Counselor in Austin specializing in Addiction
When you’re trying to quit using or drinking, the thoughts and cravings can be pretty tough to manage. You are not alone. Many people struggle with this and you can get help! We can talk about ways to manage cravings and find out where they come from. We can discuss your support network and things you might be able to do to make this network stronger. I’m not here to judge you or give you a label, I’m here to provide support and see what might be helpful. Relapse is a normal part of this process and if you’re experiencing this now or trying to fight it, now’s a good time to reach out and get some help.
When we’re trying to ride that “urge surfing” wave, it can definitely be tough. Trying to stay with that feeling when substances and alcohol have numbed those feelings is difficult… and on top of that, feeling everything at a level of x10 (because our brain chemistry is a bit different) is seriously no joke! Try really hard not to judge yourself. Also, I KNOW you can do this! Utilizing the 3 D’s is something that has been helpful for people. I’m not going to lie to you and say this is easy, it’s incredibly hard. Also, you’ve been through some tough shit and I know you can do this. Here they are:
Delay: Cravings often last about 20 minutes or so. Yes, this can feel like forever when you’re experiencing them, but they aren’t. Maybe start out with just getting through it a second at a time… 1 second, now the next second… they’ll add up. The goal is to just get to the end of that craving. Remember that there is a beginning, middle, and end. This will be over, do your best to move through it without acting on that craving. Sometimes we make decisions in these tough times and we end up regretting these… put everything into it to move through this, ideas on how to do this are below.
Distract: Think of ALL the things that you can use to distract yourself during this “brief” moment. You could watch a movie, listen to music, play an instrument, write a song, call a friend, ride a bike, read something cool, listen to a podcast, get into your writing or journaling, go outside and see something green, take a shower, practice yoga, meditate, give yourself a foot massage (oohh… reflexology), learn something new (i.e. try to learn a language or new skill)… this list is truly endless and is so dependent on you and finding what works for you. Get your list going now, have it in an accessible place to remind you of your options when you’re in this tough place (our minds don’t work as well when they’re under stress, so lists can be helpful).
Decision: Remind yourself of all the reasons why stopping is important to you. Maybe it’s that relationship with someone important to you, like your partner. Maybe it’s because your dealing with some legal stuff. Maybe it’s because your having some physical impacts and you don’t want to feel those anymore. This, again, is really dependent on you… it’s important that you have a list of these things to remind yourself. Maybe you can even keep this list with you, possibly on your phone or in your wallet. It’s good to remind ourselves of this stuff when we’re experiencing that 20 minutes of hell. Prepare yourself and set yourself up for success!