Sugar as a Tool to Combat Cravings in Early Sobriety

For those in the early stages of their sobriety, either still in residential treatment or having recently transitioned to the next stage of their recovery, cravings are a fact of life. Our bodies and minds are still unaccustomed to our new normal of sobriety, and we are averse to change on a physiological level just as much as we are on a psychological level. While continued therapy and MAT programs are an excellent first choice for those looking to stave off the threat cravings pose to their sobriety, these options may not be available to you depending on your circumstances. What, then, can you do to lessen the intensity of cravings when they strike?

One unconventional tool to quell cravings has been around for decades: sugar. Sugar operates on the same receptors in your brain that cocaine and opiates do, triggering a release of endorphins which, while less intense than that experienced after using hard drugs, is often enough to diminish or eliminate any cravings you encounter in early sobriety. It may be beneficial for you to keep your favorite sugary snack on hand for when cravings strike, especially in early recovery when your sobriety is less established and still fragile.

On the other hand, sugar itself is an addictive substance which can do significant damage to our health. We do not seek to replace one drug of choice with another in sobriety, and as such you should avoid letting your sugar consumption balloon into a daily habit. The consequences of a diet high in sugar are reflected in the average American’s health today - obesity rates are high, diabetes affects over one third of our national population, and heart disease continues to plague our citizens. When it comes to sugar, much like most other things in life, moderation is key. While it is acceptable to use sugar to suppress cravings for your drug of choice in early recovery, do so sparingly and work on other healthy coping skills to practice as a means to combat cravings in your life.

Cravings are one of the largest threats to our sobriety when we are starting on our recovery journey. Due to the substantial risk they pose, it is a good idea to utilize any available tool when combating cravings. Enrollment in an aftercare program, better yet one which offers a MAT program, is the best option for those worried about cravings. If a MAT program is not an available option for you, keeping some sugary snacks handy is one useful trick you can use to stave off cravings when they crop up. At Evolutions, one of our goals for our clients is to impart healthy coping skills so they are equipped to defend their sobriety upon completing residential treatment. Hopefully your treatment center of choice has similarly armed you with coping skills prior to your completing their program; if you feel you could benefit from some additional treatment for your substance abuse disorder, call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 and inquire as to outpatient treatment options available to you.


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit