4 Simple Tips to Help You Get Through Cravings
Cravings are a normal part of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, especially when you’re newly sober. Sometimes, the urge to use can come on so suddenly and intensely that it feels impossible to resist. However, it’s critical to remember that you do have the ability to get through cravings, and—most importantly—they will not last forever. The next time you find yourself fighting an intense urge to have a drink or a drug, try one of the following tips.
1: Seek Support
In addition to helping you feel less alone, speaking with someone who understands what you’re going through will distract your mind from its obsessive thoughts about your substance of choice. Because in most cases, cravings feel the most intense when you’re alone with your thoughts. Whether you contact a friend, therapist, or colleague in recovery, the simple act of reaching out can help lessen the intensity of a craving almost instantly. Online support group meetings are also a great resource for getting through cravings, especially now that they are available 24 hours a day.
2: Get Exercise
The benefits of exercise on mental health have long been touted by researchers, but studies also show that it can help curb alcohol and drug cravings. And you don’t have to be a professional athlete or gym rat to reap the benefits of physical activity. Taking a brisk walk, going for a bike ride, or spending 30-minutes bouncing on a rebounder while watching TV (my personal favorite) are all excellent ways to get through cravings.
3: Pay Attention to Your Triggers
Often, we are most vulnerable to cravings when they take us by surprise. You can help yourself prepare for these uncomfortable moments by taking note of your cravings throughout the day and jotting them down in a journal. See if you can spot any trends—do you often get the urge to drink when you finish with work? Or when you’re in an unfamiliar social situation? Knowing your triggers ahead of time can help you anticipate your triggers and put a plan in place to get through them.
4: Talk to Your Doctor
Depending on your substance of choice, the amount you’ve been taking, and the length of time you’ve been using, you may need medical help to get through cravings. Medical detox can ease the discomfort of extreme withdrawal symptoms while ensuring your body safely adjusts to the change. There are also non-narcotic medications available that can make abstinence easier by minimizing cravings and urges. Ask your doctor about your options or contact a treatment center to find out if detox may be right for you.
Help to Get Through Cravings
At the end of the day, managing cravings is an important part of recovery. Having strong coping mechanisms to deal with cravings and stress can help prevent a slip or relapse. While cravings will probably always be with us in recovery, having a plan to get through them can be an empowering part of your growth while sober.