UNION, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / June 28, 2018 / If you've ever suffered from any kind of addiction, then you know what it is like to have cravings. It's an overwhelming feeling of need that feels like it can only be satisfied by going back to your addiction. If you do go back, you've relapsed. Becoming aware of cravings and learning how to manage them is one of the biggest elements in relapse prevention.
Having cravings in recovery is normal. You can expect to have fairly intense cravings for your drug of choice as you get started in your recovery process. Up until the point when you stop using, drugs or alcohol are your way of coping with anxiety, stress, and all of life's demands. It's only natural that you will feel the need to have a coping mechanism when you get clean. However, in order to avoid relapse, you have to learn how to deal with cravings without going back to using. The goal isn't to eliminate the cravings, instead, it is to recognize when the craving cycle begins and intervene before you pick up drugs or alcohol to cope.
The Craving Cycle
The types of cravings and how intense they are depends on the person, but there are some common patterns that most people in recovery share. Typically, the craving cycle progresses in this manner:
Trigger response- Something – a thought, person, event or thing – triggers an emotion or thought that makes you want to cope in your old addictive way. It could be a sound, smell, music that you listened to while using, or something as simple as driving by a bar you used to frequent. This sets the cycle in motion.
Obsessive thinking- Once you have become in touch with your old pattern of addictive behavior, your thoughts will lock onto the familiar habits. It becomes exceedingly difficult to get away from those thoughts. You may start to rationalize using again in your head, or start weighing the pros and cons. The more you consider it, the stronger the urge to use becomes.
Intense craving- This is when the full-blown craving feeling occurs. It's often both emotional and physical. You feel a compulsive need to use or drink and can't think of anything else. In a physical sense, you may start feeling a stress response like a pounding heart, sweating, and shortness of breath. When you get to this point, the pull toward using is extremely strong and it's very hard to resist using.
Though the craving cycle can be very powerful, it isn't out of your control. While you can't always control a craving from happening, you do have the power to not act on it. The important thing to learn is that you need to identify when you are in the trigger phase of the craving cycle. Once you learn to do that, you will be able to avoid progression in the cycle and prevent relapse. When you successfully intervene on cravings, you will feel more in control, and you will continue to grow and heal in your recovery.
Ways to Resist Cravings
The following are five suggestions that may help you resist cravings and avoid relapse:
Cravings can be intense, and they can pop up when you least expect them, but when you have the tools to deal with them, you can intervene and continue on the path of recovery. The good news is the intensity of craving does lessen over time. While it may never go away completely for some people in recovery, it does get better. At Serenity At Summit, we can help you learn to cope with cravings effectively to help you avoid relapse. If you are struggling with addiction or chronic relapse, contact us today and get the help you need.
Serenity At Summit
SOURCE: Summit Behavioral Health via Submit Press Release 123