Coping with Cravings

Cravings are an unfortunate fact of life in early sobriety. We will experience times when we feel like our desires for the familiar comfort of drugs and alcohol are overwhelming. Eventually, we will reach a point in our recovery where we are not tempted by drugs and alcohol, but in the early stages of recovery we may experience “cues” and “triggers” that cause our thinking to become hijacked by our cravings for substances.
Cravings are a common cause of relapse. They often arise from experiencing certain cues or triggers that elicit a stress response. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Science has taught us that stress, cues linked to the drug experience (such as people, places, things, and moods), and exposure to drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.” For example, we may run into an old drinking buddy or someone we used to use drugs with and begin feeling temptation to use with them. We tend to forget just how painful our addiction was and begin considering using again.
The thought process that occurs during a craving is a dangerous one and does not reflect the true nature of our addiction, but many men and women suffering from addiction have certain mental “blank spots” that can cause them to falsely believe their life in sobriety is not as good as their life in addiction was. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago.” It may be helpful to take a moment to try to think clearly about how bad life in addiction was.
There are a variety of things we can do to overcome a craving and diminish our potential for relapse. It may be helpful to reach out to our sponsor or someone else in the recovery community. We can also go to a recovery meeting and speak frankly about what we are feeling. We should always keep in mind that cravings are temporary feelings—they will go away in time. If we can find something else to turn our attention to, whether it be prayer, meditation, an activity, or helping someone else, we will undoubtedly find that the craving subsides and we are left happy and grateful that we did not give into temptation.

Your story can be one of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. You can make the courageous decision to reach out for help now and begin the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers an innovative and fluid approach to treatment that addresses the unique challenges and specific needs of each client. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777