Cravings come in waves, so ride it out like one. You just have to get over the hump, realize that you’re not going to die if you force yourself through it; play the tape through sand see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some things you can do in between cravings to better prepare yourself and things you can do when you are actually experiencing the craving.
*** In Between Cravings ***
Make a list of your sober support network…the primary component of this list is their names and phone numbers, for this reason, this list can be in your phone. Your sponsor should be numero uno, if you don’t have one…get one! If you are having trouble with this contact me! If your list is less than 10 people, get more numbers! If you don’t know how to do that….here’s how! GO TO MEETINGS!
Make list of the pros and cons of using. I assure you, as you are probably already aware, the cons outweigh the pros. But it helps to visualize the damage your drug use has done and the potential it has to damage your future.
Make a list of alternative activities to do when you start to feel a craving coming on such as calling on your support system, taking a walk, listening to music, watching a movie, praying, meditating, yoga, tai chi, etc. Anything that helps you to occupy your mind.
Avoid external cues-people, places, activities, things. You know who, what, and where I’m talking about. Make changes in your life that will help you to avoid cues and cravings, when it is possible.
Treat possible underlying causes-Depression, anxiety, PTSD, physical illness…..any kind of physical or mental pain can be a significant contributor to the development and/or progression of the disease of addiction in the individual. These are some of the greatest underlying contributors to addiction. In some cases they cause the first use. In others they are caused by use and the situations caused by use…..doesn’t matter….Get help! If you don’t have health insurance, that’s no excuse! There are support groups for almost EVERHYTHING! And if you can’t physically get to one, you can get to one online…Although I strongly suggest physically going. More therapeutic value is derived this way. Human interaction with people who understand IS THE GREATEST HEALER OF ADDICTION RELATED ISSUES AND ADVANCEMENT THE GREATEST CAUSE OF ADVANCEMENT IN RECOVERY.
Like illicit drugs, exercise releases dopamine to the brain. Exercise lifts mood, reduces anxiety, and helps to produce energy, many of the desired effects of drug use, without all the negative side effects and costs to self, friends, family and society.
*** Cravings ***
When you start to experience a craving there are several steps to take to avoid a relapse. First of all,
TELL ON YOURSELF!!!!!!!!
If you are experiencing a craving you need to let your support system know. Don’t try to deal with it alone. This increases the likelihood of relapse. It’s much easier to get through when you have support. The first thing you should do is call your sponsor. If you don’t have a sponsor or he/she doesn’t answer, call the next person on you r sober support list. Keep calling until someone picks up and you get to have a decent conversation about what you are going through. This is a good time to remind you that friends and family are NOT on this list. Although they love us, if they are not recovery addicts/alcoholics, they will not understand and may unintentionally lead us in the wrong direction and possible enable us.
Look back at your list of pros and cons and remind yourself of all the reasons you want to be sober including avoiding hurting yourself and the ones you love. . Remember, it’s important to look ahead. Six months from now, you could be sober or you could’ve relapsed. One day from now you could be sober or you could be dead. Visualize your life as a sober individual and what it will be like. And if you pick up right now, what would happen? How would it affect your kids, your family, your job, your health, your relationship with God or a higher power, and all that is important to you? Play the tape through. You might get temporary relief form the pain, the craving, the boredom, the stagnation, the anger, the depression, the fatigue….but what happens after that? Think about it.
Then, bust out your list of alternative activities. I highly recommend getting some more exercise. Get those endorphins pumping and produce a natural high. Go to the gym, go for a jog, have sex, do something! Remember that you just have to ride it out, it will be over soon. Cravings come in waves, get your surf board out and ride it until it’s over. Don’t let it take you down.