There are five practical ways to deal with urges and cravings while in recovery from substance abuse and addiction. Managing cravings takes strategy and focus to keep on top of urges to use substances. Cravings are normal yet having the skills to cope will help be focused on the goal of recovery long term.

Cravings are Normal

Uncomfortable cravings are a part of the experience of addiction recovery. The good part is cravings pass with time. People in early recovery usually experience pretty intense cravings but when it subsides, the best way to plan is for relapse prevention. Cravings and urges will decrease in strength and frequency over time. Adopting strategies that work help to cope with the urges.

Resisting the Cravings

For many people, urges and cravings to use drugs or alcohol trigger an automatic response. Learning to say no when intense cravings hit can be a huge challenge in recovery. The best part is that there is a way to understand and resist cravings. Coping with urges and cravings takes strategy. Get a start with the following five ways to resist cravings.


Distraction can be both positive and negative. Either it is a tool for avoidance or it redirects attention. Healthy distraction is used to redirect attention from negative thoughts or a potentially dangerous situation. Healthy distraction can include speaking to a supportive person, moving into a new environment or getting engaged in a clean, fun activity.

Creative Imagery

Images related to old, addictive patterns and behavior need to stay in the back of a person’s mind. When someone ruminates on old people and places where drugs or alcohol were used it can lead down a bad road. Thinking positively about favorite vacation spots, people in support groups, volunteer work or joyful activities will help connect back to core values and why sobriety is so important.

Dispute Triggers

Triggers can automatically cause thoughts and feelings to surface which seem irresistible. The trigger of old memories and emotions will take over if a person does not intervene. Thinking about positive actions, behaviors and resources to handle the urges will help focus away from triggers.

Get Physical

Exercise is a great way to blow off steam and distract the mind and body from what is going on at work and home. It is also a great way to improve mood, reduce anxiety and combat depression.


Meditating and finding relaxation techniques support lower anxiety, anger and stress which are emotional triggers for cravings. Deep breaths are a good way to engage the natural relaxation response as well as journaling, meditating on goals, prayer, devotionals and yoga.


Fighting urges and cravings can feel exhausting. There is hope for a better way. Hired Power will support your recovery with our programs focused on your individual needs and goals. Call us at 714-559-3919 to get started.