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How Can I Cope With Drug Cravings?

Cravings are a normal part of recovery from drug abuse. According to the Partnership to End Addiction, addiction is a disease “that involves compulsive use of one or more substances despite serious health and social consequences.” The compulsive need to use drugs doesn’t just disappear overnight. As you journey through recovery, cravings for your drug of choice will arise. However, there are many ways you can deal with these cravings to prevent relapse.

5 Ways to Cope With Drug Cravings

SMART Recovery outlines five ways to deal with drug cravings. Using the acronym DEADS, you can learn to combat drug cravings as they arise.

#1. Delay Cravings

Drug cravings typically pass within ten to 15 minutes. However, if you engage with the idea of cravings, the thoughts can continue. Cravings usually come when exposed to triggers, both physical and emotional.

To delay drug cravings, you must remove the trigger from your environment. This may mean physically leaving a party or walking away from a family member who is spiking your emotions. When you do this, the drug craving can run its course and disappear.

#2. Escape Drug Cravings

If you are in an environment that is triggering cravings, you must escape that environment. For example, you may be at a company party where coworkers are drinking. This may cause cravings to arise. To allow the craving to pass, you must leave this environment.

#3. Accept the Craving

Drug cravings are a normal part of recovery. You cannot expect to engage in substance abuse for an extended period and have all urges disappear overnight. When you accept this fact, you learn to live with discomfort. Remind yourself that the craving will pass. Just because you are in recovery doesn’t mean that everything will go right all the time. When you practice acceptance and living in discomfort, you continue to grow.

#4. Dispute Drug Cravings

Developing a counterstatement to your drug cravings can help you get through them. This can look like “playing the tape through.” While drug use may sound good in the moment, use a counterstatement like, “When I use drugs, I lose relationships with my loved ones,” or, “Drugs led me down a path where I eventually lost my job. Engaging one time can lead me down that path again.”

#5. Substitute the Craving

Distraction, or substitution, can help you keep your mind off drug cravings. Instead of dwelling on the thought, find a fun or beneficial activity to engage in. For example, if you like art, you can paint to distract yourself. You might also take a walk or exercise. Anything healthy you can do rather than engage with substances will eventually teach your brain that that is the solution to hard things, not drugs or alcohol.

Drug cravings are a normal part of recovery. Finding ways to cope with cravings can help the thoughts pass and prevent relapse. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, The Guest House is here to help. Our facility, located in Silver Springs, Florida, provides premier-quality treatment to those struggling with substance addiction, trauma, behavioral addiction, and mental health disorders. Our program can help you find activities that can help you cope with drug cravings. To learn more about our program, call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800.