One of the most difficult aspects of recovery is overcoming cravings. These are strong desires that seem to appear out of nowhere and are difficult to resist. They are, however, not uncontrollable.
Learning to control urges is a crucial skill for long-term recovery. Here are a few ways to deal with cravings when they strike.
Accept that desires are normal and inevitable. Everyone who has had a successful recovery has had cravings, and probably still does. A craving does not mean you are doing something wrong, or that you have or will fail.
When you have been taking an addictive substance over a long period of time, it is natural to feel the temptation to use/consume it again. Trying to ignore or resist the need will simply make it greater. Accept that you have a craving, but find a means to cope with it as well.
Remember that desires do not endure forever. They usually only last 10 or 15 minutes unless you pay attention to them. Find a strategy to distract yourself from your craving.
This could be through working, reading, playing a video game, walking, talking to friends, or anything else that demands a lot of focus. Most times you cannot think about two things at once. Find something else to do with your time to distract yourself and reframe your mindset.
Examine Your Thinking
Our minds can exaggerate cravings. “Oh, a craving!” you may think. “I’ll never hold out!” This only increases the strain. Embrace it and watch your thoughts. Remind yourself that cravings pass quickly.
Stress unrelated to drugs or alcohol may cause a craving. Maybe you are irritated or tired at work. Think about it. Do you feel wronged? Do you fear the worst at work? Combating cognitive distortions reduces stress and cravings.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise can help curb cravings in two ways. First, it is a good distraction, especially if you are doing something skillful or social like a team sport.
Second, exercise lowers anxiety and elevates moods. More importantly, it enhances emotional regulation and willpower. This can be helpful when cravings occur. A trip around the block can help you get rid of a craving. After 20 minutes, you will have completely forgotten about it.
Examining a desire attentively might help defuse it. You can also observe it from afar. How does the craving feel? Where do you feel it? Your chest? Your stomach?
Examine the feeling without judging it or feeling obligated to do anything. Does it move or change? Let go when the feeling fades. This is made easier by daily mindfulness meditation. It is simpler to ride out intense feelings when you develop the habit of noticing them without getting caught up in them.
Cravings are natural and inevitable. All you need to do is to learn how to overcome them by practicing mindfulness and exercising. At Avalon Malibu, we understand how difficult it may get to control your cravings and how it may impact your mindset. For more information on how we can help you take the first step towards overcoming your cravings during addiction recovery, call us today at (844) 857-5992.