For many people, urges and cravings to use drugs or alcohol trigger automatic responses. Learning to say NO to these intense, ingrained desires is one of the biggest challenges in recovery. The good news is that you can understand these desires and learn to resist them.

It is important for patients to recognize that experiencing some craving is normal and quite common. Craving does not mean something is wrong or that the patient really wants to resume drug use. At the outset of recovery, they can be pretty intense, but each one will subside if you can wait it out and have a plan for relapse prevention. Cravings and urges will decrease in strength and frequency over time. You can make this happen by adopting some coping strategies that work best for you.

As part of recovery, Counselors at Tellurian may work with patients to develop a comprehensive list of their craving ‘triggers’. It is usually helpful to concentrate on identifying the craving and cues that have been most problematic to each individual patient so Patients are aware of what may lead them to crave drugs or alcohol.

When patients have supportive, abstinent friends and family members, talking about craving when it occurs is a very effective strategy and can help reduce the feelings of anxiety and vulnerability that often accompany it. It can also help patients identify specific cues.

Close family members may become distressed when they hear patients talk about craving s because they expect it to lead to use. Our Counselors might spend some time identifying who Patients might feel comfortable talking with about craving, how that person would be likely to react, and whether it makes sense to ask that person in advance for support.

SOURCE: NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)