Taking control of the cravings can happen with just a few steps. The urges and cravings after a person decides to abstain from drugs and alcohol can feel unbearable but there are ways of coping and managing the anxiety that goes with cravings. Here are five practical ways to cope.
Cravings are Normal
Everyone who is engaged in addictive behavior experiences uncomfortable cravings and urges. These pass in time even when it does not feel that way. Each one will subside if a person waits it out and has a plan for relapse prevention. Cravings and urges will decrease in strength and frequency over time. Learning to adopt coping strategies for what is completely normal can help a person feel less alone.
Urges and cravings to use drugs or alcohol may trigger an automatic response. Learning to say no to the desires are a huge challenge for people in recovery. Coping with cravings is part of a recovery program that can help combat them head on using the following tactic:
- Delay: given time the urges run their course and do not require further attention. Give the urges 10-15 minutes and chances are those things will go out the window
- Escape: leave or get away and stay away. Do not go near places that tempt but focus on switching the channel, leaving a place or escaping the trigger as soon as possible
- Accept: the urges and cravings are going to pass and discomfort will not kill a person. Learn to feel good about small steps in recovery
- Dispute: if exercises have been used, a person can develop a new belief system that helps counter an attack of irrational urges and cravings. Exercises which may help a person productively diagnose past addictive situations and develop useful tactics for dispute resolution
- Substitute: take a walk or other form of exercise. Pick up something new to read or turn on new music. Pick up something new to read or listen to which can substitute for the cravings
The goal is to pick a tactic and focus on that to help move cravings from the brain and body out the door. It is ok to feel urges, it is in fact normal but it does not mean a person has to give in.
The Villa can help deal with people who struggle with cravings. Call us to find out how we can support you in dealing with cravings and triggers. We are here to help you.