Cravings to return to using drugs or alcohol are one of the most common reasons people relapse in recovery from addiction. No matter how long someone has been clean and sober, triggers can pop up in unexpected places and lead to powerful cravings. When you’re in the midst of a heavy craving, it can be overwhelming and feel hopeless. The important thing about cravings is this: they do pass.
Recognizing when you’re struggling with a craving is important because it is acknowledging a craving that is the first step to getting through a craving without relapse. Being in denial about what you’re feeling is a slippery slope, and it can be hard to learn to deal with the cravings if you’re outright refusing to acknowledge them. To overcome cravings, you have to find a healthy way to deal with them rather than simply ignore them.
If you find yourself in the full-blast of a craving, there are some ways you can help yourself make it through without relapsing:
- Don’t panic – Especially if you’ve been clean for a long period of time, the sudden surfacing of a craving to use drugs or alcohol again can be extremely distressing and unnerving, but keeping your cool is important. Just because the craving has you wanting to use doesn’t mean that you will. Remember, you’re in control of your thoughts and actions, not the substance you were once addicted to.
- Reach out – A support system for addiction recovery is key for a reason – when you’re overwhelmed by a craving, you’ve already got a network of people in recovery who get what you’re going through. Cravings are something all recovering addicts understand and face.
- Get moving – Change your surroundings for the better and clear your head at the same time. Going for a walk or a hike when you’re battling a sudden craving can work to distract you by changing your environment. As an added bonus, exercise of any kind releases endorphins, which can help sooth that jittery feeling that normally accompanies a craving.
- Talk yourself down – When you’re in the middle of a serious craving, thoughts like “I might as well just give in and use already” only make the problem worse. Instead, remind yourself that YOU took control of your own life when you got yourself clean. You can make it, and you should continually remind yourself of that.
Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is a process that can take some time. Triggers and the cravings they bring on are a common part of that process. By learning how to deal with them in a healthy way, you improve the likelihood of a lasting recovery from addiction.
Treatment is as much an educational experience as it is a healing experience. At The Springboard Center, clients learn how to manage life in recovery while healing mind, body, and spirit. For information on availability for our 5-week programs, call us today: (432) 620-0255