How To Work Through Alcohol and Drug Cravings

Alcohol and drug cravings are something that almost every alcoholic or addict fears. During active addiction when they would arise, there was a seemingly insurmountable reaction that would result in drinking or using drugs regardless of whether the person wanted to or not. It was not the same as really wanting a slice of pizza, but rather it was an obsession of the mind stemming from biological and psychological factors that were well beyond the person’s control. When someone gets sober there is a fear that if a desire for a drink or a drug arises they will not be able to defend against it and this will result in a relapse back into addiction.

Just because a desire to drink or drug occurs does not necessarily mean that a person has to fulfill it. In fact having a desire is actually a fairly normal experience for people who are sober, but the difference is that once they are sober and have the tools necessary to defend against it, it no longer has the same power. In order to achieve this though takes some work, and the first thing that is necessary is to understand what exactly a craving is and why it does not mean that you are doing something wrong.

What Is An Alcohol or Drug Craving?

The physical reaction that occurs in the body when a person seemingly out of the blue wants a drink or a drug is perfectly normal for people who suffer from addiction. It is caused in part because when addictive substances are ingested into a person’s body they bypass normal bodily functions that create signals of pleasure, in effect making the hormones that normally produce these signals obsolete. When these substances are ingested enough times, the body will actually stop producing certain hormones because the substances are doing their job for them. When drug usage or alcohol consumption is discontinued, the body does not immediately start to produce these hormones again and so a person can experience extreme discomfort, which results in a desire to use in order to make that discomfort go away.

Also, when addictive substances are ingested into the body they are broken down and usually expelled but some of the substance is left in the body in metabolites. Some of the metabolites end up in fatty tissues and can stay in the body for months or years. As fatty tissue is burned off, the metabolites can re-enter the bloodstream, and when this occurs a desire to drink or drug can occur. Majority of the time fatty tissue will be burned off during stressful period’s in a person’s life and this is why a desire to drink or drug usually comes about during these times.

Psychologically speaking, having a desire to drink or drug after usage has been stopped is a perfectly normal experience, because many times an alcoholic or addict has programmed their minds to associate certain things with alcohol or drug usage. This was not done intentionally but was the result of continuously using and therefore causing the brain to associate certain stimuli with drug or alcohol usage.

Due to this, when they experience that same situation sober, their minds recall theirs usage and a desire for the substance can arise. In time, the brain can learn to unlearn this association but that could take some time to occur.

How to Work Through Cravings

As much as your history might tell you that when you have a desire to drink or drug you will ultimately fulfill it, this no longer needs to be the case. Overcoming a want to use is not necessarily easy in the beginning, but with time and by following a few simple steps, you can learn to neutralize these feelings and finally be free from the obsession of your mind.

image of man having drug cravings

  1. Understand that wanting a drink or drug is normal

After doing the same thing for many years it is to be expected that your natural reaction will at times be to want to use. This want does not mean that you are doing anything wrong, that your program is bad, or that your relationship with your higher power is weak, it just simply means that you are an addict or an alcoholic. Understanding that from time to time your mind will tell you that you should have a drink or drug can take away some of the stress that occurs when a desire to use arises, and because of this you can treat it for what it is, a thought, and let it go.

  1. If a situation is triggering you, remove yourself from that situation

Many times a desire to drink or drug might come out of nowhere, but other times it is the direct result of being in a certain situation. If this is the case then remove yourself from that situation as quickly you as possibly can. You will notice that once you have left the situation, the desire will subside and with it the risk of possibly relapsing

  1. Call someone as soon as you can

This suggestion goes hand in hand with the first suggestion. Many times when a desire to drink or drug arises, the person experiencing it will think that this means they are doing something wrong and so they will be hesitant to share about it. When you understand that having that desire is normal, it will make it easier to call someone and expose it to the light. Talking to someone and not letting the idea fester in your mind can many times remove a desire instantaneously, so if you start to experience a desire to use, call someone as soon as you can.

  1. Work the 12 Steps

The goal of the 12 Steps is to allow the alcoholic or addict to have a spiritual awakening which will expel the obsession to drink or drug. By working the 12 steps not only will the obsession, which is essentially one continuous desire to use, be expelled, but it will also give you the tools necessary to combat any thoughts that could possibly lead you back to drinking or drugging.

Overcoming Cravings And Seeking Treatment

The period when the desire to drink or drug is most potent is usually during the detoxification process, so if you are planning on stopping using call Coastal Detox today at 1-877-978-3125. Our trained professionals can help you make it through this often dangerous time and get you on your journey to being free from the obsession to use.

Connor Barton
Connor Barton
2022-06-03
Verified
The staff here is amazing. Caring and attentive. I finally kicked the sticks and couldn’t be happier.
Jacob Rashid
Jacob Rashid
2022-06-03
Verified
So nice to have Grandma back to her old self. She has struggled with xannies for as long as I can remember. The staff were so attentive and met her where she was, not where they wanted her to be. Thank you Coastal Detox!
Tara Payne
Tara Payne
2022-05-20
Verified
I struggled with alcohol addiction for most of my life. After many tries nothing worked.It was my 43rd birthday and I wasn't gonna see 44 if I didn't get help. I called around and found Coastal. So glad I did. I am so grateful for EVERYONE there. This beautiful facility is not just a detox. They actually have programs to help you learn to live a sober life and enjoy being yourself again! Entire staff is awesome! (Ms Diana ❤️ and Mrs Karen ❤️)They really understand how your feeling as most are in recovery also. If your looking for some help please give them a call. I give them 10+stars. Five months sober now!!! Thank you Coastal!!!
Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins
2022-05-04
Verified
The entire staff of Coastal is great, the therapists, the nurses, the techs, everyone. It’s a great environment to begin your recovery in. As an added perk, the food is some of the best you’ll ever have thanks to the chefs.
Tony Givens
Tony Givens
2022-05-04
Verified
My experience at coastal detox was very good, the staff there is terrific. They helped me get through the process of detox in a safe and professional manor.
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
Jodi Silverman Goldberg
2022-03-21
Verified
It been almost a year!! Thank y’all
Matthew Mcnulty
Matthew Mcnulty
2022-03-07
Verified
This is the top tier Rehab/Detox center in Southeast FL. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Their attention to detail is impressive. They specialize in treating alcohol abuse among several other conditions. If you or a loved one are looking for a blueprint on how to sober up…Coastal Detox will lead you there.
Mary Katz
Mary Katz
2022-02-26
Verified
My experience with Coastal has been one of empathy, kindness and family. From Admissions to Nurses to techs I have never felt so cared for. Food and drink 24/7. Coastal is a place I went twice. First time 14 days next 6days later for another 11. At 59 and umpteen detoxes Coastal by far is Heaven Sent! As a Nutritionist and Trainer, I'm so happy to be back....the Mary ,who was lost:)
vicky ehr
vicky ehr
2022-01-29
Verified
Great place . Helped me so much I am a 64 year old woman and this place got me sober with dignity and kindness. I highly recommend it plus the food is incredible. Rooms are really well laid out. 2 guys to a room . Each bed has its own t.v with head sets so you dont bother your roomate. Take an extra pillow and comfort blanket from home. At least 3 pairs of pj’ s sock and shoes and comfortable clothing fit. You do your own laundry there. I will send you the link to look at. After thinking all morning this is hands down the place for you. Lots of young people and fantastic therapists. For my wonderful son who suffers. From addiction the way I do.

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