Ways to Handle a Drug or Alcohol Craving

Ways to Handle a Drug or Alcohol Craving

Managing cravings is a significant challenge during the recovery process. The intense urges can feel overwhelming and sudden. However, it's important to remember that cravings can be managed. Developing effective strategies for handling cravings is crucial for a successful recovery. Below are some tactics for addressing cravings as they occur.

Accept It

When a craving arises, the first step is to acknowledge that cravings are common and unavoidable. Every individual in strong recovery has encountered cravings and likely continues to do so occasionally. Experiencing a craving does not indicate wrongdoing, failure, or an inevitable relapse; it is simply a regular part of the process. After being accustomed to using an addictive substance daily, possibly for an extended period, it is expected to feel the temptation to use it again occasionally. However, attempting to suppress or dismiss the urge will only intensify it. Embrace the fact that you are facing a craving and avoid feeling guilty about it but seek ways to address it.

Distract Yourself

Cravings are temporary and usually fade very quickly unless you focus on them. To avoid dwelling on a craving, engage in activities that demand your full concentration, such as working, reading, playing a video game, taking a walk, chatting with friends, or any other absorbing task. By redirecting your attention, you can effectively overcome the craving without struggling to suppress it.

Run Away

If a craving persists, there may be a triggering situation keeping it alive, such as being in a place that serves alcohol, being with someone you used to drink with, or being around someone who stresses you out. Leaving the situation is often the best course of action. For example, if you're in the grocery store struggling to pass the liquor aisle, consider leaving. It's important to understand your triggers to avoid and recognize them. Even if you're unsure why the craving persists, a change of setting may help resolve the issue.

Examine Your Thinking

Our thoughts can often heighten cravings unnecessarily. When a craving arises, you might start thinking, "Oh no, a craving! This is terrible! I'll never resist it!" This only adds to the stress of the craving and intensifies it. Instead, acknowledge it, as mentioned earlier, and observe your thoughts. Remind yourself that cravings come and go, and you'll be okay in a few minutes. It's also possible that a craving has emerged in response to stress unrelated to substance use. Perhaps you're upset with someone or feeling overwhelmed at work. Notice your thoughts about these situations. Are you thinking that someone shouldn't have treated you a certain way? Are you making your work situation out to be worse than it is? Recognizing and challenging cognitive distortions can reduce your stress and lessen the intensity of cravings.

Get Some Exercise

Engaging in physical activity is a highly effective method for managing cravings. It serves as a powerful distraction, particularly when the activity involves skill or social interaction, such as participating in a team sport. Additionally, exercise diminishes anxiety, enhances mood, and notably, bolsters emotional control and willpower. These advantages prove particularly valuable when faced with cravings. Simply taking a walk in your local area can assist in dispelling a craving, as within 20 minutes, it can be entirely forgotten.

Practice Mindfulness

When you feel a craving, one method to manage it is by mindfully examining it. Usually, people perceive a craving as a directive emanating from a subconscious level. It's like an inner voice shouting "DRINK!" Automatically, you may either succumb to it or try to resist and dismiss it.

However, you can take a step back and observe the craving. What sensations does it provoke? Where in your body do you sense it? In your chest? Your stomach? Step back and analyze the sensation without making judgments or feeling obligated to act. Does it shift or evolve? As the sensation begins to diminish, release it. This becomes more effortless with daily mindfulness meditation practice. By regularly observing thoughts and sensations without becoming entangled in them, you'll discover it's simpler to endure even strong cravings.

Play The Tape

To combat cravings, consider employing the "play the tape" technique. When you experience cravings, your mind may distort reality, leading you to romanticize past substance use and entertain thoughts like "I've been clean for a while, one time won't hurt." To combat these temptations, mentally fast-forward and vividly envision the aftermath of giving in to the craving - the disappointment, family letdown, relapse, and restarting recovery. Revisit the reasons behind your sobriety to counter the allure of using again.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. At Transformations by the Gulf, we offer a safe and nurturing space to navigate negative emotions and practice coping skills that will support you in your recovery journey. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at (727)498-6498.

Are you struggling with addiction and want to learn more? Visit Psychology Today or check out or page on addiction treatments.

 


What are Coping Skills?

What are ‘Coping Skills’ and How to Use Them

Life is filled with challenging circumstances that are beyond our control. However, we do have the ability to manage our reactions to these challenges. Enhancing our coping mechanisms is crucial for our mental well-being, as it allows us to distance ourselves from our initial responses and create room for a more effective approach.

For instance, if you're feeling frustrated at work, your initial response might be to resign or send several angry emails. This might provide temporary relief, but it won't benefit you in the future. You might find yourself questioning your actions once the situation calms down. A more effective approach would be to use coping strategies to ease or divert your frustration, allowing you to respond thoughtfully rather than impulsively.

Unhealthy Coping Skills

For instance, if you're feeling frustrated at work, your initial response might be to resign or send several angry emails. This might provide temporary relief, but it won't benefit you in the future. You might find yourself questioning your actions once the situation calms down. A more effective approach would be to use coping strategies to ease or divert your frustration, allowing you to respond thoughtfully rather than impulsively.
The coping mechanisms you're using aren't effective because they don't genuinely improve our well-being. For instance, alcohol is a depressant that can leave you feeling even worse after trying to numb your issues with it. This can also lead to dependence. Overall, adopting healthy coping habits will bring clarity, while unhealthy ones will result in more significant challenges. If you find yourself relying on unhealthy strategies, seeking guidance from a therapist to recognize triggers and swap harmful behaviors for more positive alternatives can be beneficial.

The Two Types of Healthy Coping Skills

According to the Centre for Studies on Human Stress, healthy coping skills are either problem-focused or emotion-focused.

Problem-focused coping skills

Problem-focused activities involve identifying practical solutions to reduce or resolve the source of stress. In a professional setting, this could entail direct communication with your manager, setting boundaries for time management, or seeking alternative job opportunities. Individuals who enjoy creating to-do lists and completing tasks may gravitate towards problem-focused coping skills.

When using this coping style, it's important to keep in mind that taking small steps is acceptable. It's crucial to maintain a balance between making progress and being kind to yourself. You may not be able to solve everything immediately, but identifying a few things that can significantly improve your stress levels is possible. The positive aspect is that you're not ignoring the problem, but rather taking steps to address it. Certain issues have clear solutions, and any action taken to move closer to our objectives will help reduce stress.

Emotion-focused coping

Coping techniques that focus on managing emotions can be helpful in handling feelings related to a situation, rather than the event itself. There may not be a specific issue to address, or it might be a one-time occurrence that cannot be avoided. In such instances, it is important to comfort or stabilize your emotions through activities that work well for you, such as exercise, spending time with pets, taking a relaxing bath, being in nature, or watching a movie. At times, we may not be ready to confront a situation and require more relaxation time. Emotion-focused coping skills aim to nurture and restore, providing a recharge for the next phase.

Ensure that you are nurturing, rather than suppressing, your emotions by accurately identifying your feelings. If you're uncertain about your emotions, consider using a feeling wheel. This approach aims to acknowledge and sit with your emotions instead of pushing them away. Show kindness to your emotions and refrain from self-criticism. Trust that your feelings will diminish over time. Mindfulness-based meditation can effectively help manage stress related to emotions.

The Difference Between Coping Skills and Self-Care

Coping skills are techniques or activities employed during stressful situations. They are methods utilized to acquire additional energy or time. Conversely, self-care is an activity practiced irrespective of stress levels.

Self-care is recommended by experts as a proactive approach that can reduce the necessity for coping mechanisms later on. This is because tending to your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well-being can lessen severe distress and burnout that necessitate coping strategies. When we are depleted, we become more susceptible to stress and less able to handle challenging situations.

There are moments when life presents challenges, requiring the application of healthy coping mechanisms to navigate through difficult times. Periodically, we all need to take a break, employ our coping strategies, and then proceed with life when we feel prepared.

Seeking Treatment with Transformations by the Gulf?

If you or a loved one needs treatment and rehabilitation for substance use, Transformations by the Gulf can help. Find out more information from Psychology Today!
Transformations by the Gulf offers individualistic and holistic recovery services. We designed our inpatient and outpatient programs to treat individuals based on biological, psychological, familial and social needs.

Our residential homes and treatment facilities are near the beach and offer a comfortable setting for rehabilitation. If you or a loved one needs help, contact Transformations By The Gulf to learn more about our recovery services.

If you are ready to start planning your treatment process, give us a call. (727)498-6498

Admissions

See Our Facility!

What a Day is Like in Our Treatment Facility.

What Should I Bring?

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Why Transformations by the Gulf?

 


man smoking rolled marijuana

Cannabis Use Disorder in Florida

Cannabis Use Disorder in Florida

According to the CDC some people who use cannabis will develop a cannabis use disorder or marijuana use disorder, meaning that they are not able to stop using despite it causing health and social problems in their lives. One study has estimated that approximately 3 out of 10 people who use cannabis have developed a cannabis use disorder. The risk of developing a cannabis use disorder is greater in people who start using cannabis during youth or adolescence and who use cannabis more frequently. Cannabis Use Disorder in Florida is a growing concern.

Signs of Cannabis Use Disorder:

  • Using more cannabis than intended.
  • Trying to quit but not being able too.
  • Spending a lot of time using cannabis
  • Craving cannabis
  • Using cannabis even though it causes problems at home, school, or work.
  • Continuing to use cannabis despite social or relationship problems.
  • Giving up important activities with friends and family in favor of using cannabis.
  • Using cannabis in high-risk situations, like driving a car.
  • Continuing to use cannabis despite physical or psychological problems.
  • Needing to use more cannabis to get the same high.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping cannabis use.

People with a cannabis use disorder may also be at a higher risk of other negative consequences, such as problems with memory, attention, and learning.

Some people who have cannabis use disorder may need to use more and more cannabis or greater concentrations of cannabis over time to experience a "high." The greater the amount of THC or "tetrahydrocannabinol" in cannabis, the stronger the effects the cannabis may have on the brain. Over the past few years, the amount of THC in cannabis products has increased heavily.

Do You Need Cannabis Rehab in Florida?

Cannabis addiction can have a stronghold on your life. The right Cannabis rehab program can be your saving grace. At Transformations by the Gulf, we aim to make treatment as easy, comfortable and effective as possible. Through a holistic approach, we help you regain your life.

Our facilities are situated near St. Pete Beach, which means your recovery takes place in a serene location that fosters a natural sense of well-being. To learn more about cannabis treatment for yourself or a loved one, reach out today.

Seeking Treatment with Transformations by the Gulf?

If you or a loved one needs treatment and rehabilitation for substance use, Transformations by the Gulf can help.
Transformations by the Gulf offers individualistic and holistic recovery services. We designed our inpatient and outpatient programs to treat individuals based on biological, psychological, familial and social needs.

Our residential homes and treatment facilities are near the beach and offer a comfortable setting for rehabilitation. If you or a loved one needs help, contact Transformations By The Gulf to learn more about our recovery services.

If you are ready to start planning your treatment process, give us a call. (727)498-6498

Admissions

See Our Facility!

What a Day is Like in Our Treatment Facility.

What Should I Bring?

What to Expect?

Why Transformations by the Gulf?