Salud Mental

Coping styles to “obsession for drinking” (cravings) for alcoholics in recovering process


Reyna Alma Gutiérrez Reynaga
María Elena Medina-Mora Icaza
Alberto Jiménez Tapia
Leticia Casanova Rodas
Guillermina Natera Rey


Background. Although craving is a controversial concept in alcoholism research, it is known that if an alcoholic can talk about the event using his own words, the probability of successful coping and prevention of relapse is bigger. However, little is known about such coping, and even less when it is articulated from the drinker’s perspective.

Objective. To identify the coping mechanism to this event that causes physical and emotional responses similar to those of craving, identified with the own language of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Method. The sample consisted of 192 individuals who participated in AA meetings for an average of ten years (SD=7.5). An empirical instrument was developed to measure coping (Kr=.86) and a two-phase conglomerate analysis was used to create categories to develop profiles.

Results.span> The analysis showed five coping profiles suggesting that AA members cope with the event as follow: 1. evading but looking for a direct solution (elusive-active conglomerate), 2. evading but retracting (elusive-liabilities conglomerate), 3. getting upset and doing nothing (emotional-passive conglomerate), 4. remembering and comparing their past life (revalorative conglomerate), and 5. denying (denier conglomerate).

Discussion and conclusion. Although the data are preliminary, they offer the opportunity to expand and specify how certain alcoholics solve a complex problem, such as craving. The information concurs with literature in the sense that this grouping of responses assumed those efforts that may be effective or not for the recovery process, for example, to prevent relapses in alcoholics who attend AA groups, so it raises an important research perspective.

Coping, craving, urge, obsession mental for drink, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)