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How to thwart cravings during recovery

How to thwart cravings during recovery

Cravings are powerful urges and obsessive desires for an addictive substance. As a byproduct of substance abuse, such feelings can be triggered even during the challenging phase of treatment and recovery. Therefore, a thin line separates recovery from relapse. It has been widely observed that alcohol or drug cravings can occur on and off for months and years after quitting these substances. Moreover, if not properly managed, it can push a person back to relapse.

Anyone who has engaged in substance-abusing behaviors would have experienced uncomfortable and intense cravings, especially at the outset of recovery. However, if one is equipped with coping strategies and will to lead a sober life, he or she would eventually be able to distract himself or herself from such urges. As a result, these cravings will eventually subside. With the passage of time, they will decrease in strength, frequency and intensity.

One needs to be prepared and not underestimate the power that such sudden feelings can shove a person to the road of relapse and addiction. Since complacency could ruin all the possible chances of recovery, a recovering individual should be alert to the challenges of the enticement of cravings. This one last provocation can push a person downhill into relapse.

Strategies to cope with cravings

The first lesson in coping with cravings is learning to identify and understand the signs and symptoms of one’s cravings. Resisting the urges and saying ‘NO’ to these intense desires is one of the biggest challenges in recovery. However, such feelings can be easily overcome by implementing certain life skills and positive approach. Some useful approaches are:

  • Delaying and waiting out the craving is an effective step to recovery. No matter how intense the urge is, it will pass. Hence, by denying the urge even one time, one will develop the confidence to deny it each time. Once an urge has been denied, it becomes possible to deny many more urges that are similar in nature as one gains confidence in denying it repeatedly. After a while, the cravings too will steadily become fewer.
  • Escaping situations that trigger the cravings will help to take one’s mind off the urges. If there is an alcohol advertisement showing on one channel, then one could switch to another channel to avoid the cravings. Maintaining a distance from a place that brings back the old memories of abusing substances is a clever idea because confronting it could be fraught with dangerous outcomes, such as one should leave the pub if the beer taps feel enticing or if the supermarket aisle displaying the bottles of wine are leading to alcohol cravings.
  • Accepting the discomfort that cravings pose will help to prevent one from trying to satisfy them. If an individual understands the signs and symptoms and acknowledges that the discomfort is not fatal, then it will be easier for him or her to face the challenges posed by the cravings. In no time at all, one will be able to overcome his or her cravings.
  • Disputing the irrational urges with a logical counter statement would help to ward off the temptation to fulfilling the cravings. One should learn to develop an effective new belief to attack the irrational urges.
  • Substituting a craving with another more interesting thought or fun activity that can counter the irrational urge can be an effective response. The list of possibilities is endless and needs creativity and imagination to pen down and could include reading a new book, watching the latest flick, etc. These can then be used as weapons to disarm the cravings.

Managing cravings to ensure successful recovery from addiction

While cravings are bound to arise during the phase of recovery and could present a great deal of discomfort to an individual, they aren’t beyond control when one follows the coping strategies religiously. It is also important to pay heed to the rational voice inside each person that questions his or her actions like cravings for an addictive substance.

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug abuse, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline to connect to the detoxification treatment centers in Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 to access details about the detox centers in Colorado. Alternatively, you can chat online with our experts for further information.

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