Regular drinking of a nightly cocktail to relax, unwind, decompress is a routine that trains our brain and our body. The more often we use drinking as the escape answer from the day and for an evening of pleasure, the more we experience cravings. Our brain learns to send us "its time to drink" signals when the external cues begin to roll in. Leaving work, prepping dinner, feeling done, stressed, or overwhelmed.
If f you are trying to cut back or not drink at all, understanding just a little bit about cravings helps to change the approach to forcing or white knuckles to awareness and compassion.
If the end of your day often feels like it's gotta be a 2nd shift and you haven't supported your energy reserves throughout the day, decision-making fatigue will overrun any logic and the craving wins.
What's the answer? Begin by managing your energy during the day! Start off with a calm and intentional routine and check in with yourself at least 3 more times throughout the day. Short breaks for breathing, walking, even reading a bit can significantly downgrade the normal uptick to gotta get this day over with feelings.
Still, feeling a bit of an itch when walking through the door? First, invite a little compassion in - remember, you've trained yourself to expect and want it. Cravings are temporary and will not last forever. Retraining is just practicing doing it differently. That's it. Once you do it - the cycle gets its first debit and you can deposit a new habit in its place.
Your Nighttime activities make a difference! After a long haul day, the nightcap urge was my reward. What else feels like a reward to you? What choice feels like an " I get to"? I get to call a friend. I get to put on my favorite playlist. I get to listen to this new podcast, I get to make a fresh press juice & sparkling water mocktail. These are just a few of mine- you'll need to decide what satisfy you.
With "practice" we can change our routine away from alcohol to new healthy habits.