Most people in the very earliest days of addiction recovery experience cravings. It is a common experience in addiction recovery. With continued abstinence over time, cravings will be reduced in intensity and duration.Cravings can come and go. They are sometimes weak, and sometimes quite strong. You will need to learn to manage cravings as they can still occur many years after you have stopped using the drug. To reduce the impact of alcohol/drug cravings, it is appropriate very early on, to identify the “when”, “who”, “where”, “what” factors in triggers for cravings. Identifying these factors can help you avoid some triggers. Identifying these craving cues can also help you develop a plan to manage and reduce the impact of the ones you cannot avoid.
- Eat three meals a day. (Don’t cut down to one or two meals.) Have a few nutritional snacks throughout the day.Eat a healthy meal in order to nourish the brain. Avoid the people, places, and playthings; that might trigger your use. If you find yourself in a risky environment, be prepared to respond assertively, don’t make excuses and be willing to leave immediately if necessary.
- You may experience withdrawal and cravings. This is your body’s sign of recovering. Take it one day at a time and it will pass.
- Cravings are worse when a person is under high stress. The more a person can relax, the lower the intensity of the craving.When you’re feeling frustrated, worried or anxious, think calming thoughts, or use a relaxation CD.
- Avoid Boredom. You may be used to getting high to pass the time. Plan your day or activities to cut down on idle time. Stay active through different physical activities and keep your hands busy.
- Aerobic exercise reduces the intensity of craving. Regular aerobic exercise is a protective factor against craving, especially in the first six to nine months of recovery.
- If you talk it through, you don’t have to act it out. Addicts need to talk about their cravings as soon as they occur to discharge the urge to use.
- Distraction: divert attention from the craving by engaging in other activities that productively distract the person from their feelings. Go for a walk and swimming. Ride your bike etc.
- Prayer. Allows you connect with Your Higher Power and makes spiritual help available to help you overcome the cravings that are confronting you.
Remember that most craving is time limited to two or three hours. These are just some of the simple things one can do to handle the cravings. Cravings can be very intense. But it is possible to handle them and remain on the road of recovery instead of being victimized by relapse.When experiencing craving, many people have a tendency to remember only the positive effects of cocaine; they often forget the negative consequences. Thus, when experiencing craving, it is often effective for them to remind themselves of the benefits of abstinence and the negative consequences of continuing to use. This way, patients can remind themselves that they really will not feel better if they use.