It cannot be emphasized enough that you will inevitably have cravings for your substance of choice in early sobriety. This has nothing to do with weakness on your part; your mind and body have been programmed by your previously consistent drug use to crave the substance as part of homeostatic maintenance. Knowing that cravings will eventually enter your mind, you should be proactive and have a plan in place to minimize your potential to act on these periods of strong desire to use. Let’s look at some ways to effectively mitigate the impact cravings can have on your life in early sobriety.
The best way to avoid succumbing to the temptation cravings instigate is by ensuring you will never find yourself in a situation where you are alone with no one to talk to when the craving strikes. This is one reason why it is strongly recommended you opt for sober living in the first months of your recovery. Sober living comes with a built in support network of like-minded peers who are in a similar stage of recover as yourself, and are therefore a great resource to use when you need to talk about what you are going through. Your sponsor should be a go to contact in times of crisis as well. Therefore, you should work to build a strong network of supports in your chosen twelve step fellowship in order to have people to lean on during times when a craving strikes.
Another great way to get through a craving is through the use of meditation. Cravings tend to come upon us in times of stress or mental unrest, and meditation is a way to combat the extra “noise” in your mind which is causing the instability. As with anything, you will likely not be very good at meditation the first few weeks you practice it, so it is best to start now! That way you are a bit better versed in the art of meditation so it will have a greater effect when a craving strikes and you really need it. Meditation is different for everyone, so tweak your practice of this mental wellness tool until it is working right for you!
Cravings are just another fact of life for those of us in early recovery. You should not think of cravings in terms of “if” but in terms of “when”, and as such it is important to build a defense against these times of vulnerability in your sobriety. Two key components to this defense are unquestionably your sober support network and your practice of meditation. If you have put in the work and developed both of these facets of your recovery program, they will always be within arm’s reach whenever a craving should strike. The best recovery tool is only beneficial if you use it in times of crisis, so get in the habit of reaching out to others and/or meditating in times of increased stress or anxiety. The more you flex those recovery muscles on a regular basis, the more prepared you will be to face down any cravings that should arise in your life and succeed in remaining sober!