Arguably the most challenging aspect of staying in recovery is fighting off cravings to use again. For some, cravings are few and far between, but for others, they are something that they have to deal with on a daily basis. Regardless of how much cravings impact one’s life, it is important that he or she knows how to deal with cravings in a manner that will keep their recovery on track.
When getting treatment in rehab, individuals participate in several different forms of therapy that are not only designed to help flush out mental and emotional distress that keeps them trapped in the cycle of addiction, but also to help equip them with the tools needed to continue to achieve success when outside the four walls of rehab. Many of these learned tools are to be applied to real-life situations, such as experiencing an overwhelming large craving upon being set off by a trigger. When someone can apply what he or she has learned as a result of his or her participation in rehab, he or she can continually navigate recovery so that his or her health remains preserved.
5 Tips to Cope with Cravings
If an individual has any shot at staying in recovery, he or she must have easy and effective ways of dealing with their cravings. Everybody has cravings, which is why everybody should know how to cope with them. Consider the following:
Give it time
The second someone starts to experience a craving to use drugs or alcohol, the best thing he or she can do is to pause and see if the craving passes. He or she can decide prior to the craving how much time he or she is comfortable letting pass when a craving kicks in. For example, a person can make a commitment to him or herself to allow 20 minutes to pass once he or she gets a craving. In that time, the craving may have very well gone away on its own. Cravings ebb and flow, just like other emotions, and respecting that process is important.
Leave the scene
Many cravings develop when someone is triggered by something within his or her environment. Instead of allowing oneself to continue to be triggered, he or she can simply leave. It does not matter where he or she is, as maintaining recovery should be the most important thing to someone who has worked hard to get sober. Therefore, individuals should make a deal with themselves that if they are triggered to use in any setting, that it is ok for him or her to leave in an effort to uphold his or her recovery.
Call a friend
Sometimes, something as simple as reaching out and calling a friend can make a world of difference. When someone is struggling with a craving, it can be extremely helpful if he or she reaches out and calls a friend. This friend can be someone who he or she has known for a long time, or it can even be a friend who he or she met in a local support group. As with everything else pertaining to addiction recovery, it cannot be done alone. So, in the event of a persistent craving, individuals can phone a friend to help talk them through it.
Get to a meeting
The vast majority of the recovery community participates in either Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. When an individual is a part of one of these support groups, he or she can find a meeting basically anywhere in the country. Therefore, no matter where an individual is, he or she can look up a meeting and get to one as soon as possible. Often times just being in the presence of others who are also grappling with similar issues can be effective at decreasing cravings.
Do something else
Whatever an individual is doing at the time of the craving is clearly not helping him or her work through it properly. When a craving does hit, that individual can go and do something else to help him or her switch gears. For example, he or she can go for a run, take a coffee break, read a chapter of a book, etc. Any positive activity that helps the individual take his or her mind off of the craving is what he or she should do. It can help to have a group of common go-to’s for when this does happen so that the individual does not need to think of something on the spot.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Cravings
For some, cravings are more than just something that ebb and flow. They can completely infiltrate all areas of one’s recovery and threaten his or her sobriety, especially when he or she is just ending his or her addiction. Depending on his or her situation, medication-assisted treatment can be an option.
Medication-assisted treatment includes the use of prescription medications such as methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. These medications are widely known for helping individuals taper off of opioids, however, they are also commonly used to help minimize cravings.
When an individual combines medication with learned coping skills, he or she can experience success in managing cravings and in turn, continuing their recovery without relapsing.
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, or are in recovery but feel like you are on shaky ground, do not hesitate to reach out to us right now to learn about your treatment options. Not only can we help you learn how to handle incessant cravings (and even fleeting ones), but we can also provide you the support you need to keep going.
We understand how difficult getting sober and maintaining recovery can be. We know that there are several challenges that you face that can sometimes feel intimidating and overwhelming. However, we know that if you are ready to put hard work and determination into your recovery, that we can help you begin to live a fulfilled, successful life.
Do not wait anymore. Call us right now to get the help that you deserve.