14 Things You Can Do When You Have a Craving During Recovery
How many drug cravings do you have a day? I’ve known recovering addicts who struggle anywhere from a few times a week to dozens of times a day. No matter how often you crave your substance of choice, you don’t have to give in. Try 14 things that help you stay clean and recover successfully.
1. Realize That Cravings are Normal
I know you’re tempted to beat yourself up and feel ashamed or guilty because you crave drugs, but don’t. Cravings are normal. Accept that, and you’re better able to handle and resist them in a logical way instead of giving up in defeat.
2. Exercise Your Body
Cravings for drugs aren’t purely physical. You can resist them, though, when you exercise. Jog, dance, skate, or bike as you move your body and do something productive instead of doing drugs.
3. Change the Scenery
Obviously, you can’t walk away from the craving in your brain and body. However, a change of scenery goes a long way toward helping you fight the craving you feel. So, get up and go to your backyard garden, friend’s house or the mall.
4. Call Your Therapist
Whether you’re 10 days or 10 years into recovery, stay in touch with a professional who understands you and addiction’s power.
5. Lean on Friends
Call a trusted and sober friend, neighbor or sibling, and head to a museum, concert or coffee shop. Spending time out with friends stops you from thinking about your substance of choice and reminds you to enjoy your clean life.
When a craving hits, your mind becomes obsessed with your drug of choice. Meditations restore your peace, calm, and resistance.
7. Remember Why You Don’t Use
In the midst of an intense craving, you don’t think about why you gave up drugs. That’s why you need to write a list before a craving hits. It includes all your reasons for not using, like living for your kids, keeping your job, and staying healthy. Remembering why you don’t use can be a powerful way to resist your cravings.
8. Practice a Hobby
If you like to paint, bowl, or carve, your hobby can save your life. Pick up your tools when you feel a craving, and fill yourself with an activity that fulfills and distracts you.
9. Help Someone Else
During a craving, you remove your focus from you when you help others. Visit a nursing home, walk a dog, or find another volunteer position that’s an outlet for your energy and a distraction from using.
10. Talk Through the Craving
Retreating when you want drugs is easier than opening up, but I encourage you to talk when cravings hit. Call a supportive friend, text your sponsor, or write a blog post and talk through the craving.
11. Go To a Support Meeting
Whether you attend a 12-step meeting or visit an AA or NA chat room, surround yourself with people who encourage you to stay clean.
12. Take One Moment at a Time
While I know you want to stay clean for the rest of your life, you can’t focus on that goal when you’re in the midst of a craving. Take one moment at a time, stay sober for the next minute, and you’ll find the success you want.
13. Escape Into a Movie or a Book
From comedy to mystery, a movie or book distracts you from the cravings. Have a few drug-free movies and books on hand to help you stay clean.
14. Eat a Healthy Snack
Keep your mouth occupied and you’re less likely to use. I know it seems simplistic to say that celery, apples, or salad can help you stay clean, but I’ve seen many addicts use this trick to get through cravings.
No matter what you try, drug cravings will strike. How you handle them determines if you achieve sobriety or not. So, which of these 14 tips will you try today?