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The urge to use will be strong and frequent
Early on in recovery, you will have cravings for drugs or alcohol.

The urge to use will be strong and frequent at first, then after a long period of time will become less and less. In order to make it past the beginning of recovery without relapsing, you must utilize coping skills.

Ways to deal with a craving for drugs or alcohol:

1. Tell someone – Taking to a friend, family member, sponsor, or entire support group will take the power out of the craving.

2. Think about using in a different way – Often when you crave, you glamorize the using experience. Reminding yourself of the bad times rather than the good times will help you stay away from the substance. Exercising gratitude for your life as it is now, and all the possibilities of a life not controlled by substances will aid you in your abstinence.

3. Do something – Go to a 12-step meeting, pick up a hobby, cook and eat a healthy and well-balanced meal, or go to the gym. Doing anything that distracts from the urge to use will help the time pass, and the craving go away.

4. Do not use TODAY -The craving will not usually last longer than 15 minutes, and if it lasts longer simply tell yourself, “Today I will not use.” Make yourself no promises for tomorrow; then, when tomorrow comes, just tell yourself you are not going to use that day either. In this instance, you are taking cravings one day at a time, which is much easier to swallow than saying you are never going to use again.

5. Avoid situations that cause you to crave – If you are craving because you are in a bar or club, simply leave. Avoid liquor stores, or the alcohol aisle in the grocery store.  Identifying the situations that cause the urges, then removing yourself from the situations will eliminate the craving you are experiencing.

It is normal to have cravings for your substance of choice, after all you are an addict. Your will power needs to be stronger than your urges in order to make it past your beginning phases of recovery. Determining what triggers your cravings will help you to avoid those situations. Accept that you are going to have these cravings, but know that they too will pass, and if you do not give in your recovery will still be intact when they are over.

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