One of the biggest challenges of recovering from addiction is dealing with cravings. When you experience a craving, you feel like you really need to drink or use again, that you are being pulled toward it and you can’t escape. Cravings feel like they will never end. In reality, they typically last only a short time and they get less frequent and less severe the longer you are sober. However, that doesn’t make them any less difficult in the moment, especially early on, when you’re not at all confident you can succeed in recovery. Perhaps the best strategy for avoiding cravings is to avoid triggers entirely. People, places, and things that remind you of using will typically cause cravings. Less exposure to those things means fewer cravings. Unfortunately, no one can avoid cravings completely. There are a number of ways to deal with cravings, and it’s a good idea to use every strategy that works for you. One way that can be especially powerful is to use mindfulness. Mindfulness is typically associated with meditation. You don’t have to meditate to deal with cravings mindfully, but it will certainly help. Being mindful in a craving means seeing the craving for what it really is and really experiencing it. The natural tendency during a craving is to try to push it away. The craving is shouting at you to use even though you really don’t want to so you try to ignore it, which often just makes it worse. When you’re mindful of a craving, you first accept it. You say, “Oh, this is a craving,” and instead of trying to escape it, you just sit with it and explore how it feels. Does it feel like thirst? Where do you feel the craving in your body? Notice how long it lasts and see if you can feel when it starts to go away. Do you know what caused it? Another thing to try is comparing the craving to what will actually happen if you use again. Play the tape and vividly imagine what you’ll feel like if you relapse. How will you feel the next day? The next week? What was the reason you got sober in the first place? Compare that image to the promise of the craving and you’ll find a massive incongruity. The craving is like an amazing trailer for a terrible movie. Once you can accept that a craving is just a feeling and the object of the craving will never deliver on that promise, you will be able to regain some control.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.