Achieving freedom from cravings and their effects takes work, but with the right actions, you can get these results. Cravings can be triggered by things you see in the environment that remind you of using that particular thing. Physical signs may include tightness in your stomach or feeling nervous through your body, psychological signs may include increased thoughts of how good you would like to feel from using alcohol or drugs, remembering times you used alcohol in the past, planning how you would go about getting a drink, or feeling you need alcohol.

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Craving and urges are time-limited, that is, they usually last only a few minutes and at most a few hours. Rather than increasing steadily until they become unbearable, they usually peak after a few minutes and then die down, like a wave. Urges will become less frequent and less intense as you learn how to cope with them. If we never acted on cravings, they would simply be unpleasant, extraordinarily uncomfortable experiences. But it’s the related self defeating actions that lead to so much pain, heartbreak, and misery. Cravings are much more than responses to reward and reinforcement. Cravings involve emotions, memories, sense of loss of control, reward, and reinforcement.

When life is not going well for people in recovery it can mean also having to deal with cravings. The usual way that the individual will have coped with problems in the past will have been to run to the bottle or the drug. When things go wrong in recovery they may feel this same urge. Because they still are under the influence of their diseased mind. It is not only the bad times that can produce these cravings though. If things are going well for the individual they might also find that this produces thoughts of relapse. This is because in the past they will have associated celebrations and the good times with substance abuse. Memories can trigger them strongly. They still feel good thinking about that time, that high, they feel good talking about drugs or alcohol. It can take people a bit of time before they become accustomed to dealing with the good times without any chemical assistance. Once people become comfortable in their sobriety this connection between substance abuse and the swings in life begins to fade.

It is also important to consider that just because the individual has cravings does not necessarily mean that they are going to relapse. Most people in recovery will need to at least occasionally deal with cravings particularly in early recovery. Now it depends upon them, how good they are at managing their cravings. If they deal them effectively, intensity and frequency of cravings will reduce with the passage of time. There are plenty of things that can be triggers for your cravings, i.e guilt, shame, and resentment from years of self destructive behavior emerge in the form of obsession and craving, and serve to disrupt success in recovering from addictions.

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