to quench thirst after a hard days work.
    I did this for years and only associated thirst with a need for more beer.
    I sometimes have difficulty with remembering to drink enough water during the day but I have found that I can easily drink several mugs of herbal tea during the evenings.

    Onwards and upwards,


  2. jane

    i also can not locate ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ buttons?

    Thank you Kevin your work to assist persons with alcohol probs – sending you accolades!


    • Kevin O'Hara

      Thanks for commenting. There are no like buttons on this page. These are only meant for those watching on Youtube. Maybe something for the future.

  3. Julie D.

    For me, there were two parts to the craving–the sugar, and the feeling of “comfortably numb” which ultimately became uncomfortable.

    Since I don’t like fruit (sugar), I admit I still indulge in sweets i.e. a nice pastry or piece of cake. I don’t know if the sugar craving will ever go away in its entirety. We’ll see.
    Quitting soda for me was worse that alcohol, but I’m doing it! J

  4. Doc

    Another take on the same subject. When I weaned off alcohol (at home), I found that I was STRONGLY craving being at the bar!! I enjoyed the people (now ex-drinking guys and gals), the female bartenders (young, pretty, talkative, often scantily dressed), the HAPPY HOUR drink ‘bargains’ (can drink more for same money), and free pizza and 1/2 off appetizers (drink more AND eat more junk). The place purposely and successfully motivates you to come in often, drink more, and spend lots of time and money. It was difficult to withdraw from the place.

  5. victor

    Thank you Kevin, Just what I needed to hear, I was going through some terrible mental cravings and decided to watch a video. just happened to pop one up on cravings. Must be a sign. Thanks again, Vic

  6. Patrick

    I drink to quench my thirst after a long day’s work and that always turns out to be a very bad mistake. I have to make sure I drink a lot of water all day. I live in the tropics so it is always hot. When I drink, the dehydration just kills me. When I am sober, I feel wonderful and I am now committing to stay off the sauce. I really appreciate this blog and these videos. I used to be an AA junkie but I left after 6 years of sobriety. AA doesn’t work for me and I am much happier now even though I still struggle.

  7. PJM

    I get dehydrated when I drink then just keep repeating the cycle with alcohol. To make it all much worse, I live in the tropics and it just runs me down. Thanks to these videos have been able to stay sober for 3-4 days, then I break down. It beats drinking everyday but now I am committed to stopping completely. Thanks for all your effort, Kevin.

  8. Pauline

    Yesterday was 1 week since I have had a drink. It was warm and sunny outside, I had finished putting in my garden filled will good veggies. It is a holiday weekend and I found myself wanting a drink. I tried not to let that thought consume me. I think I even had a conversation in my mind of why I didn’t need a drink. I did make it through the day with no alcohol. I bought some lemons and mixed that with my water. It helped but the thoughts were strong to take a drink and get that buzz, that, take all my cares away feeling. Then I started thinking of all the things I was able to do this week with my extra time and the cravings stopped. Thanks Keven for sharing your story to help others, It is a great thing your are doing.

  9. Edina Mckeown

    Hi,Kevin, love all your videos, I’m trying to give up the poison, I feel ike your my friend talking to me, giving me grateful advice, thank you. …Love your accent. ..I live in Blackpool, I’m sure you have heard of that….all the best, Edina.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Yep, been to Blackpool a few times, the tower and all… love it. 🙂

  10. Allie


    I couldn’t agree with you more on so many aspects.

    My enzymes are high. My financial life is ?? but the more I try to cover it up with booze the worse it gets. The front of the brain ( the secretary) is out to lunch. The back of my brain. The CEO can’t handle all the calls coming in. And the old habit of hiding from myself and everyone else.

    I don’t believe in AA. Would I want to keep re-living my rape? Hell no. Living like a victim? Hell no.

    Bless the men that created AA. They didn’t know what else to do. And thrir studies have saved, lives and marriages.
    I went to an AA class one time and it made me want to drink.
    AA needs to change. I don’t understand why there is not a focus on the positive steps taken. I strongly believe that calling yourself an alcoholic 3 times a week is messed up and reinforces that you are.
    I believe in support and love and there should be meetings for that.. but instead of ( I’m an alcoholic) and claiming that in your life. Claim that youre life back, claim peace within yourself and healing. Claim you’re goals, claim you’re dreams. But don’t reinforce claims of alcoholism.

    I live in Washington state and if there is anyone that would like to join me in positive, chain breaking, group please reach out.

    Kevin, thank you for sharing.



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