Cravings are the most common yet the most challenging aspect of the recovery process. It’s an intense drug-seeking impulse that’s sudden and seems impossible to resist. Whether it has been months since you stopped using or just a day, the urge to give in to the temptation, to fall back into your previous habits will remain with you constantly – some days they’ll be stronger than at others. Cravings aren’t inexorable and one can learn to control them in order to achieve recovery.
Giving in to your cravings makes it easier to relapse into your old lifestyle. It catches you at your weakest moments and convinces you that the change you have worked so hard to achieve isn’t what you desire.
Dealing with withdrawal
Resisting your craving impulses might be challenging but you should know that it’s not entirely impossible. Having a strong support system can make this process easier, but your determination and willpower are the main drivers that can lead you to a successful recovery.
Heavy substance abuse in the past, such as tranquilizers, alcohol abuse, or even heroin, meth, and opiates, lead to severe withdrawal symptoms once you decide to stop using.
Without proper medical supervision, coping with the withdrawal symptoms from extreme substance abuse can be dangerous. Get in touch with your family and immediately sign up for a rehab program at a trustworthy rehab facility, such as delphi health group, where you can get the kind of help you need.
They offer extensive therapy sessions as well to address the root cause of your addiction, which supports long-term recovery in recovering addicts.
Tips to avoid relapse
Addiction is a complicated phenomenon, and cravings play the central role in why you continue to seek substances that jeopardize aspects of your life, from career to relationships.
Here, we have put together five ways you can curb your cravings.
- Acknowledge your cravings when you have them
The first step toward overcoming a craving is acknowledging that its occurrence is only natural and even necessary for the process of recovery.
Instead of attempting to suppress it, you should accept it for what it is. Accepting cravings as they are rather than wishing them away is an integral part of your recovery.
Experiencing cravings does not imply that you’ve failed or will fail in your efforts. When you’ve been abusing an addictive substance for an extended period, the impulse to use will undoubtedly arise.
Counterintuitively, in purging it from your mind, you might inadvertently make it stronger. Acknowledge it when it arises, but don’t give in. Just stay with the feeling and let it subside on its own because cravings by nature are temporary.
- Get some exercise
The thing about cravings is that it’s a momentary temptation that goes away after a while. Exercising is a great way to distract yourself from your temporary impulses and overcome the addictive cravings.
Exercise will help you with overcoming the post-quit jitters that many addicts face and dread. Regular exercise is an outlet for releasing your negative energy, which will help you in preventing relapse. Plus, exercise lowers anxiety when it boosts the release of endorphins—the feel-good hormones.
But the most important benefit of exercise is that it develops your willpower and promotes emotional management. Even a lap around your neighborhood can calm you down when a craving hits you.
- Practice meditation
Meditation is an excellent method for calming yourself down when you feel overwhelmed with intense cravings. It can lead to a deeper understanding of one’s spirituality. You can meditate whenever and wherever you choose if you embrace mindfulness meditation.
Furthermore, it helps you relax as you take your time and don’t rush from one thing to another. It quells your inner chatter and promotes a state of serenity.
Lastly, it helps you become aware of the numerous daily sensory sensations that we are often unaware of. Mindfulness enables you to feel better about the world. It makes you realize the beauty around you and allows it occupy your mind with positive thoughts.
- Take a relaxing bath
A warm bath can help you unwind the stress you have been holding in and lets you relax by alleviating the symptoms and discomfort caused by cravings, such as muscle aches.
Using aromatics can soothe your mind and body, allowing you to overcome cravings more quickly. You can also use Epsom salt for a more calming and relaxing bath. You can easily find them at a nearby drugstore for a reasonable price.
- Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you feel more in control of your behaviors. Plus, vocalizing your thoughts and moods can help you interpret them in a new light. The reinterpretation of your mind’s incessant chatter will lead to positive and empowering feelings, which will help you feel less helpless in the face of your triggers.
It’s good to have a support system you can lean on – someone you can openly talk to while recovering. Let them know that just listening alone can be of tremendous help.
There are many support groups you can join, both online and in-person, which can help you process your feelings better.
- Avoid addiction-triggering situations
Develop a strategy to prevent triggers after you’ve identified them. Remove triggers from your surroundings by relocating to a different neighborhood, severing ties with friends who wish to see you relapse, and staying away from social gatherings where you fear your old addictive patterns might resurface.
- Eat something sweet
Some individuals find that consuming sugary treats or carbohydrate-rich food can help them manage their cravings. It’s crucial to note that you should never depend on them as a long-term coping mechanism, as these easily lead to weight gain and the promotion of poor dietary habits.
However, qualitative research indicates their benefits for initial stage recovery. So, when you feel cravings coming on, just take a nibble of something sweet or take a cup of sweetened tea.
Cravings can seem intensely powerful, but they also go away as fast as they come. You will gain immense confidence in your recovery once you know how to ride the urge and not give in. The essential thing to remember is that relapse does not equal failure. Hence, you should start afresh each time you relapse.