Urges and cravings to use drugs or drink alcohol are extremely common to individuals who are recovering from substance addiction. After long periods of drug use, the body and mind become steadily more adapted to the way the substances alter them, and before much time, using the substance becomes second nature and almost automatic. Once an individual decides to take control and stop using, urges and cravings can come in waves; this is the true test of willpower and control for any recovering addict.
It is normal for drug or alcohol recovering addicts to have cravings and urges. At first and for a short while, cravings can be very intense. The recovering individual might feel like they absolutely need to use. They might feel like they are losing their mind and might actually lose their temper. It is a real battle in the early stages to remain in control of those cravings. The best news for people experiencing these kinds of dire cravings is that the moment will pass. After a few minutes, the craving’s intensity will dissipate. The problem is that most, unfortunately, are not strong enough to endure the short period in which cravings are most intense. This is the reason for more relapses.
Learning to cope and control urges and cravings is key to recovering from addiction and eventually not having them anymore.
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The first step is to get your mind off of the drug or alcohol. Once an individual is learning to control urges, it’s more likely than not that they are past the withdrawal stage of recovery. This means that cravings are fully centered in mind. By adverting attention to something else, cravings will go away quickly.
Next, it is important to consider and avoid things, places, and people that can cause a craving to turn on or encourage giving in to an urge. Examples of these can be lighters, bars, clubs, and people who once partook in drug abuse with the individual. It can be hard to nail down all of the things that might bring on a craving. However, there are obvious things that each individual can list from the get-go. Starting with the obvious triggers is a great way to begin changing the atmosphere and lifestyle toward more healthy and productive practices.
When an individual feels a craving or urge to abuse drugs or alcohol, it can be exceedingly helpful to think of things that are more important. Considering the road an individual has taken through drug, addiction rehab can be very helpful. Most recovering addicts have gone through a trying withdrawal period, harsh emotional ups and downs as they have sorted through problems that may have initially got them to start using drugs.
All of these things, and many other additional struggles that must be fought through in order to get through rehab, can remind an individual that if they cave to the cravings, all of their efforts would be for nothing. Most people would not want to have a second round of initial rehabilitation, and many have a lot to look forward to once they re-establish their lives as sober and healthy individuals. Considering loved ones and new goals can help keep a recovering addict’s mind on track on the right path.
Lastly, when an individual begins feeling cravings, it can help to quickly begin doing something fun, healthy, and productive. Anything that will give off a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction is a powerful distraction from cravings. Always remember, if you were able to control and overcome a craving or urge once, you can do it again.