Hey guys.

I’ve been sober since earlier this year, and haven’t touched any alcohol, but lately with the pandemic and being isolated, the urge to start drinking again has been heavily on my mind. What are some coping methods you recommend? I’ve tried to make an appointment to see my therapist, but she never got back to me, and one of the women at the clinic recommended AA once I get my state card.

Does anyone here have experience with using alcohol as a substance that can help me with the urges? Thanks in advance.


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45 comments

  1. MySunshineD Volunteer

    Good evening Jamie Marie, thank you for turning to us regarding your urges. The first step is realizing that its happening and then reaching out for help. I commend you for taking this step. Its so easy to just give in. And so hard to reach out for help. But, you are doing it. I, myself, do not have an issue with alcohol, at this time. I have briefly in the past. But, my daughter, she had gone thru a lot of the same things that you had when she was younger. She was actually very young. I read over what the other volunteers were suggesting and agree with them. There were a lot of really great suggestions and I hope that you were able to find some help. I will say, one of the things that use to help my daughter a lot was AA. Secondly, she was able to find a doctor thru the detox center who gave her anti-craving medications. Have you ever tried them? I hope that you have been able to find the help that you need and I’m hoping that you have heard back from your therapist. If not, possibly reach out to another one? Possibly your therapist isn’t practicing, temporarily, due to Covid. (?) It has been a couple weeks since your post and we would love an update on how you are doing, if your willing. We are all here for you & we are rooting you on. Stay strong! ~Terri

  2. Ashley Day Captain

    Jamie Marie,

    It’s wonderful that you have been sober since the beginning of the year. Since we’re experiencing a pandemic and you have been isolated, it’s not abnormal that you have the urge to drink.
    I know that it has been a few days since you posted this; I see that others who have commented provided you with suggestions for coping methods. I hope your therapist will get in touch with you soon.

    I wish you nothing but the best,

    Ashley

  3. Ruby98 Volunteer

    Hey Jamie
    First of congratulations on your sobriety! I commend you for that because I understand that it is not something easy to do. This pandemic has definitely caused isolation. I’m sorry to hear that your therapist never got back to you, you might be able to find AA online meetings as an alternative. But for the meanwhile, some coping methods I recommend are painting, drawing, a simple jog at the park, listening to podcast, maybe even deep cleaning/organizing your belongings, learning a new recipe and chewing gum. Theres recommendations vary but can be a possible way to distract urges. I wish you the best in whatever method you decide to choose. Thank you for sharing and hope one of these suggestions helps! Stay safe.

  4. mjy1999 Volunteer

    Congratulations on staying sober. I recommend staying in contact with AA see if any local groups are having online meetings. Maybe make some fun non alcoholic drinks or maybe a coffee when you have the urge. Also maybe start a new television show or something entertaining to distract you from the urges.

  5. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for the update. It’s definitely a hard time with regards to the pandemic and having to isolate. It’s great to hear you’re actively taking steps to combat the urge to start drinking again though. As others have said, AA groups might be beneficial, especially if they have the option to meet online. Please feel free to reach out again anytime. Take care.

  6. Thomas Volunteer

    Thanks for updating us Jamie Marie. And congrats on staying sober for so long. That’s a great accomplishment! While I don’t have any personal experience with alcohol addiction, whenever you have the urge you could try taking or doing something else. Like chewing gum (my grandpa did that to stop smoking, which is different but he ended up quitting cold turkey and just chewing gum, or watching a show or playing a game. You could also try reading though that may be a little harder.

    Staying connected with friends and AA support groups online is probably the best strategy however. But you’re doing a great job. Even coming here for help is proof you’re fighting hard. We know you can do this!

  7. colton95 Volunteer

    I don’t have any experience with alcohol, but I definitely have had addictions in the past that I’ve had to fight and resist in order to improve myself and live a truly satisfying life. There were a couple of ways I was able to fight my addiction. These worked for me and may not work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

    One, I distracted myself from whatever bad things were going on in my life by watching fun or funny videos on YouTube or movies on Netflix. This is a temporarily effective way of making myself feel better and resist indulging further into my addictions.

    Two, I reached out to very good and close friends of mine and told them honestly as to what I was going through and how I was feeling, and they helped me go cold turkey. This is a much more difficult coping process to go through, but in my opinion it is much more effective and helpful in the long run.

    I hope that you will be able to break your addiction and no longer feel isolated! Stay positive!

  8. alexiswilliams

    Jamie,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am happy to see that you are willing to reach out. I would recommend doing something to distract yourself from these urges like calling a friend or family member of journaling. Thank you for the update, you are strong!

  9. Neesha Volunteer

    Jamie,
    I am a recovering alcoholic, staying sober and mentally fit has been especially challenging for me as well during this pandemic. I very much recommend online AA meeting and there are online Refuge Recovery meeting. Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist inspired program for alcoholics and addicts. There is a podcast AA Beyond Belief which is for Atheists and Agnostics, they have a very good series on the 12 steps.

    I found journaling, meditating, and cooking to be exceptional ways to cope with urges.

    Thank you for reaching out, and please keep us updated. I’m rooting for you.

  10. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Jamie,
    I’m so glad you’re working hard to stay sober! Thank you for reaching out to us – asking for help can be difficult, and it takes strength to do so. I hope your therapist gets back to you and that you’re able to attend AA meetings soon. If it’s been a while since you reached out to your therapist, I would recommend reaching out again.
    The other volunteers gave some great advice and coping strategies. I don’t have experience with using alcohol, so I don’t want to give you the wrong advice. That being said, I wholeheartedly support you, and I believe in you.
    Thank you for updating us. We’re here for you, and please let us know if you need anything.

  11. Breanna Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thanks for checking in and sharing with us. I’m sorry the quarantine are making these urges worse and that your therapist didn’t get back to you. I’m really proud of you for being sober for so long! I haven’t had difficulties with substances, per se, but for other stressful events/unhealthy urges, I will go outside and go on a walk and listen to a podcast. That one is what works best for me. I’ve also recently started using a coloring book, which has been profoundly distracting, and I’ve also heard from someone that chewing gum was helpful. Otherwise, I think others below have provided some helpful tips. Let us know how else we can help you. Stay strong. You got this. I believe in you.

    Sending you love and strength,
    Bre

  12. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Jamie Marie,
    Thank you for coming back to keep us updated. Others have offered great advice and I do not have any suggestions to add. Good on you for working hard to stay sober and for recognizing when you need to reach out!!
    Sending lots of love and strength your way,
    Roxie

  13. MarciaD Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie – I’m glad you have remained sober. AA is a very helpful and supportive place to start. You obviously have a source to the internet and since you stated that once you get your state card you would consider an AA meeting, I would like to suggest that you attend virtual meetings online. I personally have attended some virtual meetings since the Pandemic started and it has been very reassuring to me that there is a resource out there such as this. I have included a link for vitual meetings in the United States that I hope is helpful: https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/options-for-meeting-online You can do anything just for today. Remember that. Please come back and let us know how you are doing. Good luck.

  14. almax Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    You are very strong for staying sober through such a vulnerable and stressful time. Try to distract yourself with hobbies or even something as simple as going for a walk or watching videos that make you happy can help. It is okay to have urges, you are strong enough to get past them!

  15. yailinrenteria Volunteer

    Hey Jamie,
    Sobriety takes time and it is not easy to achieve. Be proud of how far you have come, it is truly a great accomplishment. It is okay to ask for help. This pandemic has really put a toll on everyone’s lives especially for people who struggle with drugs and alcohol. The woman at the clinic is right, AA meeting might be a good option for you whenever you can. One thing that may help while you get your state card is calling a loved one who you trust whenever you get an urge. Having them on speed dial might help you contact them instantly. It is important to have a supportive circle of individuals that are there for you. You may also want to think of all the good things you have done without alcohol. Try to explore new hobbies and remember you are extremely strong and we are proud of you.
    Best wishes,
    -Yailin

  16. Elvia29 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie,
    Congratulation on being sober for so long. This pandemic is making us crazy and its really hard for someone that is sobering from alcohol. The urge is very difficult to control but it’s not impossible to control it. You have come along way and you are strong, you can fight this urge. I know it’s not going to be easy but I know you can do it. Are there any hobbies you are interested in to keep your mind away from alcohol? With this pandemic, it’s really hard to do anything but we are here for you.
    Elvia

  17. Starling Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    Thank you for continuing to share your story with us. I’m sorry that you had to deal with this. You didn’t deserve this and it wasn’t your fault. If you ever need anything, let us know. We’re always here for you.

  18. rachelb098 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie

    Dealing with the urges must be incredibly difficult, and looking for coping methods is incredibly smart and resourceful! Are there any hobbies or things you enjoy doing? Maybe things, even little things, that give you a moment of relief or take your mind off the thoughts.

    Wishing you all the best,
    -Rachel

  19. jlanderos16 Volunteer

    Hey Jamie Marie! Thank you for sharing your story!
    I’m glad you been sober and haven’t touched any alcohol. I get you how the pandemic is making you want to drink again, but you shouldn’t, since you been sober for a while it shows you don’t need alcohol in your life. You should distract yourself from that and maybe start working out or even go out for a walk. The more you stay sober the more you aren’t going to want alcohol. But I feel your mindset of drinking alcohol during this pandemic, I been there and it wasn’t a good idea. But hopefully you don’t drink alcohol and just stay sober.

  20. Rustin Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    The pandemic has been horrible for individuals that struggle with drugs and alcohol. Definitely look into some AA meetings if you can. They are having many of them virtually, so that may make it easier for you to attend. This may sound tacky, but make a list of things that you can do other than drink. A craving may only last 2-4 minutes, so the best thing you can do is occupy your mind with something else. Take a walk. If you are crafty, find some type of craft that you can turn to. Keep a few close friends or family on speed dial and call them when you can an urge. Start to notice when these urges are occurring during the day. You may find that there is a pattern and if you find one, you can then make a routine to help you with that time of day. Also, play the tape forward. For some it helps to think about what can happen if you start to drink again and are these consequences worth the drink? I’m sure you’ve come so far and you deserve to continue pushing further. Keep up the great work and I am proud of you for reaching out to ask for suggestions. Keep us updated!

    -Rustin

  21. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie!
    I think to be able to be sober for this long shows how strong you really are. Congratulations for making it this long with no drinks! Be proud of this accomplishment! This pandemic has everyone on edge & causing people to do things or say things that normally wouldn’t be an issue. To take your mind of wanting to drink, maybe you can do something you enjoy as a distraction. I believe in mindfulness. Mindfulness is taking time to be in the moment by using all your senses. It provides a safe alternative & is a great way to help keep you focused. (an example might be taking a walk & smelling the air, looking to see what is around you, touching, & hearing) This provides a rethinking of the mind & suddenly, the thing that is a desire becomes less. I know the struggle is real, & a hard one to avoid. I believe in you & that you can continue on your road to sorority. Keep doing it for you because you are worth it!
    Dawn

  22. cindy024 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I hear you, try and find other hobbies to do instead of urging yourself of drinking again, and keep the negative thoughts away.

  23. aegardiner Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    You are so strong – you’ve been sober for many months and I know you can continue to do so! The pandemic and being isolated is a constant struggle, you are not alone in feeling like you need to find ways to cope. I’m not sure about the best way to handle the urges your feeling outside of doing whatever you can to distract yourself, but I wonder if there is another therapist you could see? I’m surprised your therapist never got back to you! Do you have a good friend or family member you could talk to about how you’ve been feeling. Just letting one person know who you could trust would check on you could be a real benefit to you right now. Take care!

  24. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you for coming back to talk with us. Congratulations on being sober for so long that’s amazing and takes a great deal of self-control. You’re right, with quarantine and isolation it’s a bit harder to avoid some of those things. A couple of things I would suggest: going for a walk can be a good distraction for your mind and get you away from the bottles in the house. Plus, you can listen to some of your favorite music or a favorite podcast to further distract. If it’s the taste, I find that having seltzer water or some form of bubbly non-alcoholic drink can help fix a craving.

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  25. caitlynmmiller Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I, unfortunately, can’t give any advice on experiences with substance control, but I want you to know that I am so proud of you for making it this far. I’ve seen on social media that this is a problem that many people are also dealing with. You are not alone. I would suggest googling some online resources for dealing with alcohol. There might be a zoom session you can join if you feel comfortable. Please remember a step back isn’t the end of the world. Don’t beat yourself up. They happen. Just keep going to make it ten steps forward. We’re always here for you.

    Caitlyn

  26. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey Jamie Marie,

    Thanks for sharing an update with us. While I can’t give any tips on fighting those urges, I want you to know how incredible it is that you’ve stayed sober during this pandemic. Isolation is really difficult and it’s definitely taking a toll on everyone in different ways. You’ve made it so far and I know you can pull through. You’ve got this! Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you. Stay strong!

    Marissa

  27. lizzi

    Hey Jamie,
    You’re not alone in the struggles you’re having right now. This pandemic is making it hard for many people that struggle with substance use, for so many reasons. Isolation is a big one. I know for me, I haven’t been able to see my therapist since February and that’s not helpful. I’ve been sober for quite a few years, but the additional stress of life right now has made this the hardest year so far in sobriety. I don’t know what resources you have around you but some things I can recommend: talk to supportive people in your life about how you’re feeling and that you want to drink. If possible, have them help hold you accountable so you don’t go back to drinking. If you can’t get to an AA meeting, there’s another program called SMART Recovery, and they are running online meetings right now. It’s different than AA, but basically still a support group. I don’t know what your hobbies are, or if you’re able to do them right now, but sometimes just distraction from those urges can be super helpful. I like to spend time outside so depending on the weather and how much time I have, I’ll walk my dog or take my kayak out on the lake. Beyond that, there’s so many coping mechanisms out there, it’s just a matter of finding what ones work best for you. I hope some of that is helpful, and please keep us updated when you can. We care about you and don’t want you to go back to drinking.

  28. pianogirl44 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I understand feeling isolated with the pandemic. It has been hard for a lot of folks and has created feelings of isolation and restlessness. I do want to congratulate you on your sobriety. That is an incredible thing and you should be incredibly proud of yourself. I don’t want to recommend anything that perhaps sounds frivolous or meaningless to you. When I have struggled during this pandemic, there have been a few things that I have turned to: focusing my attention elsewhere (e.g., starting a book series that will keep you occupied and invested), joining facebook groups (e.g., can be special interest facebook groups about TV shows, books, activities, or groups about sobriety), re-connecting with friends via skype. I sincerely hope that your therapist gets back to you, I know a lot of people have been MIA recently because of summer vacations and the back to school season, so I’m hoping that she replies soon. I definitely think joining some type of facebook group where you can feel connected to others can be powerful since your focus is on making connections with new people and will allow you to shift your attention. I really hope that some of these suggestions were helpful. I know how challenging this pandemic has been and I wish you all the best in the coming days and weeks.

  29. haesol Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    Thank you for the update! it’s nice to hear from you again.
    First off, congrats on being sober for so long!! we’re ready at the 9th month of the year, so you’ve been doing really well!
    Getting urges to fall back on old habits is normal, especially on such exceptional time like it is the one we’re going through currently. Don’t let this deter you, you’ve already accomplished so much by staying sober for months, you can keep up the good work!
    As I haven’t gone through drinking nor has anyone who I’m close with, i can’t really recommend you copying mechanisms as I don’t want to say or offer the wrong things. However, I found these sites with some useful information that I hope can serve you well:
    https://www.intoactionrecovery.com/how-to-stop-alcohol-cravings/
    https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/tools/Interactive-worksheets-and-more/Stay-in-control/Coping-With-Urges-To-drink.aspx
    I wish you the best! stay safe,
    -sol

  30. rohina_kumar Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    Thank you so much for coming back on here and updating us! I want to start off by saying that it’s amazing that you’ve been sober so long. That’s a great accomplishment! That being said, I understand that these are difficult times for most people and people are reacting to it in different ways. I’m sorry that it’s affecting your drinking habits. Although I don’t have any experience with alcohol, I would probably suggest trying out other, healthier strategies to de-stress, since you may be resorting to alcohol as a way to relieve your stress. Maybe indulge in activities you enjoy – personally, I really like dance and karaoke. I think distraction could go a long way. That being said, I hope your therapist gets back to you or you get into AA as soon as possible. We’re here to support you through your journey. Please remember to be kind to yourself. Feel free to come back on here at any time and updating us! All the love.

    – Rohina

  31. jcas120 Volunteer

    Hello Jamie Marie,

    It’s great to see you back for another update. I’m sorry that you’ve been going through some alcohol urges lately. The pandemic can make things very tough! I remember seeing in April there was a massive spike in alcohol sales. The fact that it’s September and you’re still staying sober is a big accomplishment. Also, according to the CDC there will most likely be a vaccine in just a few months. You’ve almost made it through! Stay strong, you’ve got this!

  32. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Jamie Marie,

    I, personally, don’t have any experience with using alcohol as a substance and can’t offer any specific advice. I think it’s very brave of you to admit that you are struggling right now, and by reaching out for help you are maintaining an overall healthy mindset of recovery even though you are struggling right now. Have you looked through our resources? Maybe they will be able to offer the additional support you need until your therapist is available or you can get into AA. Hang in there! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here for you!

    All the best,
    Becca

  33. Solongago Volunteer

    Congratulations on your sobriety. I have never had a substance abuse issue unless you include food. Food pretty much boils down to sugar, which alcohol also boils down to. Food can change your mood. Food can stuff feelings. Food can cause devastating health effects. Much like alcohol. It is next to impossible not to eat when folks around you are eating, when you smell it cooking. All events seem to be punctuated by food. With food, you really can’t get off it cold turkey or count the days of sobriety. So maybe I do understand some of what you are struggling with. Because I struggle with food and the urges to cook and to EAT all the time.

    I can suggest things, but I am afraid they will all fall flat. I think that what really works is what comes from inside of you.

    All I can really say is that I and many others here, I am sure, love you and care about you. We have read and followed your story and struggle along with you. We would love to see you fight the good fight and come out on top. But we love you even if you fall off the wagon, and have to start again. And again. And again. Be gentle and kind to yourself.

  34. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Hi Jamie- Thank your for sharing with us. I think that’s normal, many people are struggling with the urge to drink during these times. You are definitely not alone. Maybe try reaching out to old friends through text or a call. I’m sure they are also feeling lonely, so maybe that can help both of you. Hang in there!

    Ryan

  35. musicislove

    Hi Jamie,

    The volunteers below me have given some great advice that I hope you find helpful. Alcohol hasn’t been a huge problem for me but I definitely could see the suggestion of using gum or candy to keep your mouth occupied being helpful. Good luck and know that we’re here for you!

    Delaney

  36. KatherineL Volunteer

    Hi Jamie,

    It seems like others have given you some solid advice and links that can help. I’m not an expert on this so cannot add anything to what others have shared, but just want to offer my support. It’s awesome that you’re using the resources available to you to find ways to cope with the urges. You’re already showing great strength and determination, and should be proud. You’re doing great, hang in there.

    KatherineL

  37. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Jamie Marie,
    I know this whole pandemic has been very hard. Continue to stay strong. I don’t have too much experience when it comes to alcoholic addiction, but when I get very depressed I have one reticular method that I do that might help. First I just try to count to 1, if I can get my self to count to 1 then I try to count to 2 , but I always start at 1 again before I say a new number. If I can say 2 then I go to 3 so I would say 1, 2, 3. I do this until I get to 10 once I get to 10 I just remind myself that I made it through all those seconds. If I can make it through one second I can make it through the next minute, hour, day, whatever I need to tell myself. If you can’t say a number, for example say you can make it to 4 but you were supposed to get to 5 just start over from 1 and work your way back up. I know addiction is different than depression, but maybe counting can help take your mind off of thinking about alcohol. I hope this was helpful. Thank you for updating us. We are here if you need anything.
    -Alyssa

  38. tolleytn Volunteer

    Hi Jamie!

    Thank you for reaching out to us for help. Although I am not an alcoholic, I have struggled with nicotine addiction for a while. I find it helpful for me at least to have something that keeps me orally fixated (i.e. gum, lollipops, etc.). Maybe distracting yourself when you feel the urge to drink like going on a walk, watching Youtube videos, meditating, taking a shower, etc. could help. Best of luck and I wish you the best!

    – Tiffany

  39. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Jamie i never experienced a addiction however i am so sorry you are experiencing the urge to drink. I know that is a difficult demon to deal with. i know of aa meeting meeting through google meets, zoom and online platform. if you need resources for those or resources to help the urge please let me know. I can find some and send them your way.

  40. colton95 Volunteer

    I’m not an alcoholic but I do have an addiction, especially of late, to online shopping and junk food consumption. Due to the stress of both COVID and work, I often just want to eat whatever is delicious over whatever is healthy and watch fun movies or shows. Even though I have Netflix, I’m pretty sure I’ve spent over $100 by renting movies on Amazon. We both will be able to overcome these urges and get through these tough times. Stay safe and strong!

  41. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Jamie. I’m sorry you’re struggling right now. The pandemic and all the time at home makes it really difficult to stay on track. I think it’s great that you’ve been sober since earlier this year. There are a lot of 12 step programs that are available online through Zoom, etc, right now. There’s also some 12 step programs that deal more with trauma survivors too. And one benefit of this pandemic is since a lot are online, there are a lot more options and specific focuses that might not have been available in your area. I go to one every week that is for childhood sexual abuse survivors. Let me know if you would like more info. Reaching out to a friend/sponsor/mentor when you feel the urge to drink is also a good idea. Hang in there, it will get better.

    1. Jamie Marie Volunteer

      Could you link me? That sounds like a good idea for me 🙂

      1. kelly Day Captain

        No problem! This is the directory for the Survivors of Incest (defined broadly) 12 step meetings:
        https://siawso.org/fellowship/groups-meetings/meeting-and-group-directory-2/

        I’m not too familiar with how the AA side of things works, but here’s a link I found for online meetings:
        https://aa-intergroup.org/

        I also have a list of online AlAnon meetings for Los Angeles area, not sure if that is something you’d like. And if you feel like checking out my home group for Survivors of Incest on Tuesday nights I can send you the login info privately 🙂 it might actually be in the link above if you search for Los Angeles

  42. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Hi Jamie,

    Thank you for coming back and reaching out! I have some friends who are sober and have had struggles because of the pandemic-I know one of my friends still attends virtual AA meetings, and she has found AA really helpful. I’m not an expert, and I’m sorry your therapist didn’t answer you-maybe try one more time? I think therapy would be good too-you can also text our crisis text line, VOICE to 741 741 and they may be able to connect you to resources specific to drinking. I hope this helps, and come back and share here if that helps too!

    Erin

    1. Jamie Marie Volunteer

      That’s what I was thinking, with everything being virtual. I’m not sure if they’re even doing in-person meetings yet, but once I get my card in the mail, I’ll try again.