Drug and Alcohol Cravings: What to Do When Cravings Strike and Threaten Your Addiction Recovery

Drug and alcohol cravings can be a grave danger to your addiction recovery; do you know what to do when they strike? Read on for tips and tools that may save your recovery.

Drug and alcohol cravings will occur even when working a solid addiction recovery program, sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

dreamstimeHaving stopped drug and alcohol use, the frequency, intensity and duration of cravings differ from person to person. The bad news is they occur; the good news is that over time they generally lessen in frequency and duration. The trick is to stay safe while riding out the wave. One way to view abstinence and sobriety is simply preparing for that moment when a craving occurs, nobody is watching, and nobody would know if you used, except you. What do you do? That is the moment of truth. What follows are some tips and tools that may get you through that moment of danger. Not all tips work for all people, the trick is to find one that will work for you. That being said, here are the tips to fight craving:

1. Buy yourself some time, distract yourself, with exercise, work or cleaning, get busy. Put yourself in a safe place where drugs and alcohol are not available. Cravings pass with time.

2. Play the movie forward. Remember that we are never talking about 'just one'. Once you pick up, control goes out the window.

3. Talk to someone. This is the purpose of building a social support network, utilize it. Go to a meeting, call your sponsor, best friend, relative or counselor. Talking it out with someone who really understands helps.

4. Pray or meditate. Ask for help in just getting through this. Use the Serenity Prayer. The point is to ask for help outside yourself.

5. Remember the pain and bad times, and the fact that you would be risking everything good that you have worked so hard for. Try focusing in the positive, not drinking or drugging and all the reasons you should not do it.

6. Go to a 12 step meeting, even if you have never gone before. They will listen, that's what they do. Call information and ask for AA .

7. H.A.L.T. Hungry, angry, lonely, tired: if you are in any of these states, fix it. Eat, sleep, chill out, go visit someone.

8. Remember a craving will pass with time and when it is through, you come out the other side even stronger. This was not, by any means, a complete list of relapse prevention strategies. There are many more detailed drug and alcohol cravings tips available:

Bill Urell

Bill Urell is an addictions therapist at a leading residential treatment center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills as a component of holistic addictions treatment. His websites cover areas of professional and personal interests.

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