When recovering from a drug addiction, cravings are a very normal thing to experience and can be relentless. They can arise ten days or ten years after quitting and often find you at your most vulnerable points. Unfortunately for many individuals trying to recover, cravings are what quickly lead to a relapse when not dealt with properly.
Here are 5 ways to fight the urge to use:
- Accept and tolerate the urge
When feeling a craving, some people may think that refusing to acknowledge it will make it go away, however, a great mindfulness technique is to accept it for what it is and don’t try to make it go away. Openly expressing what you’re going through can help you to move through it.
For example, you may sit down, close your eyes and say to yourself “I am feeling uncomfortable and have the urge to use drugs. My heart is racing and my palms are sweating.” Fully experiencing these thoughts and feelings can help you to see that cravings come in waves and that they will eventually pass if you ride them out.
Other methods of riding it out include preparing something for when you feel an urge coming on such as a list of reasons why you quit in the first place. Having a picture of your loved ones could also help to remind you of how a relapse could affect them and why you should stick it out for them.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is a widely used therapeutic intervention and is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for recovery by addressing the psychological aspect of the addiction.
This can help you to identify your triggers which will help to prepare you for the possibility of a craving if you know you are about to encounter or feel a trigger.
By understanding your thoughts and feelings, you can use the techniques to recognise when you may be catastrophising due to the distortion the craving has on your thinking. For example, you might be experiencing thoughts such as “This feeling will never end if I don’t give in” or “I will never get through this.” CBT can help you to see your cravings more objectively.
At Acquiesce, a large part of our recovery programme is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and includes SMART recovery, psychosocial interventions and positive psychology. These support you to gain skills, tools and resources to manage their addiction practically day to day.
It also looks at the reasons behind your actions and behaviours, and at the relationship between the way you think and your problems with addiction. We are aimed to support you to break the cycle of destructive behaviours and actions and to form new healthier habits so that you can respond to challenges in a more effective, healthier way.
- Find a hobby
Not only can a hobby be fun and teach you new skills but it can also provide an excellent distraction for when you are experiencing a craving. Cravings can often occur when you are bored and drugs seem like a good way to stop those feelings or fill the void. Some popular hobbies include:
- Arts and Crafts
Taking a walk is also an excellent way to take yourself away from a triggering or stressful situation and clear your mind whilst giving you something to do.
- Reach out to people you can trust
Not only does talking about how you feel with someone you are close to help to relieve the tension but it may also remind you of how giving in could impact them negatively. They can help guide you through the process if you are struggling to do so alone or may even offer to take you out to do something to provide a distraction.
- Take care of yourself
By taking care of yourself through a healthy diet, exercise and a good routine, you can help your mental and physical wellbeing as well as making yourself less likely to give into a craving. Knowing that giving into a drug craving might ruin all the hard work you put into yourself can also be a great deterrent.
If you are struggling with addiction, of any kind, get in touch with our professional team today to find out how we can help. Give us a call on 01204 771940 or request a callback at a suitable time for you here.