Alcohol and cravings

Hi everyone,

I know its one of the cardinal rules of quitting smoking to not drink but, stubborn as a mule, I deceided to give it a go. So about a week into my quit I had an invite to a party and gave it a lot of thought beforehand, as I've never been able to have a couple of drinks without smoking. The elation i felt the next morning was fantastic as I managed not to smoke (however I did come worryingly close).

The interesting thing was that it didnt seem to just be the pschological factors that made it difficult. After one or two of glasses of wine I got a bit upset for a very petty reason which I now realise was withdrawal symptoms as exactly the same thing has happened since. This leads me to believe the real problem that lies with alcohol is that your physical cravings increase - my patches felt completely useless.

My tip - If you want a drink and experience the same as me then a piece of nicotine gum should make you feel as right as rain and alleiviate the cravings. (It worked for me anyway!)

I would love to hear other peoples views/experiences on the subject - whether you agree with my tip or not. :p

26 Replies

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  • Totally agree - Giving up cigs ws bad enough so I wasn't also going to give up alcohol! Since that first weekend I've had some nicotene chewing gum in every handbag I go out with just to give me that 'kick' if I need it... its better than a fag!

    Apparently the physical reasons are all to do with the acidity levels of your urine. When you drink (as well as when you get upset or stressed) the acidity of your urine increases by a tiny amount. While non-smokers wouldn't even notice this it just so happens that this more acid urine actually breaks nicotene down faster taking you into withdrawal. It makes sense that the patch didn't seem to work because you body actually was craving a higher level of nicotene than usual as it was processing it faster.

    Please someone correct me if I've got it wrong but I've read this in a few places now. I find it really helps if I understand the whole acohol/cigarette craving connection when I'm on nights out :)

    Well done on holding out Pen316, it really is an amazing feeling in the morning!

  • I am closing 2 months on my quit now and just don't seem to shake cravings when drinking. Whilst under the influence, I have actually decied for few times now that if this doesn't get any easier soon, I will quit my quit. Luckily I have managed to get thorought to the morning, when everything looks brighter again.

    I think your tip sounds great for those who are on NRT. However, I have decided to go CT and a thought of putting nicotine into the system seems like a step back now. If anyone has hints that don't include nicotine, I would love to hear some :)

  • Morning all, I quit Christmas Day CT so I also decided that for the short time I was going to be a non smoker I would give up Caffeine/Alcohol/Sleep, (last one was unintentional) and replace them with Chocolate/Crisps/And any unhealthy food I could lay my hands on.

    It worked for me as you can see and now I can drink and not want a cig at all, I was an unintentional quitter who has stayed quit and will I hope never smoke again.

    If you struggle to drink and not smoke ask yourself which is more important to your health, stopping drinking for a while so you stay quit or drinking and smoking ??? Iced water is really good for curbing cravings.

    Good luck to you all and try your best to stay smoke free, its not easy we all know that but so so worth it in the long run.

  • ...now I can drink and not want a cig at all...

    Ah, thank you for this one! I really needed to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have though about the absolutism route as well but... I just soooo love a glass (or 4) of wine now and then. Family and friends will get very suspicious as well... not sure if I can bare their hints, like pointing out cute baby clothes :rolleyes:

  • I know what you mean about avoiding nicotine but twice already I've seriously scared myself by almost lighting one while no one was looking on a night out (my friends are actually wonderful and would never let me do that if they saw!). I know that if I wouldn't have had the chewing gum there and then I would have started again. I only keep the gum in until the craving lasts and surprisingly I've never actually had the withdrawal symptoms again after the gum... What a relief!

    I thought about quitting alcohol too but I would get way too frustrated... it's already enough to feel bereft about losing one thing, I couldn't add another one!

    Have you ever seen the Palmolive bottle demonstration? I picture that in real life while watching people smoking around me... its disgusting enough to usually make the craving stop.

  • I was really worried about being out drinking and not smoking but I find it strangely easy... so long as I go outside with the smokers while they're having one. My brain doesn't seem to notice that I haven't smoked... just keeping up the routine of going out to the smoking area seems to be enough (and the bonus is that I still get all the craic...!)

  • You should be so grateful for the smoking ban! In Luxembourg you can still smoke anywhere and everywhere... and no one looks at you funny!

    Went to Paris on the weekend and while smoking was still quite socially accepted it still wasn't allowed inside which made not smoking a million times easier (and my clothes smelt a whole of a lot nicer!)

  • It didn't make any difference to me, i got drunk all the time after i quit smoking and it didn't make me crave it. I thought about it but didn't want anything to jepardise my quit. ;)

  • This was ,and still is ,a big one for me.

    I have to say in my opinion, drinking in the early days is risky as it can increase the cravings bigtime....and while slightly inebriated it's all to easy to go "f*ck it" and have one.

    However, My longest ever quit was for six months and i decided I was just gonna have to learn how to drink alcohol without smoking as no way was i gonna give everything up. IT is possible. Just have a few to start with and drink at home, gradually increase, then attempt a night out. if you start to be craving to be with the nasty smelly smokers , take self off out of situation and have a fattening takeaway. And don't drink anymore!

    After six months i could drink without smoking, but i still felt "risky" if you know what i mean.

  • After six months i could drink without smoking, but i still felt "risky" if you know what i mean.

    Can I ask you how did you quit? Did you use NRT? See to me 6 mo and still feeling "risky" sounds a bit depressing. I was hoping this problem would disappear sooner. However, I went CT as my theory is that this way I will get over the cravings faster.

    Looking forward to the day I can have a glass of wine without having a battle with my self.

  • Looking forward to the day I can have a glass of wine without having a battle with my self.

    Amen to that Savuton!

  • This is my biggest worry if i'm honest!

    I enjoy a drink and, even though i've definitely cut down on the number of mad nights out for other health reasons (mainly that my hangover lasts for 2 days, i get really bad depression-like symptoms the next day or so, and am trying to manage my weight) i know myself when i've had a few.....My resolve and will-power tends to go out of the window and i become that 14 year old brat again, doing the "i'll do what i want and you can't stop me" attitude!

    I am on day 3 and am using patches (NRT?) and am feeling okay and fairly strong-willed so far. But with Christmas around the corner there will be a few occasions where i know i will be tested.

    The tip of having chewing gum available is definitely one i will try, but any other ideas that have worked for people will be much appreciated.

    I am determined to break the cycle and become a non-smoker this time around....i'm 27 and will be thinking about babies in a few years, and my worst fear is what i see on a daily basis with a close friend with a 2 year old (who is my god-daughter incedently).....she smokes at the back door with her daughter running around at her feet, and she has recently started copying mummy by holding a crayon like a cigarette....something i never want to experience with my own children :eek:

  • i think ive been narrow minded about this as i dont drink, is it the same as cigs? hard to not have a pint?

  • Most of the time, our cravings are amplified after our first drink. Therefore, whenever attending social events, announce your intentions to abstain from alcohol by giving valid reasons (allergies, work etc.) to stop people from offering you drinks.

  • Wow, what a difference a month and a half can make!

    Somehow, without me realising it - it's happened! I no longer feel like having a cigarette while drinking.

    In fact, I had my favourite champagne on the weekend at a work do and saw loads of ppl going off to have fags and I just thought 'what idiots, they're completely ruining the taste of it!'

    I still get that thing that Jenni gets of the teenager saying 'I can do what I want and you can't stop me - na na na na naaa naa!' but it's rare (and only when very drunk) and never strong enough to get me to smoke.

    Anyway, just had a little giggle to myself realising what I had written there and that I don't feel that way anymore... I'm well happy bout it!

    How's everyone else feeling?

  • Glad you got there Sofia. Can't say the same unfortunately. I am still going crazy when having red wine and its not getting any easier :mad:

    The only thing replacing cig efficiently is a plate of nice cheeses and thats not good in my pre Xmas health spur :)

  • When I quit I had a really hard time with drinking too. I think it's because it reduces your inhibitions even more so you're more likely to give in. What I did (and what I suggest anyone do, as long as they can get over feeling silly), is just drink with an UNLIT cigarette in your hand and go through all of the motions of smoking it WITHOUT LIGHTING IT. Stupid as it may sound, I did that for a few weeks (while on the patch!) and it really, really helped me. I looked a bit daft but I didn't care: it kept me from smoking! Maybe I'll add that to that nonsmoking article I wrote, since it seems to be a common problem for people.

    Good luck and hang in there!

  • SLB i've done the same as you, coming back to this after a while and, guess what? So far so good!! How good are we?! :p

    Have had a few drunken occassions and even though i can't say my cravings have gone completely, they are no worse than when i'm sober. I find my nicotene inhaler works really well, even just to play with and to have something in my hand. I've taken to ordering fancy cocktails that have fruit and stuff in - more to occupy your hands, plus i can afford them and taste them now i don't smoke!!

    I keep a bag of boiled sweets/lollies/gum in my bag which can help. But really it's been much easier than i ever thought it would, which is brill!!

    Oh, and the teenage brat in me can be satisfied by some stupid dancing or childish antics (chatting up the barman and then racing shopping trollies helped immensely last time, and i won the race cos i can now run faster and for longer, ha ha!!):rolleyes:

    Good luck to anyone still struggling with this, just find what works for you.

    Xxxx

  • my word im so glad im not the only one who still wants to drink i dont want to give up that side :( but know that i wilbe tempted if i do drink especially when im out so basically from day one ive made sure ive got plenty of booze in the house and had a couple of drinks not every day but ive not been denying myself and so far the cravings for a ciggy are getting weaker with each drink but ive only been out once since i stopped and drank and that was just for a couple of drinks not a session so will just have to wait and see how i get on :)

    i can now drink coffee without automatically thinking i want a ciggy now so hopefully i wilbe ok with booze as well mind you not sure if its my taste buds but i dont drink that much coffee now as it just dont taste the same even though ive not changed brands :confused:

  • Hi All

    I am only on day 3! I drank alcohol last night for the first time, not that much but I was dreading it, turns out it was better than drinking coffee, which I just dealt with immediately on day 1 of quitting. A pint actually made me more relaxed then I am feeling all the time at the moment.

    Due to timing and a friend staying with me I have to face a whole night out tonight which is a bit different to 2 drinks with a meal, I really hope I can make it to day 4 & have instructed by bf to text me regularly with DONT SMOKE type messages. I am armed with calming sweets from the health food shop & I just hope these are enough. Interesting tip about the non lit cigarette in this thread although Im 50/50 about whether that would ease the craving or just make me more tempted to light it

  • ... Interesting tip about the non lit cigarette in this thread although Im 50/50 about whether that would ease the craving or just make me more tempted to light it

    Just buy a 'craveaway' plastic fag from the chemist.

    I would still advise against lighting it though! :D

  • That has nicotine in it thought right, Im going CT, want that damn stuff out of me asap

  • No, no nicotine just a 'tobacco' flavoured (removable) insert.

    Handy for when nothing but a good suck will do, or, you've ran out of midget gems.

    At only £1.99, from all leading chemists, it achieved an amazing 5 stars on the Austinlegro value quitometer. :eek:

    (note: other plastic tubes for sucking things through are available at alternative retailers, pubs, restaurants and petrol stations)

    Edit: it's actually "Crafe Away"

    Edit edit, now £2.89 tsk..

    Edit edit edit, aaaahh that was for a twin pack. Now £1.69 each, bargain.

  • Hi All

    A pint actually made me more relaxed then I am feeling all the time at the moment.

    Have to agree, i'm only on day 5 but on day 1 and 2 (Jan 1st and 2nd) had beer and wine on both nights. As it made me more relaxed then i found it easier to handle the cravings, time i got to bed i wasn't capable of putting a ciggie in my mouth even if i had one! :D

  • Thanks Austin, I will take a trip to the chemist and see what they have

    lol Pete, your words are very reassuring as my night out tonight gets closer all the time

    I really think if I can make it to day 4 especially after a night out drinking with lots of smokers day 3 then the worst will definately be over

  • I really think if I can make it to day 4 especially after a night out drinking with lots of smokers day 3 then the worst will definately be over

    As smokers have to go outside then either don't go out with them OR if you do then stand by the ashtray, the smell should put you off wanting a ciggie, seriously, the latter is what i've been doing at work the last 2 days and it really re-inforces my resolve.

    Also try putting a pen in your pocket, then when you feel the craving whilst having a drink just try toying with it in your mouth until the craving subsides.

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