Craving drugs or alcohol after beginning the journey of recovery is almost a given. A force which so powerfully guides our lives of addiction is not going to give up without a fight. When cravings and temptations to return to your life of addiction arise, there are proactive steps to take toward defeating them.
Reduce Cravings Through Interaction With Others
For those who are prone to do better in life with the consistent input of others, times of craving drugs or alcohol will be best spent interacting with the loved ones and positive influences in your life. Depending on how you have constructed your social circle of recovery thus far, you may find that one group helps you more than others, or that different groups of people help under certain scenarios. Have your contact list ready, ahead of time, and decide which social support will offer the best relief when the cravings strike.
Seek Help From Family
If you are someone who has been blessed with a supportive family structure, resist cravings through spending time with these special people. A healthy family member will bring a positive perspective into your circumstance, and will be honest without being judgmental. He or she can assist you in reducing the instances of experiencing a craving for drugs or alcohol through providing encouragement and a distraction from the rumination that can lead us down the path of relapse.
Seek Help From Friends
As nice as it is to have a supportive family, there are many people who find that there are persistent issues that make family interactions a downer. For these folks, healthy friendships can become the new family structure. Surrounding yourself with friends who have your best interests in mind can assist in keeping you on track with your sobriety through the camaraderie that is shared while you are sober.
Seek Help From A Support Group
Some people who begin the journey of recovery are setting out into new territory. They may have come from a dysfunctional family, and may have not yet formed friendships which do not involve drugs or alcohol. For these individuals, joining a support group can be a great means of starting out on the path of developing a new social network. Many of the people who attend support groups or live in sober living communities have similar stories, and will be able to ease your burden of cravings through extending empathy and providing accountability.
Seek Help From Therapy
Peer and mentor support that is gained through family and friend interactions is irreplaceable. There are times, however, where more professional support is needed. Therapists are professionally trained to assist you in addressing the issues and concerns that you are wanting to face and change in your life. There are therapists who focus exclusively on the task of eliminating the temptation of substance abuse. There are others who focus on the root problems which prompted you to start using drugs or alcohol, in the first place. There are yet others who specialize in assisting you to fix your current problems and design a more viable future.
Do your research, and be picky about the therapist that you decide to spend your time with. You will want to choose a therapist who best fits your personal style. If your insurance options for choosing a therapist are limited, take advantage of your local college clinic or search your local directory for non-profit therapy services. There is also a growing body of therapy which is available exclusively online.
Reduce Cravings By Yourself
While it is very important to have at least one or two people in our lives that we can trust and rely on, no everyone is designed to be a social butterfly. There are some personality types which do better when fighting the majority of their battles in solitude. If you are one of these types, there are several methods for escaping the clutches of drug or alcohol cravings on your own.
Focus On Your Long-term Goals
One of the best ways to resist giving into the temptation to use substances is through remembering why you gave them up in the first place. Most people decide to quit their addictive behaviors on the heels of realizing that any benefits of continuing to use are outweighed by the negative consequences of such. Every addiction has a downside, and the downside of substance use is often devastating. Health, relationships, and livelihoods are frequently lost to addiction. Remember that you have come too far to risk going back into that pit of despair, and turn your focus toward the future steps that you are wanting to take in life.
It isn’t recommended that we engage in activities that continually distract us away from facing problems and issues in our lives. After all, that constant level of distraction from real life is one of the damaging aspects of being addicted. It is healthy, however, to allow ourselves a break from wrestling with unpleasant thoughts or feelings for to long. Distraction techniques have been used by those with emotional disorders and distressing thoughts for quite some time, and can be just as useful when bombarded with the unpleasant temptation to use substances. Distracting yourself with an activity that doesn’t result in the destruction of your life is a great alternative to using. Try working on a house project, completing a word puzzle, or indulging in your favorite television show.
On the opposite end of the spectrum for ways to deal with drug or alcohol cravings is the application of mindfulness. With mindfulness, we learn to take control of the direction of our internal life. Instead of allowing unconscious fears and desires to motivate us from behind the scenes, we bring those hidden experiences out into the light. Negative thoughts and feelings are acknowledged as existing, rather than being hastily pushed into the background. Allowing them to linger for a moment, while we ponder what it is that we are experiencing, gives us the space to properly address the conditions under which the impressions have arrived. It is a space where you can discover what it is that has triggered you to think in the direction of relapse, and to decide upon different angles of successfully navigating through that temptation without giving into it.