So, you’ve got cravings. You’ve been sober for a hot minute and all of a sudden there it is. You want a drink; you want your drug. Guess what? It’s normal. It’s perfectly normal and expected. Cravings are part of recovery from substance use. You will have them for a long time. It’s ok.
Think about it for a minute. If you’re like most people who used drugs and alcohol, it’s a normal day to use and drink. We had a schedule. We punched the clock at our favorite bar just about every day. We even showed up at the bar on snow days and holidays like we were getting double time and a half holiday pay. It was a full-time job and the benefits were getting wasted.
We were acclimated to a life of drinking and drugging, and then we got sober. We had a shock to the system and we expect that everything will change overnight. It doesn’t. We forget. And it’s perfectly natural.
The Truth About Cravings
Don’t get me wrong, you can analyze it to death. Go through your day, review everything. Think about triggers. Think about everything you did and said. Think about everyone you met and every conversation you’ve had. Scratch your head and think about what event today is the anniversary of. Blame it on the poor breakfast you’ve had or the essential oils you were supposed to rub on that one part of your foot and not the other. Blame it on the weird drug dream you had. I have a friend that swears it has to do with lymphatic massage and that she must release the toxins from her body on a strict regular schedule or the physical toxins give her mental toxins and she’ll crave and relapse.
But thankfully it’s all BS. We’re addicts and alcoholics and we simply crave a drink or our drugs of choice.
The thing is, as we get more sober time under our belt, we just get less and less cravings. We think about drugs and alcohol less and less. We learn a whole new way to live that simply doesn’t involve drugs and alcohol use. We learn coping mechanisms. We learn new ways to play with others that don’t require getting drunk, getting wasted beyond all sense of sanity, or numbing ourselves into oblivion just to be around people.
If you’re in your first few months, forget about it. Of course, you’re craving drugs and booze. You’ll even crave drugs you didn’t like; drinks you couldn’t stand. But there it is, suddenly the idea of beer or a vodka rocks or a pill jolts into your head. If you didn’t have cravings and thoughts about it in the first few months, you’d be nuts.
What is a craving? Its just a thought. Yes, it’s just a thought. And every day you will have thousands of thoughts. Why would you obsess over that particular thought? Simple, in early recovery we get obsessive thoughts, we can’t get things out of our heads. We are laser focused on things, and every once in awhile, our obsessive thinking and laser focus gets us stuck on using or drinking something. Then we say to ourselves, I’m in recovery now, I’m laser focused on being sober; why am I laser focused on drugs? It’s simple, to be laser focused obsessed about recovery, by definition you must think about drugs and alcohol. You must recall and remember your use. So of course, that reminds of you all sorts of things related to drugs. The situations, the people, the places, the sights and smells. It’s just how the human brain processes things. Check out our guide on how to overcome cravings, step-by-step.
Cravings, drug dreams, emotional meltdowns: they’re all part of recovery. It’s expected. It’s normal. Just ride the wave my friend, ride the wave. And soon you’ll be at the shore.
IF you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please reach out to us at 877-RECOVER or 877-732-6837. Our team of addiction specialists are available to answer your call and any questions you may have about treatment and recovery— 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.