Learning how to fight drug cravings is an important part of the recovery process. The reason being is because no matter how long you are clean and sober, cravings do not generally go away. Over time, cravings will become less frequent, maybe only occurring once a year, and the strength of the cravings will diminish, but they are never truly gone from an individual who suffers from addiction. This, however, is no reason to panic or to have apprehension about recovery, because unlike in active addiction, in sobriety, cravings can be combatted.
Once the cycle of substance abuse has been broken and a suitable solution like the Steps or some other spiritual program has been implemented, cravings lose a tremendous amount of their power. They no longer have to result in your using again, but rather by performing a few simple tasks you can easily overcome them.
So let’s take a look at 5 ways to fight drug cravings when they occur in recovery. While each individual is different and how their cravings will manifest will differ, by performing any of these 5 activities you should be able to break the chain of thoughts beckoning you to use, so that you can continue on with your day and your recovery unimpeded.
5 Way to Fight Drug Cravings
It is important to understand that you do not need to act on drug cravings. Many of us, while in active addiction, did not have the ability to pause and think through our actions and so when we had a thought to use, we went out and fulfilled that thought. We were driven on by an obsession and compulsion that was too powerful for us to combat alone, but once in recovery the obsession usually is removed, if we take action towards working a program. The subsequent cravings that we experience are not the same thing as the obsession we experienced during our addiction. They may sometimes feel like they are, but they do not hold the same power and so we are able to overcome them if we take certain actions.
One of the most important things you can do in order to fight drug cravings is also the simplest, pick up the phone and call someone else in recovery. When you are in the middle of a craving, you may feel embarrassed or feel like you do not want to expose the fact that you want to use, but understand that there is nothing to feel bad or embarrassed about and cravings are simply a normal reaction to an addict being sober. By calling a friend, you can many times break the cycle of thought that is causing you to want to use drugs, and in doing so, you can stop the craving in their tracks.
Sometimes just calling a friend or your sponsor will not be enough to stop a craving. The nervous energy that these feelings can bring sometimes will not be undone by talking and so when this occurs, try to go to the gym or go for a run or walk. The act of exercising can often times clear your mind and the serotonin that working out produces can really do wonders for stopping cravings.
Pray and Meditate
When you want to use drugs, probably the last thing that you want to do is pray or meditate. You more than likely are feeling extremely anxious and may even find it difficult to sit still, but prayer followed by meditation can do wonders to help you fight drug cravings. First, pray to your higher power asking that the urge to use be removed, and then attempt to sit quietly for a few minutes focusing on your breath. Doing this can stop the racing thoughts, and feeling of panic you may be experiencing, and bring things back into perspective.
Go to a Meeting
If you find that nothing else is stopping your urge to use, then you should probably go to a meeting. Not only will this allow you to focus on recovery, rather than on your own thoughts, but it will allow you to be surrounded by people who can support you in your time of need. Often times the act of just sitting and listening to a speaker for an hour can do wonders for your mind and emotional well-being, and you may find that just going to a meeting will stop your cravings.
Go Hang Out with Friends
One of the best ways to fight drug cravings is to go to a friend’s house and just hang out. Sometimes this will be enough to redirect your thoughts as you begin to focus on being with your friend, rather than being in your head. You will probably find that after a half-hour or so of being with them, the weight of your urges won’t seem so heavy and you will also find that everything that was stressing you out has dissipated.
Don’t Panic If You Have a Craving
It is never an enjoyable experience to crave drugs or alcohol. Having these thoughts always brings up a lot of confusion and guilt in the person experiencing them, but it is important to remember that it is a totally normal experience— just because you are currently wanting to use doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doing anything wrong, or that you aren’t working a good program, it just simply means that you are an addict. Remember to try the best you can and when cravings come up, recognize them for what they are, try to discern where they are coming from, and let them go. By not giving them power, you will find that cravings will become less frequent and you will be able to move past them more quickly.
In Need of Detox?
It can be intimidating to know that addiction and alcoholism are always right around the corner. Sometimes getting that little push and having medical guidance can be what it takes. Relapse and active addiction/alcoholism are only as preventable as much as we value the sobriety we hold in our hands. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 800-982-5530 or visit restoredtx.wpengine.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life in a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.