Cravings are something a large majority of addicts will have to deal with, sometimes even decades after they get clean. Cravings are strong, almost overwhelming urges to use drugs or alcohol again, and at times, they can be triggered by the most unexpected things. Anything from seeing a lighter to smelling the kind of fast food you always binged on after drinking can set off these intense urges to use, and many people are triggered by extreme stress or other emotions. While they’re more common in the months and early years following treatment, even people who have been clean for years and years can find themselves experiencing cravings. It’s during these cravings that a large portion of people relapse back into drug or alcohol use, especially for the newly sober, and it’s extremely important to learn how to cope with these cravings when they arise.
The good news is that for the most part, cravings only last 15-25 minutes, and many people find that if they can just stay busy or keep their mind or hands occupied, they’re able to withstand the urge to use. If you find yourself craving drug or alcohol use, don’t panic. The more you think about it, the harder it may feel to resist. Instead of fretting about it, do something that will keep your hands and your mind busy. Call a friend, do chores around the house, or get some fresh air. The endorphins released by a walk or jog will help your body relax naturally, and it can help you clear your head. By the time you’re done with whatever you set yourself to do, the craving will likely be reduced or gone altogether.
It’s also important to remember that you build a support system during treatment for a reason: use it when you need it. Don’t be afraid to call your sponsor or a friend if you find yourself facing a serious craving. Reaching out means you’re choosing your sobriety over giving in to that craving. If you’re really struggling, you should consider finding an AA or NA meeting in your area to attend in person. It’ll help get you through your craving by getting you out of the environment where the craving bubbled up, and it’ll get you surrounded by people who can help support you if the craving feels especially overwhelming.
At The Springboard Center, our programs are tailored to address your personal needs, which gives you the tools you need to best counter the cravings that are inevitable in recovery. Don’t let addiction control you for one more day. Make the call, and get clean: 432-620-0255.