There’s More Than One Way To Tame An Urge
Getting through withdrawal and early sobriety is tough; when you eventually do, you may think the hardest part is over. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Recovery is an on-going process, so life will continue to test you with situations to overcome. You have to learn to live sober- one day at a time, which is not as easy as it sounds.
Come to think of it, if you only had to go through detox and in-house treatment to overcome your addiction, it would be great. The day you leave will probably feel like graduation. You get into your car and drive into the sunset, happily ever after. But we all know life is not that easy.
Staying sober starts with admitting you were an addict or alcoholic who can’t be in a safety zone. You then develop the motivation to live life each day doing all you can to maintain your sobriety.
Taming Your Urge
During the course of your daily life, you will experience cravings from time to time. Especially triggers. You can’t run away from them unless you choose to live in isolation, which is dangerous too. A trigger is what sparks off an urge to indulge in your brain. It could be someone smoking or drinking, an empty room, the sight of a spoon or bong and so on.
It is normal to feel this way, but you must remain steadfast. Call a close friend or sponsor if you have to. The good news is your cravings and urges will decrease in frequency and strength with time. There are some effective coping strategies to help you handle your turf.
Learn To Resist Cravings
Most addicts give in easily to their cravings because they don’t actively fight back. They want it, so they get it. The response is automatic. As a former addict in recovery, practice DEADS the next time you feel a craving coming. Each letter stands for something.
Mental urges persist in your head for a period of time. Practice the delay approach; when you feel a craving coming, keep postponing the desire. Like a train, it will run its course. If you still feel it after 10 to 15 minutes, chances are you are still exposed to the trigger. Try changing your location.
Get far away from the trigger or source of urge. If possible, go for a run. Alcoholics will feel cravings when they are in a pub. The beer taps are triggers. It only makes sense to avoid pubs altogether. Likewise, any other substance.
Make room in your mind to accept your cravings as normal. Sometimes, fighting it increases the discomfort. When you accept it (without taking action), it too will pass eventually.
Invent your own ways to counter an urge as it comes. Some people develop a rational “Effective New Belief” such as mental exercises to help them knock off their irrational urges.
Learn to substitute your thoughts or urges with something more interesting or fun. Consider going for a walk or exercise. Performing physical activities can make your urges go away. Go to busy places and hang out; the idea is not to stay idle.
Keep trying your own self-thought strategies and communicate regularly with support groups. Don’t go through your sobriety alone.