Managing Cravings to Help Avoid Relapse

Cravings will inevitably occur within your recovery. Learning ways to cope with these cravings is what will help you to avoid relapsing. Relapse typically is not an event that just happens out of nowhere. When you become aware that you are becoming less functional and demonstrate a decreased ability to cope with life soberly, it is easy to turn back to old behaviors. This may mean using alcohol, cannabis, opiates, stimulants, or other substances.

14 Important Signs That You Could Be About to Relapse

Relapse is a gradual process that many individuals miss the signs of. There are three stages of relapse: emotional, physical, and mental. One acronym to keep in mind regarding relapse is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Warnings that you may be heading for an emotional relapse include:

  • Denying your emotions toward others
  • Spending most, or all, of your time alone
  • No longer attending 12-step meetings or staying quiet during these gatherings
  • Avoiding focusing on yourself and putting the attention on others
  • Letting go of activities of daily living, such as good self-care, eating healthy proper amounts of food, and keeping to steady sleep routine.

Signs of mental relapse include:

  • Experiencing alcohol or drug cravings
  • Ruminating over people, places, and things that surrounded your past substance use
  • Denying that the consequences your alcohol or drug use were that bad
  • Romanticizing past use
  • Haggling
  • Not being honest
  • Scheming ways to regulate your use
  • Trying to find opportunities that could allow you to relapse
  • Actually planning out your relapse.

Physical relapse can happen as a full-fledged event or as a lapse. A lapse is where you have your first drink or drug use after being in recovery. Relapse tends to come after the lapse when the use or drinking happens over an extended period.

Ways to Cope with Cravings

Managing Cravings to Help Avoid RelapseOnce you have stopped utilizing drugs and alcohol, you likely will still experience cravings. This does not mean you will relapse if you cope with these not-so-fun feelings in a positive, sober manner. Staying drug and alcohol-free requires us to change people, places, and things that remind us of the substance, and replace these with a sober support network, including loved ones, 12-step meetings, and support groups. Seeing the progress you have made in your occupational and educational fields can also help.

Often cravings arise due to anxiety or depression (even if not diagnosable). Proper sleep hygiene and diet can help reduce these feelings. A steady routine with exercise, meditation, gratitude lists, and hobbies can also aid with this. Try not to make any huge decisions especially in the beginning of recovery. It is important to understand the reality that change is inevitable in life and attempt to have a positive attitude regarding it.

Discovery Place: Aid if You do Relapse

At the Discovery Place of Burns, Tennessee, we have seen it all. Every day we help individuals just like you before, or after, a relapse. Our nonprofit organization has trained staff members who understand what addiction really means. At our very core, we exist to guide men from the depths of addiction to the joys of recovery. Join us today to learn how to utilize the principals of honesty, perseverance, discipline, tolerance, and love to create a sober, happy, useful, and whole life. Get the help you deserve today! Call us at 1-800-725-0922.

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