Cravings are a reality of life for everyone, but for people who have struggled (or are currently struggling) with substance abuse, they can have devastating consequences.

Typically, people who abuse substances do so in order to ease the pain and stress of daily life. So when you’re working on recovery but facing the same stressors you always did, the desire to reach for your substance of choice might become nearly unbearable.

Don’t worry: there are steps you can take to keep yourself on the right track in recovery.

1. Get to a meeting

If you do a little Googling, you’re likely to find a directory of twelve-step meetings in your area. 

Depending on where you live, these meetings happen at virtually any hour of the day or night, and people who seek recovery from drugs and alcohol are always welcome at them.

Getting yourself to a meeting has a few great benefits: first, you’re physically removing yourself from the situation where you were tempted to use, whether that’s your home, workplace, or the grocery store. A change of scenery is usually pretty helpful.

Second, sharing your story– and your current struggles– will probably resonate with the other people there. You might also hear some other people’s stories that are helpful for you!

2. Build your community

One of the best things about twelve-step recovery programs is the innate community that comes with them. People exchange phone numbers and are encouraged to call one another.

If you find yourself struggling, pick up the phone! Give a call to a fellow addict and just talk it out.

They might provide some perspective on the situation that you hadn’t thought of, or they might just commiserate and stay on the phone with you until the feeling passes.

Either way, these conversations are beneficial to both parties.

3. Pay attention to your feelings

You might have heard the phrase “HALT” in recovery circles– it’s an acronym that stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

Check in with yourself every so often and pay attention to what’s going on with you. Have you eaten properly today and drank enough water? Are you dealing with a difficult emotional situation? Have you talked to another person yet today? Have you gotten enough sleep?

Though it seems simple, making it a point to perform these basic check-ins can help you pinpoint exactly what’s bothering you. This might lead you right to the solution that will curb your cravings and keep you from reaching for a harmful substance.

4. Get Online

If you’re not in a location where there are frequent meetings, or if you’re not able to physically get to a meeting, don’t worry– there are plenty of online twelve-step meetings that happen at all hours of the day.

You might even be able to connect with people in different time zones. There are people in recovery programs all over the world, so no matter what time it is where you are, know that you’re not alone. There are people out there who can help and provide a sense of community.

5. Avoid Triggers

Especially when you’re new to recovery, it’s a good idea to avoid the people and places that were detrimental to you in the past. If you used to frequent a certain bar, or hang out with a certain group of people, while you were using, the places and people are connected with substance abuse in your mind. Hanging out with them might trigger cravings, and it’s often safer to just find something else to do instead.

If you’re struggling with cravings or have relapsed, you can always seek help. Recovery communities are a valuable tool, but professional addiction treatment centers exist for a reason. If you want to take an assessment to determine whether you need to seek professional treatment, or need to speak with an addictions expert, please give us a call. We’re here to help you get your life back on track.