Cravings for drugs and alcohol are entirely normal in the early stages of recovery. We have yet to go through the work of our recovery program and do not have a strong defense against the first drink or drug. As we progress in our recovery, we will develop healthy coping mechanisms and achieve a state of serenity that allows us to be unaffected by the temptation to drink or use. In the early stages of sobriety, however, cravings can feel overwhelming. Here are three tips to cope with cravings and maintain your sobriety:
Turn Your Attention to Something Else
Sometimes we have to distract ourselves with something that can hold our attention. Whether it be a book, a movie, or a captivating activity, we can turn our focus to something else until the craving subsides. The most effective way to shift our thoughts away from our craving is by helping someone else. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.” When we help somebody else, we improve our spiritual condition and we can get out of our own head and focus on what really matters—being of service to others.
Cravings are associated with a stress response. We may experience a situation or environmental cue that causes us to begin thinking about drinking or using. By taking a moment to meditate, or even stop and take a few deep breaths, we signal to our bodies that we are safe and can begin to relax. Meditation causes our heart rate and blood pressure to lower, putting us into a state of relaxation. By treating our stress, we are also treating our craving.
Remember, Cravings are Temporary
Cravings often result from stressors or environmental cues that cause us to think about drugs or alcohol. From there, the thoughts snowball in our minds until we feel as though we are consumed by them. Taking our sobriety “one day at a time” is a great advice, but sometimes we need to take things one hour, one minute, or one moment at a time. The urge to use may be strong and feel overwhelming, but they are temporary. If we can get through those uncomfortable moments, the urges will diminish and we will know that cravings have no power over us. We will find that nothing is strong enough to get in the way of our recovery.
Your story can become one of courage and redemption in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future on the journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a highly effective approach to treatment that is tailored to the specific needs of each client. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777