If you’re trying to quit smoking crack, don’t take your intense cravings as a sign that you “can’t do this.” Cravings are completely normal; anyone who’s successfully quit their crack habit experienced them. If you can wait them out, they will, for the most part, subside. They never completely go away, but they weaken substantially, and there are coping strategies you can learn to speed up the process and avoid relapse in crack cocaine recovery.
The acronym DEADS is part of a popular recovery program that teaches addicts how to combat urges. Each letter stands for a useful approach:
D = Delay. Cravings, in terms of individual episodes, eventually fizzle out. The more urges you deny, the less intensely they will manifest. Over time, your brain recognizes that they cannot be satisfied.
E = Escape. If your cravings persist intensely for more than 10-15 minutes, you’re probably exposed to some mental stimulus that is causing the craving, meaning you should change your scenery or the people by whom you are surrounded. Otherwise, your craving should subside naturally pretty quickly. It may be difficult or uncomfortable to exit a certain social environment (i.e., exiting a bar where you are your friends are hanging out, or walking out of a supermarket and leaving your cart behind), but it’s worth it to avoid anything that may trigger you: food you ate while high on crack, a friend with whom you used to smoke, or just the presence of any mind-altering substance, like alcohol.
A = Accept. Don’t get angry with yourself over your cravings. It’s easy to become frustrated, burry your head in your pillow and beat yourself up over your illogical urges to self-destruct, but if you learn to live with those urges – to resist them – then you’re already winning. Crack cravings are automatic responses to environmental and interior triggers. A crack craving by itself is no reason to panic, unless it’s pushing you to the point of relapse—at which point you should contact your doctor, a member of your support group, or a hotline or some sort. You don’t have to be afraid of crack cravings the way alcoholics need to fear theirs: the former, unlike the latter, cannot actually kill you.
D = Dispute. Crack cravings are not purely physical; there is a strong emotional element—and these emotions are seldom logical. If you can step back and assess the reasons for your cravings and why they don’t make sense, you may find that your cravings subside or substantially weaken, as the emotions that caused them (the anger, hurt, sadness, and frustration) fizzle out.
S = Substitute. At some point, you’ve probably tried to distract yourself from negative thoughts or feelings. Some of us read; others watch TV. Different approaches work best for different people. Even in the midst of mental turmoil, like during a strong craving, substitution works pretty well. The mind is easily distracted, and the process can be taken advantage of to get important work done or perform healthy activities that prove beneficial regardless of why you are doing them. Recovering addicts often turn to exercise as a means of escapism, and a lot of them continue on long after they’ve cut the drugs. The formation of good habits can stem from the most painful of situations.
Although the preceding coping tips are useful while in rehabilitation as well as during long-term recovery, they do not take the place of the former, and work best as a part of the latter. Quitting crack cocaine typically requires far more extensive methodology that starts with detox and continues on with various forms of therapy and pharmaceutical intervention in either an inpatient or outpatient program.
If you’re suffering from crack dependency and are looking for treatment, you’ve already taken the first step: admitting your problem.
So pat yourself on the back; then proceed to step 2, and consult with an expert at Hired Power for treatment options in your area.
Call us today at 800-910-9299.