Apr 06, 2008
Since craving is a normal and natural symptom of addiction that follows the addict into recovery, it is important for addicts to learn how to deal with craving in recovery. This is done by learning and practicing a number of steps.
1. Recognize Craving: Addicts must learn how to recognize a craving while it is happening. Many addicts fail to identify mild cravings as problematic and wait until they are in a full blown, severe craving before taking action.
2. Accept Craving As Normal: Many people experience a craving, panic, and believe there is something wrong with their recovery or that they are condemned to return to cocaine use. This is not true.
3. Go Somewhere Else: The craving was probably activated by an environmental trigger, so get out of the setting you're in and get into an environment that supports sobriety.
4. Talk It Through: If you talk it through, you don't have to act it out. Addicts need to talk about their cravings as soon as they occur to discharge the urge to use.
5. Aerobic Exercise: This stimulates brain chemistry and reduces the physiology of craving.
6. Eat A Healthy Meal: Eat a healthy meals in order to nourish the brain. Consume some lean fish or meat for protein and eat some whole wheat bread or baked, potatoes or brown rice for complex carbohydrates. It also helps to take some vitamins and amino acids to help stabilize brain chemistry imbalances.
7. Meditation And Relaxation: Cravings are worse when a person is under high stress. The more a person can relax, the lower the intensity of the craving.
8. Distraction: divert attention from the craving by engaging in other activities that productively distract the person from their feelings.
9. Remember Cravings Are Time-limited: The ninth step is to remember that most craving is time limited to two or three hours. If you can use the previous eight steps to get yourself fatigued enough to fall asleep, most people wake up and the craving is gone.
It is possible to understand craving and to learn how to manage craving without returning to drug use. A model that allows people to identify set-up behaviors, trigger events, and the cycle of craving itself, and intervening upon this process has proven effective in reducing relapse among addicts.