For those of you, who have engaged in addictive behavior will experience uncomfortable cravings. These strong urges are normal and will pass by with time. In the beginning of recovery, cravings can be intense, but each one will abate if you wait it out.
It’s important to have a relapse prevention plan and to understand that these cravings will decrease in strength and frequency overtime. In order to not cave in, it’s crucial to adopt coping strategies that work best for you.
Everyone is different, that being said everyones triggers would be different also. Be sure to know what triggers you, and keep away. Most of us think we can handle it, and due time we might be able to, but its important to understand where we are in our recovery and act with that knowledge in mind.
For most recovering addicts, urges and cravings to use drugs or drink alcohol trigger automatic responses. They are unconscious thoughts followed by habitual action. Training your mind to be able to say “No”, to these ingrained desires is one of the biggest challenges. These cravings can be understood and can be combated, through various forms of resistance.
Wait it out
Cravings and urges will disappear from your mental activity over time, unless you are actively maintaining them with your attention. In due time, these thoughts will run its course and vanish. If the urges don’t aren’t gone within 10-15 minutes, then chances are you are still exposed to the stimulus that triggered the urge in the first place.
Be sure to not cave into the urge, no matter how bad the urge is. The urges that you’ve experienced in the past have passed away. As you get into the habit of denying an urge, you’ll know that you can do it over and over. Waiting out urges, is one of the greatest steps of recovery.
Walk it out
Whenever you feel an urge triggered by a situation, leave immediately. The act of of escaping the trigger will focus your mind on something else. So leave the bar, where the beer taps look astounding, avoid the alcohol isles where the wines look delicious, switch the song about cigarettes.
Don’t deny it
Accept your urges and cravings, and know that it’s normal. Accept the temporary discomfort, and understand that it won’t kill you. You’ll learn more about yourself in the process and will be glad about what you’ve achieved.
When those urges and cravings come kicking in, quickly substitute the thought or activity with something fun or interesting. It’s important to train the mind and kill the habit.
Physical activities can quickly ease your mind of the given urge or thought. Keep your mind busy with an interesting book or even surround yourself with people who don’t share the habits you’re trying to kick. Have some substitute ideas on hand, so when the urge comes, you can quickly transition.
Lindel, Randy. “5 Ways to Deal with Urges and Cravings” SMART Recovery April 10,2010 January 4, 2015
Green, Kate. “5 Tips for Managing Triggers during Addiction Recovery” Psych Central October 3, 2013 http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/10/03/5-tips-for-managing-triggers-during-addiction-recovery/ January 4, 2015