Cravings and urges can drive us crazy. The more we try not to think about them, the worse they sometimes are. But there are some effective ways to cope with these unwelcome thoughts that usually only last 20 minutes or less. Try some and see how they work for you.
Distraction — One popular technique involves distracting yourself with an activity. Get busy doing something that involves concentration, such as working a crossword puzzle.
Repetition — Some in recovery find it helpful to organize things, engage in counting or recite the alphabet backward and forward. Anything that’s repetitious — even mowing the lawn in a repetitive pattern — will suffice.
Physical Exercise — Get your body’s natural endorphins in gear by engaging in vigorous physical exercise. Do sit-ups, push-ups, run in place, get on the exercise bike, or take a brisk walk. Physical exercise is an excellent way to banish cravings and urges — and benefit your physical well-being in the process.
Talk with a Friend — Sometimes all you need to do to get over the craving is to talk with a close friend, family member, 12 step sponsor or group member who understands what you’re going through. By the time you’ve talked for a little while, the cravings and urges will have disappeared — or you’ll be better equipped to deal with them.
Ride it Out — Cravings and urges are bound to occur. That doesn’t mean that they’re a sign of weakness or lack of willpower. It isn’t your fault and you can’t stop them from happening. What you can do is realize that they only last a brief amount of time, and you will be able to ride them out. Beyond that, talk with your therapist and 12 step group members about how else you may be able to combat cravings and urges.