Monday, July 21, 2014

Cravings

Apple Martini Anyone?
 (Photo credit: Micky**)
Cravings are something many recovering alcoholics or addicts feel. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong.

Cravings can be triggered by an environment that reminds you of drinking or using. Some physical signs include feeling nervous, reminiscing of the past, and feeling like you need to drink or use. 

Cravings are a feeling, they don’t last forever. Some last a few minutes, others might be an hour, but the important thing to remember is that it will pass. Urges will become less frequent and intense when you learn how to ride through it.

A craving can sometimes feel so intense, you want to drink or use immediately. It can be dangerous in early recovery to relapse from a craving, because the feelings are so intense.

When a craving starts, recognize it for what it is, it’s just a feeling. You don’t need to feel shame or guilt about it. If you feel overwhelmed, make sure you have a trusted friend or sponsor you can call. Any person in AA with be able to talk to you and relate to what you’re feeling.

Think about the consequences of your drinking or using when you romantacize about relapsing. Think about all the reasons you became sober in the first place. It’s always a good idea to “think the drink through.”

If I were to think my drink through, it would start out fun, but the first drink would not be enough. I would drink more, blackout, do something embarrassing, and have to piece the previous night together. I would most likely have to apologize for something I said or did. I would lose all trust I had worked so hard to get back. I would feel terrible about myself the next day. I would have to introduce myself as a newcomer in AA again. It doesn’t seem like such a good idea when I think it through to the end.

It’s also a good idea to have a plan for relapse in place. When you start feeling cravings, and they don’t go away, or you start planning your next drink, it’s time to start from the beginning. Talk to your sponsor, and share in your meetings.

If you are struggling with addiction, there are many credible addiction treatment facilities that you can check into for help. They will teach you learn new coping skills, how to build self-esteem, and how to handle life without substances.

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