Cravings or repercussions after I give up drinking

You are going to get cravings for certain things if you are thinking of giving up alcohol, and I'm not just talking about alcohol itself.  I want to break down some of the things I have been craving since giving up drinking.


Alcohol is a highly addictive substance.  If you are a habitual user of alcohol, then you are going to get cravings for it. Once you take these cravings away, your body is going to want to replace them with something.


You are not going to get all of these cravings as some of them will be for certain types of people, certain age groups or certain genders.  

1) Tiredness

Right now, I'm going through a period in my life that is making me feel extremely tired after lunch around 12 o'clock in the afternoon.  My diet has not changed, but my sleeping pattern has. Back when I was drinking, I would want to stay up pretty late to take advantage of the nightlife Hanoi had to offer, now I'm getting up crazy early (sometimes as early as 5 am).  


Most, if not all of my friends would meet up in the bars and drink until the early hours.  Now things have changed, not only due to lockdown and the bars closing but also gyms are shut too.  I used to have much more energy when I was able to go to the gym and train for a couple of hours.  Even though I was burning a lot of energy, it actually gave me more energy than just sitting around the house.  The reason I had more energy is down to something called mitochondria cells. The more you exercise, the more your body produces of these cells and they can reproduce by growing larger and then dividing,  and the result of this is more energy.


So now with no reason to stay up to go to the bars and the gyms being closed, I'm getting increasingly more tired sat at home doing nothing other than working at home.  I have resorted to exercising at home, but this just does not have the same appeal attached to it as the gym does.  In order to go to the gym, I would need to prepare myself to get into gym mode. Being at home, the whole day can go by where I am working and realise that I have not even thought about exercising at home.  Not exercising is making me tired, and even though through not drinking, I have the motivation to go to the gym, I actually cant right now.

2) Sugar Cravings

There is a lot of sugar in alcohol and your body becomes accustomed to it. Now you will be able to lose a lot of weight if you are cutting alcohol from your diet, just one small glass of wine a day is enough calories over the week for a full day worth of calorie intake. 


With less sugar going into your body on a weekly basis, your body makes be wondering why it is missing.  It is at this point that you may get sugar cravings, and this could lead to binging on sugary snacks.  I do indulge in sugar now and again, but I much prefer to have a diet version if at all possible.


A few of the diet versions of snacks or drinks I have are recently diet drinks like Pepsi or Coke, or any other article drinks I can get my hands on, or a fruit tea that I add my own artificial sweetener to.  These drinks do stop the sugar craving a little bit, but too many of the artificial drinks can make me feel ill if I drink too much.  So I do try and limit the amount of diet Coke I drink a day, along with limiting coffee and tea.  I don’t want to be loading up on caffeine all day if I am trying to get to sleep at a normal time each night.  


I will also try and stop sugar cravings by creating a sugar free, but still sweet-tasting snacks.  The one I have been going to recently is microwaved popcorn with artificial sweetener.  I add 50  grams of popcorn kernels to a bowl with some artificial sweetener crushed up and blast it in the microwave for about 4 minutes.  It's only about 100 calories for this full bowl of popcorn, just be careful of getting it out of the microwave.


Don’t worry, artificial sweetener is not going to kill you! You are much more likely to die from being illnesses attributed to being obese or alcohol-related death.

3 Video games

This is more likely to be something that younger people are going to get sucked into, but I myself have been using video games more and more after giving up alcohol.  I'm afraid it can be classed as another addiction as well.  


I have put in a lot of hours on certain games, and although it is a way to fill an evening, it's still not seen as a good thing to do with your time by many people.  But in reality, is it really hurting you to play computer or video games night after night?   Would people say you had an addiction if you were playing a board game like Chess? What if I'm playing Chess on the computer?! Is it still an addiction if it’s a classic game but with computer-generated graphics? 


So I think using video games to take your mind off a drinking session is a good way of stopping yourself from drinking too much alcohol, it's certainly less damaging to your health.

4 Taking anti depressants

You may find yourself craving some kind of high if you drop alcohol from your lifestyle.  You get a disconnect from reality each time you drink, so you are going to be missing out on this weekly feeling of a different reality.  You may think about some kind of alternative to get you into a different frame of mind.


In my experience, using antidepressants for trying to change the way you feel, does not work long term.  As with other drugs including alcohol, the more you take, the more your body becomes accustomed to it.  This will lead to you requiring more and more of the substance and will lead to dependency.


I do have experience with this. I've tried Modafinil for trying to work harder. Although it did have a quality that helped me to become more alert. It's actually made me crash later on during the day. The next day I did feel kind of lethargic, as soon as I woke up. I don't know if I would try this medication again, because it does have mind-altering properties similar to amphetamines. According to Google, Modafinil can be a habit-forming drug. So, I would not recommend it. If you do have addiction problems.


More than likely Modafinil will not be available to you anyway. But a lot of online pharmacies do sell the medicine. You may think about taking sleeping pills as well. If you normally go to sleep after you have been drinking large quantities of alcohol then you might be looking for something to give you this feeling of drowsiness.


If it's a non habit-forming sleeping pill, then this could be okay for you. But a lot of them are actually addictive. I would suggest trying to speak to your doctor about this, but you could think about using melatonin which is meant to be physically non-addictive.


The issue with all of the addictive substances is similar to alcohol, your body is going to crave them after you stop using them. So anything that you try should be non-addictive.

5 Sex addiction

something else which can be quite addictive is sex because it releases endorphins. So you are having a pleasurable experience and enjoy the sensation. But ultimately, you may just be trained to replicate the feelings that you have when you are drinking alcohol.


If you find that you are wanting to have sex more and more, then it could be becoming a problem related to stopping drinking.


You could be from swapping out alcohol for the feelings that you get from sex.


If you are wanting to have sex every single day, then it could relate it to not getting the high you are getting from alcohol.


If you find that you are thinking about cheating on your partner, or you're actually thinking of trying to hook up with random partners, to get a high from sex, then you may have an issue with sex addiction.


I would suggest trying to find out if sexual addiction is something which had started after you gave up alcohol? One way to do this would be to write a journal to record the amount of sexual activity you had when you were drinking, and the amounts of sexual activity you have after you have drunk after you have stopped drinking. If you are becoming more sexually active. After you have stopped drinking, then you may be using more than one sexual partner. And you may be taking greater risks. By doing this, it may be difficult to curb your sexual appetites.


If you have lost something like alcohol in your life and your partner is complaining that you want sex too often then this could be a good indication that you have a sex addiction now.


It might be something that you want to talk to your partner about.


I would recommend seeing a counsellor and explain to them that you have recently given up drinking alcohol. And now you have a greater desire to engage in sexual activity. If the sexual activity you're having is fine with your partner, and they have no problems with it. And you are engaging in healthy sex life, Then it is no problem for both parties involved. Please be aware that if only one of you have given up drinking, then the feelings may not be mutual.

6 Cigarettes / vaping

Are you a smoker? Have given up drinking, started smoking instead? This may be due to the fact that your body is craving, another high.


If you used to be a smoker in the past, and now, since quitting drinking you feel the urge to start again be aware that this is your body telling you that you require something to fill the void that alcohol has left since you stopped drinking.


If you used to smoke cigarettes when you were drinking alcohol, your body will be associating cigarettes with the feeling you get when you are getting drunk and it is now craving this feeling. So if you find yourself starting to want to smoke cigarettes again, this could be the reason.


Some people say that cigarettes are more addictive than alcohol and/or harder drugs combined and a lot of people do have problems giving up cigarettes. The addictive qualities and the habit-forming qualities are very hard to give up. If you do find that you have started smoking cigarettes again and cannot quit. Then you could try an alternative, such as nicotine gum or vaping. Although vaping is pretty much an unknown entity, at least it does not have the carcinogenic properties that inhaling smoke into your lungs will have – it's just vapour as the name suggests.


Starting vaping, if you have started smoking recently, could be a good alternative. Please do not just start vaping unless you are a smoker.


I used to be a smoker when I was younger and I would prefer to smoke when I was drinking. I did not really enjoy smoking on its own unless it was alongside a beer.


Now I've given up alcohol, I do not feel the need to smoke, because I'm not drinking. Drinking was always the thing that made me want to smoke. So giving up drinking alcohol has actually made me not want to smoke, even more. Not only is it a filthy habit, but it is also extremely expensive. In the UK, my brother is a long term smoker. He spends at least 10 pounds a day on cigarettes, which is about $14 a day. He has no problem is drinking, either. But when it comes down to smoking. He will light up, even without having a drink in his hand. He can smoke any time of day, from eight o'clock in the morning, through to just before he goes to bed. He must be smoking about 20 to 30 cigarettes a day.

Conclusion

A lot of cravings are going to arise when you remove a drug from your system such as alcohol.  Be aware that you are going to be craving something to fill the void and control these urges.