Cravings can be one of the hardest parts of recovering from addiction. In the beginning, detox takes up all of our attention partly because it is the first step to recovery. At the end of detox, though, we are well and truly sober. Now we have to find a way to stay that way and learning how to deal with cravings can be a part of keeping us drug-free.
What are Cravings?
The word cravings often conjure an image of the stoner with the munchies, or a pregnant woman looking for some strange food combination in the middle of the night. For people living with addiction, a craving is an intense, almost overwhelming desire, for our drug of choice. It is physical and emotional and part of the psychology of addiction. Our brains remember that it once couldn’t function without a drug. The brain tells the body that something is wrong and the only way to cope is to use the drug. Sometimes, the brain can convince itself that it will die without the drug. While we know that we are not likely to die if we don’t get high, persistent thoughts and visceral memories can trick us. Overcoming cravings involves dedication and strength.
Dealing with Cravings:
In treatment and ongoing recovery, we learn all kinds of things. One of the most important is how to get through cravings. We have to identify the craving for what it is. Part of recovery is honest and diligent observation, so when a craving hits, we need to look at it and acknowledge it for what it is. If we try to push it to the back of our mind it creates more anxiety and shame which can build to helplessness and relapse. Not seeing the world, both internal and external, is part of what leads us to addiction in the first place. Craving is a monster waiting for us to let down our guard.
If a craving is overwhelming, find someone to walk you through it. It can be a spouse, a child or a 12-Step sponsor. If none of these people are available there are organizations that run hotlines staffed with people who can help you through. Remember, most cravings only last about five minutes and when they have passed many addicts report an equally strong sense of accomplishment which bolsters their will to stay sober.
At Fort Worth Recovery, our counselors can help you build the tools you will need to get and stay sober. You are strong. You’ve made it this far, take that next step. We can help. Call us today at 844.332.1807.