Updated: Oct 25
Cravings can happen no matter the sobriety timeline. They are not inherently wrong or bad nor are they indicative of our success in sobriety. They are merely shining a light on an unmet need, an uncomfortable circumstance or an area of our existence where our capacity to show up in the present is diminished.
Cravings highlight, in real time, when our systems need extra attention and care. When we are first making a change within our relationship with alcohol or substance, cravings may seem intense and visceral in nature. This makes sense. We are changing our relationship to our well practiced coping mechanism.
Each time a craving arises, it offers an opportunity to learn more about our internal world. Each craving provides emotional and physical data that lets us know when we are experiencing discomfort, fear, agitation, boredom, loneliness, or another element of our human experience that we previously avoided through our use. The more we practice meeting our cravings with curiosity, the easier they become to navigate. We can practice meeting our cravings by asking what we notice or, if that feels too heavy or intense, we can offer ourselves an environment change, connection with a supportive friend, a kind word, a glass of water or a nourishing snack while we allow the craving to pass. As the typical craving lasts only 20 minutes, we can be sure it will pass quickly once we start to focus our attention on caring for ourselves instead of fighting the craving.
When we can offer ourselves more data that says, "This will pass." and "I can trust myself to care for myself as I move through this.", the easier it becomes to embrace cravings as they arise without giving into the impulses that accompany them.
What do cravings feel like for me?
What sensations and/or stories accompany my cravings?
Are there common experiences, environments or connection points that I notice cravings tend to show up in?
What are the ways I support myself to move through cravings?
What resources do I tap into internally for support? Externally?
Mantra: I put effort toward that which fulfills me.