When you give up drinking, it’s normal to crave a drink at times.
This comes from your body preparing itself for alcohol in situations where you usually drink, or when you’re reminded of drinking in some other way.
The example of Pavlov’s dog may make this clearer. Pavlov was a scientist studying animal behaviour in order to gain more insight into human behaviour. When the dog was given a dish of food, it began to salivate. This was how the dog’s body got ready to digest its food. Whenever the dog was fed, Pavlov rang a bell. After a while the dog would start to salivate even when it had only heard the bell. Its body was getting ready to digest the food, even though hearing a bell was the only sign of food it had received.
People work the same way. The body prepares itself for the arrival of alcohol as a reaction to certain stimuli. We call the resulting feeling a desire or inclination to drink.
These stimuli can vary greatly from person to person: the smell of alcoholic drinks, a certain place or situation, or a particular feeling. How about you? When do you feel like drinking and why?
Recognising cravings and learning to deal with them is an important part of learning to cut down on (or quit) drinking.