Cravings come in waves, so ride it out like one. You just have to get over the hump, realize that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some things you can do in between cravings to better prepare yourself and things you can do when you are actually experiencing the craving.
In Between Cravings
Exercise, like illicit drugs, releases dopamine to the brain. Exercise lifts mood, reduces anxiety, and helps to produce energy, many of the desired effects of drug use, without all the negative side effects and costs to self, friends, family and society. Depression is one of the leading underlying causes of substance abuse and can be treated with exercise thanks to the release of endorphins that takes place. Treating the underlying causes of addiction will help you to be better prepared to fight off cravings.
Make list of the pros and cons of using. I assure you, as you are probably already aware, the cons outweigh the pros. But it helps to visualize the damage your drug use has done and has the potential to do in the future. Remember, it’s important to look ahead. Six months from now, you could be sober or you could’ve relapsed. Visualize your life as a sober individual and what it will be like.
Make a list of alternative activities to do when you start to feel a craving coming on such as calling on your support system, taking a walk, listening to music, watching a movie, praying, meditating, yoga, tai chi, etc. Anything that helps you to occupy your mind.
Avoid external cues-people, places, activities, things. You know who, what, and where I’m talking about. Make changes in your life that will help you to avoid cues and cravings, when it is possible.
When you start to experience a craving there are several steps to take to avoid a relapse. First of all, tell on yourself. If you are experiencing a craving you need to let your support system know. Don’t try to deal with it alone. This increases the likelihood of relapse. It’s much easier to get through when you have support.
Look back at your list of pros and cons and remind yourself of all the reasons you want to be sober including avoiding hurting yourself and the ones you love.
Then, bust out your list of alternative activities. I highly recommend getting some more exercise. Get those endorphins pumping and produce a natural high. Go to the gym, go for a jog, have sex, do something! Remember that you just have to ride it out, it will be over soon. Don’t be defeated.