Coping skills are helpful at any stage of recovery, but particularly when cravings hit, this can be very helpful. Any person who experienced addiction will have cravings sometimes, no matter the length of time in sobriety. The brain and body are impacted greatly by addiction and sometimes the mind wants something the body does not need or vice versa and triggers can also make it challenging to push past cravings. There are 5 main skills which can help people cope with cravings.
After a period of feeling satiated, the appearance of a craving can be disturbing and throw a person off course for a moment. Realization that just because the brain or body is craving a drink or drug does not mean relapse is inevitable. Relax, meditate or pray, whatever helps to alleviate the feeling. It helps to be reminded the feeling won’t last forever and will pass, as cravings do.
When a craving becomes immobilizing, it can help to have a network of others in recovery to help maintain sobriety. Cravings can range from slightly to very annoying or even feel immensely overwhelming. When this happens, it helps to reach out, go to more meetings, connect with others and take comfort in listening to others as well as be listened to (and feel understood) by those who know what it feels like.
Take a hike
Move in some way, shape or form. Speed walk through town, get into nature or hit the gym for a positive release of endorphins. Relieve the jitters and get moving to boost mood. Exercise is a great social activity as well so it might be helpful to locate a group of people who are playing a pick-up game, join an aerobic class or find another way to release energy.
See a movie
Open a book or watch Netflix. The cinema is a great place to watch a movie if home feels too confining. Perhaps contact a friend and see whether that person will join. Being around other people can be distracting (in a good way) from destructive thoughts but perhaps being around people feels overwhelming so staying in can also be a good idea. Whatever is decided, make a commitment not to give into the cravings by choosing a positive, joy-filled activity.
Write a gratitude list
Making a note of all the people, places and things to be grateful for is a wonderful way to bring awareness from the head onto paper. Taking time to reflect on fortunes and blessings can help bring positive energy to sobriety and quash cravings. This may include listing people who have benefitted from an individual’s recovery and would be harmed by giving in to the cravings.
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