The KO’D Method for Managing Alcohol Cravings (Worksheet Included)

The KO’D Method…3 Tier Approach for Managing Alcohol Cravings

Embarking on a journey to recovery from alcohol addiction can be filled with challenges, especially when facing persistent cravings. The KO’D Method offers a systematic and holistic approach to managing these cravings by emphasizing building knowledge, meticulous observation, and skillful discharging techniques. Let’s explore how the KO’D Method can be a transformative tool in your path towards a healthier lifestyle.

A Starting Point 

Avoidance and distraction have their place and can help get through tough spots, when the monkey is on your back and urge seemingly has you beat.

But if this is all you have in your arsenal, it’s only a matter of time before you’re swallowed whole.

Really, you need a confrontation. 

We know that the brain puts a high value on immediate gratification. 

The more you up befriend your urge,  and really get to intimately know it, the further the drink becomes. 

Why? Because you’re not giving in.

The greater distance between you and the drink, which is largely mental because you’re not following the routine the brain sets up,  the less value the brain then puts on that game plan (it devalues the drink).

It may sound insane if you’re currently going through a craving. 

But this is how we are by design. 

The more you expose yourself to the triggers and surf out the urges the easier it gets over time. The physiological process called “Habitation” enables you to move from response prevention to response intention.

You are responsible for your choices. Yes, urges can influence the difficulty level, but you can do something about it. And we know it, because it’s how we are designed! 

Habitation is basically the reality that nervous system arousal decreases on repeated exposure to the same stimulus.

This is why sex therapists routinely tell their clients to “spice things up,” a clever euphemism for doing something different!

Noam Schpancer observes, “This mechanism is hard-wired into the human genetic program. It has clear adaptive value because habituation to familiar stimuli allows more energy to be directed to novel stimuli, hence improving the odds of survival…”

Therefore, this is how we are by design. I know we love to think we are all terminally unique but we are more like unique apps on one specific operating system.

He elaborates further, “The experience of anxiety involves nervous system arousal. If your nervous system is not aroused, you cannot experience anxiety. Understandably, but unfortunately, most people attempt to cope with feelings of anxiety by avoiding situations or objects that elicit the feelings. Avoidance, however, prevents your nervous system from habituating. Therefore, avoidance guarantees that the feared object or situation will remain novel, and hence arousing, and hence anxiety provoking. Moreover, avoidance tends to generalize over time. If you avoid the elevator at work, you will soon begin to avoid all elevators, and then all buildings that house elevators, etcetera. Soon enough, you’ll be living in a prison of avoidance.”

Right? If it’s adaptive then your body and brain by design will see the threat as genuine and will fortify all defenses to ensure that threat is henceforth avoided at all costs.

That’s why if you are terrified of socializing and you avoid it, it goes from uncomfortable to paralyzing. You’ve calibrated your design this way. Yet, this is good news! Why? Because if you hold the wrench, then the ball is in your court to change it! 

Isn’t that incredible?

The consistent confrontation of the urges eventually results in their demise.

Skip the fluff and jump right to the worksheet! Click the link below. 

A Brief Overview 

Know The Urge

Assess the urge from an objective standpoint.

Think of yourself as a scientist analyzing an object; a dispassionate observer of sorts 

Notice the thoughts and feelings. 

Get to know the thoughts; the outlandish cognitive distortions that accompany the physiological sensations.

Observe The Urge

Is your heart racing? 

Do you experience tension in your muscles? Is your stomach tight? Are your fists clenched? Are you perspiring?

Notice the sensations. Observe them. Watch them come and go. 

Get curious about the phenomenon in which you are partaking.

Discharge The Urge

The discharge is often prompted by questions and affirmations.

Questions such as:

“Will I really go crazy if I don’t give in to the urge?”

“It feels like it will last forever, but does any emotional state last forever?”

Better yet, “what evidence do I have that this will be my permanent emotional habitat if I don’t buy the garage the urge is pushing?” 

Turn up the volume…

Talk to yourself – shout it from the rooftops if you have to.

Start declaring the reasons you have for changing. 

Start professing all the things worth it in your life.

Start voicing all the things you’re grateful for. 

Get the big picture in view.

If you have to, tell the urge to piss off and get back under its microscope where it belongs.

The urge is just a case study now…

Once you begin to practice this consistently, do you understand the power you’ll have on your next encounter?

Yes, the urges will still come involuntarily.

But now you see it for what it is. 

The urge is all the remains between you and your relationship with alcohol.

Incredible, isn’t it?

Additionally, this holds true to all other habits and negative states of mind. 

You now have the ability to traverse any mental landscape.

You now own the map to victory and freedom

Round Two: Driving The KO’d Method Home

Knowledge: Understanding the Roots of Cravings

Understanding the nature of cravings is foundational to managing them effectively. The Knowledge (K) aspect of the KO’D Method encourages individuals to delve into the causes and functions of their cravings.

  • Explore Triggers: Identify specific triggers or situations that prompt alcohol cravings. Is it stress, social settings, or certain emotions that lead to these urges?
  • Recognize Patterns: Reflect on past experiences to recognize patterns in your cravings. Understanding why and when cravings occur can provide valuable insights for managing them.

Observation: Bringing Awareness to the Present Moment

Observing cravings with a mindful lens can help individuals detach from their impulses and better navigate through challenging moments. The Observation (O) step of the KO’D Method focuses on identifying the physiological effects of cravings and staying present.

  • Physical Awareness: Pay attention to how your body reacts to cravings. Are there changes in heart rate, sweating, or tension?
  • Emotional Observation: Notice the emotions that accompany cravings. By acknowledging these feelings without judgment, you can gain control over your responses.

Discharging: Empowering Action Through Critical Thinking and Affirmations

Discharging the power of cravings involves engaging in critical reflection and empowerment through affirmations. The Discharging (D) phase of the KO’D Method helps individuals challenge their thoughts and affirm positive behaviors.

  • Critical Reflection: Ask yourself thought-provoking questions to challenge the validity of your cravings. What evidence supports giving in to the urge, and what are the long-term consequences?
  • Positive Affirmations: Empower yourself with affirmations that reinforce your strength and commitment to sobriety. Affirm your ability to overcome cravings and make healthy choices.

The Only Conclusion: Embracing Transformation

The KO’D Method is not just a toolkit for managing alcohol cravings; it’s a roadmap to self-awareness, mindfulness, and empowerment in the face of adversity. By integrating knowledge, observation, and discharging techniques, individuals can cultivate a deeper understanding of their cravings, develop sustainable coping strategies, and progress towards lasting sobriety.

As you navigate your journey to sobriety, remember that each step you take towards mastering the KO’D Method brings you closer to a life of clarity, resilience, and wellness. Embrace the power within you to overcome cravings and embrace a future filled with strength and fulfillment.