Managing your cravings can mean that you’ll be successful in your recovery. No matter what trigger you’ll be facing after your addiction treatment, the key is to control how you respond to those triggers.
Here are three strategies for fighting cravings:
Find Healthy Distractions and New Hobbies
Following your addiction treatment, you will have to learn as many coping mechanisms and tools that can protect your abstinence goals. Distraction can be used as a way to redirect your attention to something else that is more positive to your newly sober lifestyle.
Here are some healthy forms of distraction:
- Visit a new place. Drive, take a walk or ride a bike and explore the outdoors. Oftentimes certain locations or environments can trigger a drug craving, so expanding your daily life to different locations, and settings, is a good alternative to relapse.
- Indulge in some activity that is fun and enjoyable. Post addiction, it is time to find new ways to enjoy life and have clean fun to take the triggers away. When cravings strike, why not read some pocket books, sing, play your favorite video game or watch a movie? Think of things that you missed while you’re in the rehab for your addiction treatment. It’s time to try these things to keep boredom and loneliness at bay.
- Reach out to someone who supports your recovery. Having a support group, family and friends, who support your recovery can help you during those difficult times that you find it hard to cope up. They are there to remind you about your real sobriety goals in recovery. Sometimes rejoining a group that is still using drugs or alcohol can be too difficult to cope with. In those cases it may be best to seek out new sober friends.
Battle Triggering Thoughts and Emotions.
If you’re not careful, troubling thoughts from your old life can creep into your head and cause drug cravings.
For example, if you cross paths with an old friend who is still using, they might invite you out to a party. Suddenly you would find yourself exposed to all of your old triggers, and a greater pull to lean back into that party mode. Seeing an old friend and hearing about the promise of an event you used to have fun at can cause you to settle into old thought patterns – thinking about how parties are fun, drugs can be casually used, the good feelings associated with the high, while forgetting all the work that has been put into getting clean.
To dispute these thoughts and emotions, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What resources do I have to fight these triggers?
- What will happen to me if I give in to this trigger?
- What positive things can I do to correct the situation?
- How will I feel after attending this party, if I relapse?
- Can I see my friend in a safer setting, away from the party scene?
- How can I find ways to enjoy hanging out with old friends without drugs or alcohol?
Use Creative Imagery.
This important tool used in addiction treatment is very effective in fighting the cravings every time they strike.
Think of people that you were using heroin or other drugs with; the venues you hang out, where you use drugs; and your self-destructive behavior. Replace all these thoughts with positive ones.
Rather, think of sober people, who support your recovery such as family, friends, peers, doctors and your therapist. Think of the rehab, where you had treatment for heroin addiction. You may also replace that with your dream vacation spot. You may also think of healthy activities that you need to do after your addiction treatment.
The most important part of starting a life in recovery is finding new, healthier ways to expel energy. Find activities, people, and places that fulfill you without the need for substance use. If you find you are battling other mental health disorders in recovery, as many former addicts are, make sure you reach out to your physician for treatment options. It is now important to treat your body as a whole, and work on making yourself healthier, and stronger, every day.