5 Techniques on How to Overcome Substance Cravings

The feeling of wanting to use substances or drink alcohol comes and goes, but the threat will always be there. And I want to share with you all how I personally overcome these cravings and how this may help you too.

  1. Reflect on Your Past Successes

    When you have an urge to step outside of sobriety, you may want to reflect on the times you were able to get past it. Did you go on a walk, watch a movie, or try any of the following techniques? If the answer is yes, you must recognize that if you could do it once, you can do it time and time again.

  2. Play the Tape Out

    You will need to recognize what’s going to happen next. Don’t just think about the next five minutes, but what will happen three hours from now, or two days from now. Yes, this drink may numb you for two minutes, but what if you want to feel that numb again tomorrow or the day after and then the cravings start to escalate? By writing it down, you will have your thoughts on paper to refer to next time so that you may feel less anxious. You can also write down everything that happened during your last craving and how you got through it. And when you have this experience, circle back and reflect on your writing. This is a great reminder that you are powerful enough to conquer those challenges once more.

  3. Find Activities to Keep Busy

    You need to find activities to keep yourself busy because idle hands are the devil’s playground. This idiom exists for a reason. When you have too much time on your hands, that is when your mind can start to wander. This can be very dangerous for people who suffer from addiction. This is when addicts start to use because they are “bored.” A plan of action that is preloaded and ready to go can make all the difference of success in sobriety. There are coaches and therapists to help guide you in figuring out what healthy activities you enjoy. I never used to enjoy walking and I dreaded it. And then I found a friend to go on walks with for an hour each day which led to some wonderful conversations which were really fun by association, and now I enjoy walks!

  4. Get Grounded

    Using grounding techniques have been helpful for me. Whenever I start to have a craving, I pay attention to what is around me. This shifts my mind from thinking about wanting to use to something totally unrelated to that. Often times, I will start to take note of the details in my surrounding areas. For example, I will notice that there is a wall in front of me. I will start to describe a wall having a muted red brick color with specks of grey. And perhaps it looks like the shop keeper hasn’t cleared the debris from where the wall and the ground connect with each other. When I’ve finished describing the wall, I will then, take notice of the floor. Get mindful. Pay attention to everything in your surroundings. When you do this, you will be more present with where you are at the moment instead of where you want to be in your head. People talk about mindfulness because it works.

  5. Pay Attention to the Simple Things that Make you Happy

    Do you have a lot to look forward to every day? If not, you have to give yourself moments to be happy about. This is a self-taught technique for finding moments of happiness. For example, I love taking showers in the morning. To enhance this experience, I bought a showerhead that provides the ideal water pressure. As trivial as this sounds, using this new shower head has made me really happy. It’s something I look forward to when I wake up in the morning. What 5-10 things could you think of that would make you happy, even if it only brings you slight happiness? Could it be as simple as playing with your dog or watching the sunset or hiking with a friend? Give yourself that moment of pleasure. When you have listed your 5-10 things that make you happy, you will always have something to look forward to. This technique has honestly helped me a lot to keep busy and overcome my cravings. It’s that dopamine effect that can make you feel good, especially over time.

Which technique was the most helpful? Which techniques have you tried? As always, I’m here if you need additional guidance. Simply reach out to me or my staff at 800-530-3100 at any time.

Andrew Broz
CEO Life Landscaping