Impaired cognitive processing is a hallmark of addiction. In particular, deficits in inhibitory control can propel continued drug use despite adverse consequences. Clinical evidence shows that detoxified alcoholics exhibit poor inhibitory control in the Continuous Performance Task (CPT) and related tests of motor impulsivity. Animal models may provide important insight into the neural mechanisms underlying this consequence of chronic alcohol exposure though pre-clinical investigations of behavioral inhibition during alcohol abstinence are sparse. The present study employed the rat 5 Choice-Continuous Performance Task (5C-CPT), a novel pre-clinical variant of the CPT, to evaluate attentional capacity and impulse control over the course of protracted abstinence from chronic intermittent alcohol consumption. In tests conducted with familiar 5C-CPT conditions EtOH-exposed rats exhibited impaired attentional capacity during the first hours of abstinence and impaired behavioral restraint (increased false alarms) during the first 5d of abstinence that dissipated thereafter. Subsequent tests employing visual distractors that increase the cognitive load of the task revealed significant increases in impulsive action (premature responses) at 3 and 5 weeks of abstinence, and the emergence of impaired behavioral restraint (increased false alarms) at 7 weeks of abstinence. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the emergence of increased impulsive action in alcohol-dependent rats during protracted alcohol abstinence and suggest the 5C-CPT with visual distractors may provide a viable behavioral platform for characterizing the neurobiological substrates underlying impaired behavioral inhibition resulting from chronic intermittent alcohol exposure.