Recovery is not always rainbows and butterflies as you work towards living a healthy and happy sober lifestyle. There will be days when you struggle with cravings and urges to go back to drugs and alcohol. The key to overcoming these feelings is to know the proper coping mechanisms and techniques to get you through them. Everlast Recovery Centers wants you to be successful in your recovery, which is why we want to ensure you are prepared for the days when cravings may appear.
Anyone who has struggled with urges and cravings knows how unrelenting they can be. Rather than trying to ignore them, try to practice urge surfing instead. This technique was created to help bring awareness to the craving, accepting it, and acknowledging how it makes you feel. To try this, stop and recognize a craving when you feel it coming on. Accept it and pay attention to how it makes you feel. You can do this by sitting or lying down, closing your eyes, and observing and describing the physical and mental sensations that occur. For example, sit and say things such as “I am feeling an urge to use drugs, and it feels uncomfortable,” or “I feel lightheaded, and my heartbeat is racing.” Continue this until the urges go away. This will help you ride out urges and realize that they do not last forever.
Make a List of Your Triggers
Just about every person that has struggled with substance abuse has personal triggers that will remind them of and make them want to use drugs or alcohol. A great way to cope with triggers is by making a list of what they are so you can do your best to stay away from them. However, if you do come across one of your triggers, include coping techniques on the list to help you at the moment. This can consist of deep breathing and mindfulness exercises, your sponsor’s phone number, or activities to distract yourself with. By doing this, you will be more prepared to overcome cravings at the moment.
Exercising is a great way to cope with triggers because it takes up your free time, distracts you, and produces pleasure chemicals in your brain known as dopamine. This may help alleviate any feelings of stress you may be feeling, including feeling the urge to use drugs or alcohol. If you feel any cravings coming on, consider engaging in physical exercise such as hiking, swimming, taking a walk, jogging, or playing a sport in your backyard.
Engage in Self-Care
Taking care of your personal needs can help you alleviate the anxiety and stress associated with cravings. Self-care is a vague term that simply means taking care of yourself and doing things you like to improve your overall well-being. Consider taking a hot bath, cooking a nutritious meal, or reading your favorite book. This can help distract you and improve your mood, helping to get rid of the cravings altogether.
Cravings can make you feel hopeless and alone, causing you to isolate yourself as you try to cope with them. Isolation will cause you to be left alone with your thoughts, making the cravings seem even more substantial. When you feel cravings coming on, reach out to someone you trust, such as a sober buddy, your sponsor, or a close friend. This way, you can open up and talk about how you are feeling, and the other person may be able to talk you out of the cravings you are experiencing.
Self-talk may be challenging for some, but with practice, it gets easier over time. When you feel a craving, try to engage in self-talk involving logic to help you talk yourself out of it. You can prepare something ahead of time to help you in the moment, such as a list of things that help you see the bigger picture of your life. This way, you can be reminded of what you are fighting for and that using won’t be worth sacrificing your sobriety. The list can also include the consequences of using to help you cope with the cravings.
Meditation is a mindfulness technique used in many different treatment centers because of its benefits for addiction recovery. Meditating can help you practice mindfulness, helping you be aware of what you are feeling and why you feel it. This way, you can take a second and relax, centering yourself and clearing your mind away from cravings.
Cravings can be difficult to manage if you are unsure of the proper coping techniques. The staff at Everlast Recovery Centers wants to equip you with useful tools for coping with cravings as they come. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to help you overcome cravings, such as meditation or urge surfing. You can also try healthy distraction techniques such as self-care or exercise. If you still feel the strength of your cravings, consider reaching out to someone you trust, such as your sponsor, a sober buddy, or a close friend. This way, you can express what you feel and have that person help to talk you out of the cravings themselves. If you still find yourself struggling, don’t hesitate to give Everlast Recovery Centers a call. We are here to support your recovery and ensure you are prepared to cope with even the most challenging cravings. Reach out at 866-DETOX-25 today.