Urges for alcohol can lead to relapse, but some alcoholics report few urges. We hypothesised that ecological momentary assessment techniques would reveal multiple urge patterns in newly-abstinent alcoholics. Forty-eight alcohol-dependent subjects used PDAs to assess urges to drink in abstinence. Mean and standard deviation of urges were used in cluster analysis, and cluster characteristics were compared. Four clusters were defined, the largest cluster including 29 subjects with low mean urge and low variability. Clusters differed in negative affect and anger but not in abstinence rates. Four distinct urge patterns during abstinence were identified, and 60% of abstinent, alcohol-dependent subjects reported low, stable urge levels.