There is truly no way to prevent a thought from popping into your head – many of our initial thoughts are unwelcome and tend to show up to the party uninvited. Thoughts of using coupled with intense, sudden cravings are potentially the most unwelcome thoughts and feelings a recovering addict or alcoholic will experience. While there is no surefire way to prevent cravings from happening (aside from doing the work on a daily basis, which still may not be foolproof) there are many ways to smash cravings as soon as they materialize. The key is distraction. Distraction will quickly become your best friend where cravings are concerned, seeing as most cravings only last for around 15 minutes or less. Of course, environmental cues also play a huge role in triggering cravings, thus it is important to avoid precarious situations in the first place. If you are a newly sober alcoholic, in example, hanging out at the bar with old drinking friends will probably not help your case. An overall lifestyle change is key in smashing cravings, though even if you are consistently doing the next right thing and avoiding triggering situations the likelihood of the occasional desire may bring you to your knees. Here are several effective tactics you may want to employ the next time you get a hankering for some heroin or a yearning for some yayo.
Eliminate Cravings As Soon As They Start
- Exercise! 15-30 minutes of intense physical activity has been proven to greatly reduce cravings, in many cases working them right out of the system entirely. If you can’t seem to get the thought out of your head, slip on a pair of running shoes and jog around the block. Exercise is actually a fundamental part of recovery as a whole, seeing as physical and mental fitness undeniably coincide.
- Call a sober support. This is where the necessity of the fellowship comes into play. It is absolutely crucial that the cell phone of every recovering addict and alcoholic is stockpiled with the phone numbers of likeminded men and women. You will most likely come to find that an acquaintance will save your life more than once. Ask for numbers at meetings, start a collection of phone lists. If you ever feel the urge to pick up, call someone who has been there to talk you out of it.
- Help someone. The best way to get outside of yourself is to help someone else in need. Take someone without a car to the grocery store, or volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Even picking up trash on the beach will likely alleviate cravings to some degree. There is always someone worse off than you, and being of service is a surefire way to feel less involved in your own troubles and more important to the collective.
Remember, the root word in distraction is action! Take action and smash your cravings into next Tuesday! And then when next Tuesday rolls around, go ahead and do the same thing.