Cravings can be difficult to cope with, and they are something everyone can experience. Some may have cravings for certain foods, while others may experience cravings as a result of an addiction. Depending on what you’re craving, the urge to obtain it can be very powerful.
When it comes to substance abuse, cravings can be defined as the intense desire to experience the feeling that your substance of choice offers. All substances that commonly result in addiction (such as opioids, benzos, and alcohol) produce specific feelings when used. The desire to experience these feelings again is what drives the cravings.
Once you decide to seek help and enter treatment for your addiction, you may still experience cravings throughout the process. It can be common to have cravings during treatment and even after entering recovery. It is important to be prepared to combat those cravings with strategies that work for you. Cravings will come and go and can be triggered by a variety of things. It is up to you to learn how to cope with and resist cravings when they occur. A few tips for combatting cravings in recovery can include:
- Avoiding triggering people, places, or things
- Keeping busy or using distractions
- Meditation or prayer
When it comes to coping with and combating cravings, the first step is often to avoid any people, places, or things that could serve as triggers. Triggers can be anything that might motivate or encourage you to use again. For some, these may be specific places that remind them of their past addiction. For others, it could be specific people or groups that they used to associate with. Others may even associate specific smells or sounds with substance abuse. During treatment, you will learn to identify your triggers and develop healthy strategies to help you steer clear of them.
Avoiding people, places, and things that might serve as triggers can help you reduce the likelihood of cravings. Consider selecting new environments to spend time in after you complete treatment. Spend your time with people who support your new lifestyle and whom you can count on to encourage you to stay on track.
Staying Busy/Using Distractions
Another great way to avoid cravings is to stay busy. You are likely to be introduced to many new activities and hobbies throughout your treatment experience. Implementing these activities into your life in recovery can help you not only stay busy but continue the path that you began in treatment. Activities could include exercises such as CrossFit or hiking. Maybe you started doing yoga each day or made prayer and meditation a priority. All of these things can be added to your daily schedule to help you stay busy and avoid harmful thoughts and behaviors.
If you do find yourself experiencing cravings in recovery, you can use any of these activities as a distraction as well. Sometimes, doing something to take your mind off of the cravings can help. This can also be beneficial with feelings of stress and anxiety. Occupying your mind fully with something that you enjoy or something that requires a lot of focus can encourage you to think about something else and allow that urge to use to pass.
Often, meditation can be an excellent way to cope with cravings. Meditation requires you to be fully aware of the present moment and really check in with yourself. If you take some time to think about the progress you made and what you have gained since going through treatment and finding sobriety, you are more likely to be able to think logically about the consequences of using again.
Meditating daily is something that is often recommended in treatment and throughout recovery. Being intentional about processing and sitting with your thoughts and feelings helps you process your own emotions and better deal with any potential harmful thoughts or urges you might have.
Despite your best efforts, cravings are bound to happen at some point – and they can be very powerful, depending on the severity of your addiction and the type of substance used. Unfortunately, you do not just forget the feeling that drugs or alcohol provided, so it is essential to have strategies in place to help you cope when these cravings do arise.
Renaissance Ranch offers a plethora of tools to utilize that can help you avoid relapse and stay on track throughout recovery. In addition to the activities mentioned above, staying involved and connected through our Band of Brothers alumni program can be extremely beneficial should you experience cravings or need some support in recovery.
Cravings can be very powerful and can lead to relapse if proper coping mechanisms are not in place. It is crucial to be prepared when cravings do arise. During treatment, you will learn ways of dealing with tough situations in recovery, including cravings. At Renaissance Ranch, we provide you with a toolkit of strategies to reference as needed throughout recovery. We understand that leaving treatment and returning to daily life can bring some challenges. Let us help you identify your triggers and harmful behavior patterns so you can learn to set yourself up for success. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to help. Let us teach you how to fight cravings and find sobriety for the life you want and deserve. To begin your journey to recovery, call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.