Addiction to alcohol or drugs is an illness that occurs gradually. This progressive illness does not happen overnight, so it makes sense that it would take time to overcome such an illness. Those who are in recovery from addiction will already know that this is a long process, a process that requires patience and continued effort. You must learn how to live without alcohol or drugs, and this does not happen instantaneously. However, with the help of fully qualified professionals, you could go on to live a full and healthy life free from substance abuse.
Dealing with Cravings
It is important to remember that cravings for alcohol or drugs can occur even if you have been in recovery for some time. They can occur without notice and can be triggered by something seemingly innocent. Nevertheless, unless you deal with cravings as soon as they appear, you could find yourself in the grips of addiction once more.
Cravings do occur less frequently as you progress with your recovery, but they may never disappear altogether. You will always have to be alert to the dangers of these powerful feelings and be ready to tackle them as soon as they appear. Below are a few examples of what to do should you feel a strong desire to drink or take drugs again.
- Call someone â€“ You should have a list of individuals that you can talk to if the need arises; this could include your sponsor, counsellor, therapist, a close friend, or family member. It may even be someone else from your fellowship meeting who will understand what you are going through and who can remind you about why you wanted to get sober in the first place. Even if you cannot reach the people on your list, the process of trying to make contact with each individual could be enough to ensure the craving passes without you succumbing to it.
- Go to a meeting â€“ If there is a fellowship meeting near you, go to it as soon as possible. If not, look for a meeting online where you can talk to someone about your feelings.
- Remove yourself from the trigger â€“ It may be the case that it is pretty obvious what has caused the cravings. Did you hear a specific song on the radio that reminded you of when you used to drink with friends? Did you spill some sugar on the worktop and it reminded you of a line of cocaine? If the trigger is obvious, remove yourself from it immediately.
- Distract yourself â€“ If you are feeling strong cravings, it is a good idea to find something to do that will distract you from the urge to drink or take drugs. It could be going for a walk with the dog, going to the gym to workout, reading a book, or watching a movie. This should be enough to let the craving pass.
- Meditate â€“ You have probably learned about the benefits of meditation and relaxation techniques while in recovery, so you can use these techniques to help you overcome the cravings you are feeling.
- Think about why you got sober â€“ There is a very good reason you decided to get sober in the first place; you may have many reasons. Try to relax and think about why you wanted to get clean and remind yourself of all the benefits of being clean. Reflect on how much your health has and will improve by staying clean, and remember that alcohol and drugs are toxic substances that can be fatal when abused. Think about the bad old days when you were affected by addiction and ask yourself if you really want to go back to that life again.