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Hi there, thanks for joining me today. This podcast is all about sharing positive advice and wisdom for daily life in recovery, and in this episode, I’m going to share 8 effective ways to deal with cravings. Cravings for drugs and alcohol can be powerful. Powerful enough to make you give up months of sobriety for the promise of a single high. Although cravings do have the potential to cause a relapse, they are a normal part of recovery and there are lots of ways you can get by without giving in. So let’s look at eight possible ways you can cope.

1. Find a distraction.

When you’re overwhelmed with a craving or an urge to use, it’s helpful to find a distraction. You can go for a walk, call a friend, move yourself to a different environment, or enjoy a snack or non-alcoholic drink instead. These types of simple distractions can get your mind off the craving and onto other things.

2. Do something active.

Getting outside and doing something active is another great distraction that will get your endorphins pumping and make you feel great! Not sure what to do? Try riding your bike, taking a yoga class, going for a run, or just walking your dog. Moving your body can help you forget about your craving and find pleasure in something else instead.

3. Focus on the present.

It’s all too easy to dwell on how great those drugs made you feel the first time or how much you have to lose if you relapse. Instead, try to focus on the here and now—nothing else. Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, think about your life now, how far you’ve come in recovery and all the great things you’ve fought so hard to achieve in sobriety.

4. Practice mindful thinking.

Practicing mindfulness in recovery has tons of benefits, but one is that it helps you fight through cravings and urges to use. Mindfulness allows you to recognize what’s going on inside yourself, including your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Whether you journal about it or set aside 10 minutes every day to meditate, being mindful can help you find balance, even when you’re struggling with cravings.

5. Accept your cravings.

This is an approach called “Riding the wave”. Accepting your cravings, urges, and emotions is another way to address them and prepare for future ones at the same time. By accepting what you feel and adopting a non-judgmental understanding of your cravings, you can learn how to better respond to them and reduce their intensity. By shifting away from the idea that cravings are negative, you can explore their meaning and consider an alternative way of expressing that. This is something that your therapist, sponsor, or counselor may also be able to help you with.

6. Self-soothe.

Take a bubble bath, get a massage, listen to music … these are all ways you can self-soothe and practice self-care to relieve uncomfortable thoughts and feelings related to your cravings.

7. Develop a counter statement.

Developing a counter statement like, “I’ve been here before and I can get through this again.” can help you dispute and attack your cravings when they occur. Eventually, with time, the cravings will get less severe and you will be able to get through them more quickly.

8. Talk it through with your sponsor.

When you are facing tough cravings and urges to use, you can always go to your sponsor and talk through it.  No one understands what you’re going through better than your sponsor and he or she is there to help you through it. Cravings are real, they’re tough, and they have the potential to do serious damage. But you have the tools and the ability to fight through them. If you have questions, comments, or want to suggest a topic for our next episode, email me at kelsey.brown@novarecoverycenter.com.
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