Getting sober is hard, staying sober is easy, you just have to find what works for you. After so many years of the same behavioral patterns and using drugs and booze to deal with life, we have to find new and healthy ways to find joy out of life without blacking out or sticking a needle in our arms.
In early sobriety, we are most likely going to have drug cravings. It is completely normal as we are addicts and that is how our brain operates. So what can we do to fight off these cravings and to keep our sobriety intact?
Get Involved in a Fellowship
You will hear this at every meeting, those of us who stay in the middle of a 12 step program have a much lower chance of relapse. This is because we pick up the tools we need to stay sober along the way, we meet other people in the rooms who we can call for help, and we become accountable to those people and those rooms. The fellowships give us a network of people who are looking out for us and won’t judge us for our drug or alcohol cravings.
Find a Physical Outlet
We alcoholics and addicts sure can seem to have a lot going on upstairs. Our minds are flooded with fears, anxieties, rage, and depression. For most of us, we never had a healthy way to express these emotions, so we lashed out at others and subdue them with drugs and booze. Instead, try getting a gym membership, or taking up yoga. Hit up the basketball courts or take up kickboxing. Anything that we can do that takes our minds out of our heads will help relieve cravings.
Help A Newcomer
Regardless of how much time you have, you can always lend an ear to someone who is in pain. This is the entire purpose of our program, as it is the one surefire way for us to stay sober. If you have a lot going on and you don’t want to listen to someone else's problem, do it anyway. The abandonment of selfishness in helping will give you more gratitude to be sober than you’ve ever felt.
“Move a Muscle, Change a Thought”
Sometimes when we allow ourselves to sit, and physically SIT in a crappy mood and deal with drug cravings, all we have to do is simply get up and do something. ANYTHING besides using. Do some jumping jacks, wash the dishes, fold laundry, go for a walk, literally anything. When we sit inside our heads on the couch or in bed, we are allowing our addiction to keep us in a vulnerable state. When we get up and do something, we can take our minds off of our cravings for long enough to play the tape and realize it just ain’t worth it.
Phone a Friend
This is one of the vital aspects of being involved in a fellowship. When we have a network of sober supports, we have options. We can turn to people we trust when we are feeling froggy, and we can talk it out. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own thoughts that we need someone else to tell us how stupid we are being.
HIT A MEETING!
The point of meetings is for newcomers to hear the message of hope and recovery. Meetings are an automatic safe place for us in which we can surround ourselves with healthy and sober people who can help us. Just share that you're struggling, or even better, listen to someone else who is struggling, and lend them an ear after the meeting.
Meditate - Don't Self Medicate
As step 11 allows us to practice (and mind you, this step can always be worked out of order) prayer and meditation are tools that teach us to differentiate the true from the false. Stopping and centering ourselves, maybe outside in the yard or at the beach - clears our head and allows for a clearer message to come through. As the saying goes, prayer is talking to God, meditating is listening for the answer.
Play the Tape
Most of us learn this technique if we attend a treatment center - playing the tape through allows us to envision the potential outcomes of a relapse. For example, we can be pretty sure that if we are living in halfway - we will lose our house, we might lose our job and the trust of our family, and especially all of the hard work we have put in to get this far.
This is really for people who suffer from serious heroin and alcohol addiction, and have shown extreme difficulty in staying stopped. While it isn’t the first recommendation on the list, it has shown to be effective to reduce or completely stop drug cravings in users who absolutely need it. It MUST be administered by a doctor and the patient is required to receive counseling from a therapist, but the shot is non-habit forming and has shown great results for users.
“Going with the Craving”
This technique ties into a form of meditation or mindfulness. The idea is that, rather than getting a craving and acting on it, the person is supposed to sit in a quiet place and observe how their craving affects them. What they are thinking, where they feel it in their body, if the feeling moves around their body, how intense it is in one place or another. After a person really focuses and analyzes how their drug craving came on and is mindful of how their body and mind is affected by it, they usually find that the craving disappears on its own.
The long and short of the story is that drug cravings are going to be a natural thing in early sobriety. The process of being entirely relieved of the obsession can take a little while for many people. The only safeguard that has been proven for millions of people is active work in the program of AA. We have a program of action that truly works, but only if we don’t pick up.
Finding the Right Treatment Center For You
If you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to seek help, then call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today at 1-800-795-8527. We can help you find the right treatment you need in order to finally overcome your addiction and get you on the path to recovery. Our trained staff knows exactly what you are going through and can give you the tools you need in order to finally overcome your addiction. So don’t delay, call us today.