After recognizing cravings and their triggers, learn to alleviate the discomfort.
Cravings can be a source of discomfort and distress for many after rehab. It is important to learn what activities, atmospheres, and behaviors trigger such cravings. By minimizing exposure to these triggers we can hope to reduce the occurrence of these feelings as well. You may never fully eliminate the cravings for drugs, alcohol, or harmful activities; however, you can learn to cope with cravings and employ techniques that will help you to overcome them.
1. Distract Yourself
A simple way to alleviate cravings is to turn your mind to something else. Try to engage in healthy activities when you feel a craving arise. Take the dog for a walk, treat yourself to the movies, or go bowling. These kinds of actions help distract your mind from trigger thoughts and can help keep your body in safe spaces. Start a new, interesting hobby or make a list of positive activities you may want to try and refer to your list if you ever need to distract yourself from a craving.
2. Talk Through the Cravings
Having cravings is normal part of recovery. Don’t be afraid to tell someone like a friend or family member when you are having especially troubling feelings. Talking through the cravings can help you manage them. Allowing someone to be there for you will make you feel less alone and can actually help you feel more in control of the craving.
3. Remember Why You Chose Sobriety
During a craving, we may temporarily forget about all the pain and damage our drug use causes. We may be seduced into only thinking about the good times. One of the best ways to respond to a craving like this is to remember why you chose to get sober in the first place. Our addictions cause us physical, emotional, mental, and financial troubles. Write out a list of specific reasons you stopped using, and keep this list with you so you can read it to help alleviate cravings when they arise.
4. Concentrate on the Feeling
Some people may find it helpful to let themselves experience the craving instead of fighting against it. Although this can seem counter-intuitive, it does allow you to distance yourself from the feeling and experience it in a different way. Find a safe place, alone or with someone close to you, and allow yourself to just have the craving. How does it feel? What thoughts are you having? What does your body feel like? As you answer these questions, you may find this approach very empowering when dealing with the cravings.
5. Community Support
Relying on those around you can be an amazingly useful tool on your journey to recovery. When a craving hits, you may find it soothing to go to a support group like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Other helpful community resources may include church or prayer events, meditation circles, or group therapy sessions. These activities may help you approach your cravings and addictions from new and positive perspectives.
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