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How Can I Make the Cravings Go Away During Detox?

Cravings are an unfortunate part of addiction and early recovery. As addicts and alcoholics, we have a disease that is constantly trying to kill us. It’s sad, but it’s true. We may not be able to make the cravings go away completely, but we can approach and deal with them differently.

It is important to know that cravings are normal. They don’t cause a relapse, unless you act on them. Instead of wishing they would go away, try to recognize them for what they are so you can ride out the wave more comfortably.

Cravings typically run in this cycle:

  • Trigger response: Something triggered a thought or emotion within you that rang the bell of your old addictive behavior. It could have been your old stomping grounds, a billboard or commercial, or an argument. This trigger starts the cycle.
  • Obsessive thinking: Once the bell of your old addictive behavior has been rung, you begin to think about it nonstop. Drinking and using thoughts feel like a hamster on its wheel, running feverishly in your head. The more you think about it, the more you want to act.
  • Full-blown craving: Cravings affect us emotionally and physically. Our emotions want to satisfy our craving, and our body responds with sweaty palms, anxiety, and an increased heart rate. At this stage, resisting the urge becomes difficult.

We cannot control what pops into our minds, but we can control our behavior. If you can learn the following techniques in the trigger response stage, you are setting yourself up for success:

  1. The art of distraction: Change your surroundings by going for a walk, or talk to someone supportive; once you vocalize your thoughts, they lose their power. Do something enjoyable, like watching a movie, playing a game, or stretching.
  2. Use creative imagery: Swap out the bad with the good. This simply means, replace old addictive images with new, healthy thoughts in your mind. For example, when you pass your old bar, think of the new coffee shop where you meet your friends. This exercise re-trains your brain through association.
  3. Strike down using feelings by playing your using/drinking tape: When thoughts of using pop into your mind, mentally respond by replaying the tape of events that led you into detox.
  4. Relaxation and meditation: Learn to slow your breaths, read, and journal your thoughts. Getting into the habit of calming yourself will do wonders for your recovery.

If you are struggling with cravings in detox, please talk to someone. Many of us have been in your shoes, and we’re here to help. You can get through this, your recovery depends on it. Cravings won’t kill you, but relapse will. Give us a call and start your new life today.

The Serenity Recovery Center stands as a landmark of the Encino Hospital Medical Center offering the best of detox. Committed to providing comfort and care, our private detox program supports the first foundational steps of sobriety. Contact us today for information: 866.294.9401