4 Ways the AA 12 Steps Helps You Beat Cravings
For many in recovery, overcoming alcohol addiction turns out to be harder than expected. Even after drinking stops, cravings for alcohol can persist for months or even years thereafter.
When there’s no recovery plan in place, these conditions leave a person at ongoing risk for relapse. As elusive as cravings may seem, they actually result from changes in a person’s psychological makeup caused by alcohol’s effects.
The AA 12 Steps approach directly addresses these changes by helping a person replace addiction-based thinking and behavior with a mindset that’s based in sobriety.
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4 Ways the AA 12 Steps Can Help
1. Seeing Alcohol Addiction for What It Is
It’s all but impossible to see addiction’s effects on your thinking without some form of outside help. In effect, a person “lives inside” the thinking processes that drive his or her emotions and behaviors, according to Harvard Health Publications.
The AA 12 Steps approach brings addiction-based thinking to the forefront so a person can see how cravings take shape in his or her daily life.
2. Working Through Underlying Emotional Issues
A dysfunctional upbringing, emotional trauma and unresolved emotional conflicts can all create conditions that drive a person to seek escape through alcohol’s effects. While drinking can provide a source of temporary relief, over time, alcohol’s effects actually weaken the brain’s ability to “live with” buried emotional issues.
These conditions only work to increase drinking behaviors, creating a downward spiral into alcohol addiction. Through AA 12 Steps, a person gains ongoing emotional support while developing needed tools for working through the underlying issues that drive alcohol cravings.
3. Learning Healthy Ways to Manage Daily Stressors
According to Mayo Clinic, more often than not, people who gravitate towards addictive behaviors do so as a way of coping with everyday stressors and pressures. This type of coping behavior tends to develop when a person knows no other way to manage his or her life. This type of learned behavior also fuels alcohol cravings.
A big part of the AA 12 Step approach involves helping recovering addicts better manage daily stressors while developing healthy ways of coping with life’s ups and downs.
4. Learning to Ask for Help
AA 12 Steps is based on the support group treatment model. Support groups offer a range of benefits for people trying to accomplish a common goal. Some of these benefits include:
- Emotional support
- Always having someone to talk to
- Knowing you’re not alone in your efforts to live a sober life
AA 12 Steps also places a heavy emphasis on the importance of reaching out and asking for help, especially when the urge to drink seems overwhelming. Over time, learning to ask for help replaces the need to have a drink, which is in essence how the makings of a sober lifestyle begins.