Even individuals who have been sober for years and years will experience occasional cravings. Believe it or not, cravings are an expected part of recovery. The trick is nipping them in the bud before they trigger a relapse. Relapse prevention is a crucial component of every recovery program, and relapse prevention begins as early as medical detox. At Recreate Life Counseling, we put a huge emphasis on instilling crucial life skills and coping skills in each and every one of our clients; skills that are geared towards preventing relapse and helping them maintain solid sobriety for years to come.
If you are in early recovery and you experience a drug craving from time to time, know that there is nothing “wrong” with you. What you’re experiencing is normal and expected. However, it is crucial that as soon as you experience a craving, you employ a healthy coping skill to combat that craving. Take a look at the following healthy coping skills for drug cravings, and please feel free to reach out to Recreate Life Counseling at any time if you need additional help.
Healthy Coping Skills for Recovering Men and Women
- Identify and avoid your personal relapse triggers. During inpatient treatment, you and your individual therapist will work together to identify potential relapse triggers. Your relapse prevention plan could include avoiding people, places, and things that make you feel like drinking or using.
- Keep yourself busy with a wide variety of healthy behaviors. One of the best coping mechanisms you can employ, and one of the best defenses against relapse, is keeping yourself busy with a variety of other activities. Try to settle on some new hobbies, and keep yourself occupied! Go on a hike or a long walk on the beach, join an intramural sports team, or take a cooking class. Have fun discovering what it is you love to do.
- Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Physical, mental, and emotional health are all intertwined, and they are all equally as important. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising on a daily basis, and doing what you need to do to take care of your mental and emotional health. Practice self-care.
- Call someone you trust. If you are feeling a little shaky, call sober support (like your sponsor) or even your therapist. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – even the strongest, most stable men and women need help on occasion.
- Play the tape through and consider the consequences. If you start to feel triggered and you are afraid you might pick up a drink or a drug, consider what will actually happen. What has happened before? Are you able to drink one glass of wine and move on with your life? Are you able to take one single hit of marijuana and go about your business? If you are in recovery, the answer is inevitable “no.” Be honest with yourself. What will actually happen?
- Head to a 12 step meeting. Don’t just head to a 12 step meeting – share in that meeting. Then, stick around afterward and talk to people who have been exactly where you are now, and who have successfully come out the other side unscathed.
- Practice meditation and/or pray. Bolstering your spiritual connection is a great way to stay sober. You can meditate in a variety of different ways – you don’t need to sit cross-legged with your eyes closed. Take a long walk or sit by the water and stare at the stars. Ask for guidance, strength, and direction. And remember – you will get through this. You have been through much, much worse.
Recreate Life Counseling and Relapse Prevention
At Recreate Life Counseling, we prioritize the development of relapse prevention skills. We understand that early recovery can be a somewhat tumultuous time, but with the right coping mechanisms in place, anyone is capable of achieving long-term recovery.