Cravings and urges to use drugs or drink alcohol can be a very powerful thing. Although they do have the potential to cause a relapse, they are a normal part of recovery and it is possible to beat them. Here are eight effective ways to deal with cravings and urges in recovery.
Discover our podcast episode
1. Find a distraction.
When you’re overwhelmed with a craving or an urge to use, it’s helpful to find a distraction. Whether that means treating yourself to a different drink like an iced coffee, a sports drink, or some tea, going for a walk, or calling a friend, these types of simple distractions can get your mind off the craving and onto other things.
2. Do something active.
Getting outside and doing something active can also be another great distraction that will get your endorphins pumping and make you feel great! Some helpful activities could be riding your bike, taking a yoga class, going for a run, or walking your dog. Moving your body can help you forget about your craving and find pleasure in something else.
3. Focus on the present.
It’s all too easy to dwell on how great those drugs made you feel the first time or how much you have to lose if you relapse. Instead, focus on the here and now—nothing else. Instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, it’s helpful to think about your life now, how far you’ve come in recovery, and remain thankful for all the great things you’ve fought so hard to achieve in sobriety.
4. Practice mindful thinking.
Practicing mindfulness in recovery has many benefits, but it can also help you fight through cravings and urges to use. Recognize what’s going on inside yourself, including your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Whether you journal about it, meditate, or just set aside 10 minutes every day, being mindful can help you strike a balance, even when you’re struggling with cravings.
5. Accept it.
“Riding the wave” of your cravings, urges, and emotions is another way to address current cravings and prepare for future ones simultaneously. By accepting what you feel and adopting a non-judgmental understanding of your cravings, you can help you learn how to better respond to them and reduce their intensity. By shifting away from the idea that cravings are negative, you can explore their meaning and consider an alternative way of expressing that. This is something that your therapist, sponsor, or counselor may also be able to help you with.
Taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, or playing a musical instrument that you enjoy are all ways of practicing self-care while also relieving uncomfortable thoughts and feelings related to your cravings.
7. Develop a counter statement.
Developing a counter craving like, “I’ve been here before and I can get through this again.” can help you dispute and attack your cravings when they occur. Eventually, with time, the cravings will get less severe and you will be able to get through them more quickly.
8. Talk it through with your sponsor.
When you are facing tough cravings and urges to use, you can always go to your sponsor and talk through it. No one understands what you’re going through better than your sponsor and he or she is there to help you through it.
If you are experiencing cravings and you are struggling to maintain your recovery, Eudaimonia Recovery Homes can help. We operate sober living homes in Texas and Colorado for men and women in all stages of recovery. Contact us today for more information.