6 Strategies to Coping with Drug and Alcohol Cravings
You have worked hard to get clean and you are trying to move on with your life. Perhaps you have been offered a new job or have repaired broken relationships and overall life if pretty good–that is until you start craving drugs or alcohol. When completing rehab, recovering addicts battling addiction have found that cravings are a fact of life.
Just when one thinks the desire is gone it rears its ugly head, beckoning the person in recovery to go ahead and have a hit or a taste. If you are one of those people who experiences cravings, you can fight back by refusing to give in to them, you will find that they will affect you less, and eventually you may rarely experience them. Keep reading for some tips on dealing with cravings one day at a time.
Commit to Staying Away from Tempting Situations
One way to handle cravings is to avoid the situations that can increase the urge for drugs or alcohol. Places where drugs are used and where alcohol flows freely are the places you need to avoid. While no one can live in a vacuum, there are some people and places that can make it easier to give in to cravings. There is a piece of advice that is usually given to those who have gone through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and it goes something like this: If you go back to your old playground and play with the same playmates, you can expect to return to your old habits.
Allow Cravings to Pass
Believe it or not, cravings for drugs and alcohol will pass if you give them time. According to a respected alcohol rehab center in St. Louis, it may take 10-15 minutes before the craving stops. However, if you are experiencing cravings, be patient and allow them to pass. Drinking a glass of water can help take your mind off what you cannot have.
Keep good friends close
Support is only a phone call away if you develop a network of friends whom you can trust. Calling and talking to a friend or sponsor can help you get your mind on something other than using drugs or alcohol, and if you stay on the telephone for about 15 minutes, you may find that your cravings have passed. Enlist the help of your friends by asking them to allow you to call them whenever you feel a craving.
Do something constructive
Make a plan of things to do instead of using. For example, if you like reading or listening to music. Have those activities handy so that when the urge for drugs or alcohol hits, you will have something constructive that you can do instead. Choose reading materials that are fun and interesting rather than those that are depressing or those that might contribute to more stress. Music that is mellow and soothing can also be helpful if you feel uptight at the end of a hard day. Taking a class to learn a hobby is another way to add meaningful activities to your life.
Exercise provides what is known as a natural high. It can also build confidence. Exercise is known to reduce stress and create a feeling of well-being. When you crave drugs or alcohol you may find that exercise can be an excellent solution to the cravings and what is more, when you get into the habit of exercising, you will begin to crave that activity.
Consume Healthy Foods
Eating a well-balanced diet will provide the nutrients your body need for healthy functioning. Protein, vitamins and minerals all play a vital role in helping you stay healthy and may help decrease your cravings. Some people who have overcome their addiction point to healthy eating as part of what helped them achieve success in quitting drug and alcohol use.
There is no one solution to overcoming the urge to return to drug or alcohol use. The key is to develop a plan that includes several strategies that can be used at different times and situations.
It is also helpful to continue seeing a professional counselor with experience in addictions, as this will give you an opportunity to express your feelings and learn coping strategies that can help you overcome cravings. Along with counseling, it is important to see your physician for regular check-ups. This can help you avoid health problems that might cause you to start using drugs indirectly. For example, if you are experiencing pain, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication or pain management solutions that will not lead to abuse of medication. If you see a new health care provider, be open and honest about your addiction history as this will help him or her prescribe a course of treatment that will help rather than harm and help you stay on your path to recovery.