You feel like you’re at the end of the road. You’re tired, broke, and honestly annoyed at life. You’ve been using the same drug over and over again, and finally, want to stop. You want the freedom during the day to do whatever you want instead of thinking about how you’ll score more drugs. Congratulations, you’re ready to get sober.
During your journey in sobriety, you may experience cravings from time to time. This is a common part of recovery so don’t be scared if you feel one. Cravings are completely manageable with the right tools and coping skills.
What are Drug Cravings?
A craving is the term used to describe the urge to use alcohol or drugs once someone is sober. For certain people, the most severe cravings take place during the detox process. During detox, addicts will go through withdrawals. The symptoms of withdrawal will vary slightly from person to person as addiction impacts everyone differently, but common symptoms include fevers, shaking, chills, emotional lability, and discomfort. The urge to use drugs or alcohol to make these symptoms go away is a craving.
Once you’ve detoxed, the withdrawal symptoms are not going to be as severe but you are still at risk to feel the urge to use drugs or drink alcohol from time to time. Withdrawals will go away after the toxins leave your body but you can still experience cravings. Just because you feel a craving doesn’t mean you won’t stay sober, it’s a matter of how you react to the craving.
How to Handle a Craving
If you feel a craving coming on, there are a few steps you can take to combat the craving. Taking the proper steps will help keep you sober.
- Be aware: Before you can shake off a craving, you’ll have to know you’re experiencing one. Cravings can feel different for everyone but some common craving symptoms are irritability, feeling like you have an imaginary itch you can’t scratch, and frequent thoughts of using drugs or alcohol. If you experience these feelings it’s important to check in with yourself and identify the root of them. Maybe you haven’t attended a 12-step meeting all week and now it’s Friday, or maybe you’ve been around friends lately who drink and do drugs. After you identify the root cause, you’ll realize you’re having a craving.
- Ways to cope: Once the feeling is recognized, the next step is to find a way to cope. How you cope with cravings is totally up to you. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. Some people find it helpful to call a friend or sober companion and talk about the feeling. Other people find it helpful to meditate. Shifting your focus to something else like exercising or writing can be helpful as well. Just be careful to not distract yourself too much from the feeling because you may end up brushing it under the rug, instead of dealing with it.
- Seek support: One of the most effective ways to handle a craving is by seeking support from others. A huge component of drug and alcohol treatment is various types of therapies. If you’ve completed any form of treatment, you probably engaged in group therapy, individual therapy, and support groups types of therapy. Therapy and support groups shouldn’t just be isolated to treatment as recovery is a lifelong battle. Completing a comprehensive aftercare program post-treatment will help immensely with cravings.
Let Us Help!
At Soba Recovery, we are one of the top drug and alcohol treatment programs based in the San Antonio, TX and Mesa, AZ regions. Our detox and inpatient treatment programs help clients overcome addiction and take back control of their lives. Our premier luxury program that combines traditional addiction treatment with modern therapies to help our participants in overcoming substance abuse for good. If you are interested in finding out more about how our team can help you overcome addiction, please contact us!