Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Crave Sign

14 Things You Can Do When You Have a Craving During Recovery

Posted by Myra Davis to Sobriety

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.

Crave Sign
Photo by: thebittenword.com (Flickr)

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.

6. Meditate

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?


  • Amanda

    Awesome tips! I believe knowing these things when a person is having a drug craving is extremely helpful, but also for the loved ones that are helping their friends or family through this time. You have to make sure that you have other outlets as drugs were the outlets for different situations. Finding habits and ways of life that allow a person to grow as an individual is the best way to overcome use a difficult time. It is like focusing on the good instead of focusing on the bad. Craving are normal absolutely, but have ways to cope and handle is what will make recovery a possibility.

  • Diane C

    These are great tips to give to someone who is experiencing cravings. They would work to make the person feel they are in charge of what is happening rather than going the effect of the cravings. It gives them good, healthy things to do that helps to take their attention off of the craving they are having and put that attention onto something productive that they can feel good about. There will always be these bouts of cravings that will come up from time to time depending on what is going on in the person’s life and having these steps they can take to overcome them is good.

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