14 Strategies to Fight Against Cravings | Addictions
Hello struggling friend!
I want to address this post to those of you who are going through recovery, trying to fight against cravings to alcohol, knowledge, over-work, sweets, or anything that has caused a problem in your life and health.
I have written a lot about faith but don’t want to neglect the fact that I have a lot of strategies to share with those dealing with some sort of cravings, I know what’s like to indulge in drinking alcohol and eating too much sweets. I still like sweets but I eat them in moderation. I’m also sober since 2011.
These strategies can help you if you are struggling in keeping away from binging, drugs/alcohol, toxic feelings, internet/phone addiction, people pleasing (yes this could also be considered an addiction that leads to being burn out) and also if you have been abstinent for a short time but still experience cravings.
Disclaimer: I will be tough on some of these strategies, I have my coach hat as I type this for you:
1. Start with a small step towards a healthy habit, such as doing 5 to 10 pushups a day, or taking a 10 minute walk around your block consistently
2. Push the Reset Button: Write down everything you know you need to do in a master list of things you couldn’t do while indulging in your favorite thing, that you know you can do now, such as get a doctor appt, get dentist appt, go to the gym and stick to the routine, get together with healthy people, take a walk at the beach, go breathe some air in an easy hike, etc.
Let’s have real talk right here, in the last time you indulged in your craving, you ended up exhausted, guilty, ashamed, and with no energy to do anything, isn’t it true? Give yourself permission for a reset button (as often as everyday) and begin taking healthy decisions. You matter. You may not know what your future looks like right now, but the healthier you become today, the better person you will be for future people you are about to meet.
I personally got my dental appointment after 2 years of not taking good care of my teeth, and the dentist found 11 cavities, not nice at all. I still have 5 months to pay for my dental bill. It’s not pleasant at all. Cravings such as sugar cravings have consequences when not dealt appropriately and at the right time.
3. Learn to love yourself again. You have to learn this around those who have mastered this. Be kind, be patient, treat yourself with healthy food, new clothes, and say kind affirmations to yourself. If this is new to you, if you are better at taking care of others, it’s going to be a long journey. You have to take time to learn to love (respects/appreciate) yourself, and stop filling up any loneliness with stuff, so that you won’t go to the route of following your cravings/distracting thoughts.
Remember that your weight, your recovery time, your sober time, your bad habit, doesn’t determine your worth nor your identity. It might seem as if it’s controlling you but you can learn to not let it control you, little by little.
I also suggest to also learn to receive unconditional love, from those who model this well, especially from Jesus. Stop thinking that everyone is out there to betray you, shame you, and talk behind your back!!!
4. Try to add lemon juice (this will work if you have sugar, or alcohol addiction) to everything you can, or drink lemonade. It’s proven to help with many types of cravings, It especially can help with cravings to sweet things. Lemon has a lot of healthy properties. Google can help you find out.
5. Taking care of the environment around you: remove what can trigger you, unclutter with a timer (pomodoro is great), organize piles of paper, throw away extra food, etc
6. Knowing you can help someone or something can help give confidence and puts the focus outside of your own thoughts and struggles. Some examples: getting a dog, a cat, a plant, or a fish can also help
7. Go back to certain hobbies you used to do a while back, or try something new with that friend whom you know has time to do it with you
8. Take Responsibility to Work on you, going to meetings (ask around and you will find the right one, whether it’s a bible study group, or a recovery group), crying as much as needed, since now you might feel feelings more instead of avoiding them when you used to indulge in something or someone. Notice this, if you have been avoiding how you really feel by doing all kinds of things, this is the time to process your feelings, get someone to listen to you and if the pain is too deep you might need a professional
9. Stop killing joy by comparing yourself and stop perfectionism. You don’t have to have the perfect job, stop your pride. You never know how much you will learn from your boss, and who you might serve at your current not so perfect job
10. Stop thinking that writing things down and scheduling is not your thing. Aren’t you struggling? Did you learn and not take notes when you were in college or in your last math class? If you took notes in class, you need to take some notes right now, and you need to schedule some things in your calendar so you actually stop thinking about this, and start doing them.
11. Many times, people struggle with an addiction and they think it’s just boredom. Take time to get to the root. Why do you feel bored? Sometimes, the person is not happy where they are at, or feels bored because of loneliness. Maybe you are not happy with how people treat you, maybe you have issues with authority figures, have you thought of that? (this can be displayed by you doing what you know you shouldn’t when authority figures or accountability is not around) Heart check!
(If you have had issues with authority figures, my tip is that you have to go far back to your parents, whoever raised you, or even someone important who didn’t lead you well, and forgive whoever you feel angry or disappointed.)
12. Get an accountability partner- this will work best if your accountability partner is currently working on the exact same thing as you are. And the more the merrier. If you are a Christian, praying with your accountability partner once a week is important. If trust is the issue, perhaps start with someone who lives with you and make it part of your routine to pray consistently WITH THEM.
13. If you are a believer in God, do what you can do. Let’s read John 3:30 “He must become greater, I must become less.” If you struggle as a believer, I suggest you make God increase in your life, spend more time getting to know who he is.
This may sound strict, If you don’t know, act upon what you already learned, come on! Take it day by day, and put no excuses. If you do not have time to read the bible, and you do not have time to go to bible study meeting, you don’t have time for God, and that is so sad. Maybe your struggle is controlling you and it’s hard to read the bible, how about audio bibles?
But seriously, if you need the help, please don’t think God can’t use someone or a group of people. But remember, nobody can read your mind at every second, in my opinion, only God can
14. If you notice you can’t handle the cravings on your own, you may need to seek a professional, attend a group meeting, find someone to hold you accountable, AND/OR try to go on a spiritual retreat. Who can help you through this?
If any of these tips are painful to go through by yourself, and you already tried having an accountability partner please seek professional help. I will be keeping you in my prayers and can give you resources.
Key to find out if you need professional help: Focus on your progress, if there is no progress after doing it on your own and with an accountability partner, go ahead and seek professional help. Dealing with a craving has many aspects to it so it’s a process.
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