Áit Linn Coping with Cravings 

Cravings are a natural consquence of giving up any addictive substance or process.

They will probably last around 20 minutes so have an activity ready to occupy your mind. Cravings present as thoughts or urges to drink alcohol which are often described as coming in waves.

Commonly used strategies to cope with cravings include:

  • Ventilating - talking to someone that can listen objectively
  • Distraction - clean the house, take the dog for a walk, change your environment
  • Challenge the Thought - say STOP! or think of a Stop sign
  • Think Something Different - Think of an image of something you want or want to avoid

However research has shown the most successful strategy can be accepting the craving, and learning through meditation to let the craving happen and pass without acting on it, through focusing on your breathing and being with the thoughts and feelings that make up the craving.
Meditation apps on your phone, or mindful breathing exercises can support you in learning this skill.
People that practice self awareness and noticing how they feel are more likely to be successful in not acting on cravings.

The most important part of having a craving is understanding that they are natural, and commonly do not last more than 30 minutes.

Understanding the lead up to cravings can really assist people in feeling like they have a choice over whether they act on a craving or not.
In Áit Linn we have a comprehensive 6 week relapse prevention programme that focuses on setting people up to understanding their pattern of use and to have strategies that are useful for dealing with cravings as and when they arise.

Relapse is a process that often starts with a change in how you feel - either starting to feel bad, or starting to feel really good!
This can be linked with low levels of self efficacy, where we may not believe we are capable of stopping the behaviour we have been engaging in.

By working on your beliefs about actions you can take to help yourself, by linking with others in a similar situation, by understanding why and how you are more likely to drink / take drugs, by learning and developing self awareness, people can learn to change how they react to cravings.

 

 


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