You can manage your cravings and urges to use heroin or other drugs
Do you want to know where your cravings and urges to use heroin come from?
You can be hanging around with friends, enjoying yourself, and then out of nowhere you’re hit with this freight train an immense urge to do a big shot of heroin and escape.
You can overcome an urge to use heroin or other drugs. It is essential to understand what and where cravings come from.
When you first decide not to use you might find it hard to focus.
Sometimes a craving to use might be so massive it feels like you are teetering on the edge of an active volcano. You don’t care if the world were to be invaded by aliens, turned into a zombie apocalypse, or if everyone disappeared, as long as you can find a moment of relief from the urge to use. It is overpowering.
Sometimes the feeling is different. It quickly passes like any simple thought.
An example of a craving and urge passing like a simple thought
When I was strung out on heroin homeless, alone, hungry, and cold, I didn’t eat too often. I would go days without food. I forgot to eat because I was never hungry. When I did eat, it didn’t take much food before I had an uncomfortable feeling of being too full.
Whether I had just eaten or hadn’t eaten in days, I couldn’t walk by a pizza shop without the aroma of pizza cooking triggering a craving for pizza. It wasn’t a trigger to eat for the sake of eating; it was for pizza. I was a pizza junky, too.
The smells of pizza dough rising, the sauce simmering, the cheese melting filling my head created a craving to eat. A slight feeling of emptiness in my stomach signaled to me how good a piece of pizza would taste. It reinforced my hunger. I was craving for pizza.
Priority trumps craving
By the time I passed several storefronts, the feeling had passed. I would walk by and carry on with whatever I was doing. Most often going to make money for heroin, cop heroin, or find a place to fix up a shot. The craving for pizza came and went. It was no big deal.
With practice, understanding, and determination, you will reach a point in your recovery when your cravings and urges to use, lose the power of you emotionally, psychologically, and physically.
Why are cravings and urges to use heroin so powerful?
There are two types of cravings and urges triggering you to want to use heroin
• Overt: when you know that you are experiencing a craving.
• Covert: is when the craving happens on the sly; the addict doesn’t even know that they want alcohol or other drugs. For example; you have been in a meeting for the last 6 hours straight.
You have not had a cigarette in 6 hours, and you become irritable, edgy, judgmental, obnoxious, and critical of the people you are with, and everything seems to be a little off.
Once you are in your car you reach for your cigarettes. You grab one, light it up, and a take that first drag.
INHALE…EXHALE… a calm feeling washes over you. (Really?) and you instantly feel a calm feeling was over you. .
Now let’s examine how the mind manufactures cravings and urges. There are two types of factors that trigger cravings:
- Internal factors which include feelings, thoughts, or physical sensations or emotions
- External factors such as people, places, events and objects which trigger memories of experiences
It is essential to understand that the disease of addiction is enough to cause a craving without first being triggered.
Therefore, it is vital for you to take the time and evaluate personal triggers that cause you to crave to use heroin and other opioid drugs. Once you understand your triggers, you will be able to develop a strategy that helps you cope with these cravings.
UNWANTED FEELINGS arouse the desire to use. A thought comes into the mind. The view persists and nags at our conscious mind. It turns into a hazardous feeling, which develops into a craving. Then the inevitable is manifested; in the form of substance use.
Let me break down the process with this example: You’re in early recovery and still grieving over the loss of your mother. It is the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
You start to reminisce about your mother, and the happy thoughts of your mom turn to sadness. You start to feel shame and guilt. You blame yourself for not living a better life.
A life that would have made your mother proud of you. These feelings create a high-risk relapse situation.
You begin to crave because you don’t like or know how to process these feelings.
Now you should have a better understanding of how dangerous emotions or unwanted feelings turn into a craving to use heroin or other drugs.
This is why it is crucial for you to learn what triggers your vulnerable feelings, which cause you to crave using drugs or alcohol.
Is heroin or other drugs interfering with the life you want for yourself?
Here are 11 useful ways you can learn to manage cravings and triggers to use heroin:
- Knowledge: Understanding ways to gain more insight into triggers, such as what cravings are, triggers, and how they cause the addict to want to use
- Recognize the signs of your cravings and triggers and label them specifically
- Keep a 3×5 card of triggers in your wallet or purse with a list of positive strategies to offset each,
- Make yourself aware of high-risk; persons, places, things, and situations you need to avoid at all costs. One cannot always prevent a high-risk situation, so once determined that a situation could potentially be a high-risk situation have a detailed plan of action ready to follow if a craving ensues.
- Read and re-read literature about recovery, positive change, affirmations, AA, NA texts, or personal experience recovery stories.
- Self: Learning ways in which you, the addict, can reduce cravings and manage them.
- A great action to take is to remove all of the alcohol and drugs as well as drug paraphernalia from home.
- Learn to accept the fact that the craving will pass with time. Find something to do to occupy your mind exercise, run, read, work on a hobby, etc. Do something active!!!
- Journaling is always a great way to pass the time and craving. Plus, it journaling helps you to understand your cravings and urges to use heroin and other drugs.
Gratitude journaling has many health benefits. The next time a craving catches you off guard. Pull out a notebook and start writing about the event triggering your craving to use heroin and other drugs.�
- Support: Build a sober, network of positive peers to help you throughout your days in early as well as long-term recovery.
- A sober social support network is vital to a successful recovery. A support network is critical to any success.
- Find self-help meetings such as AA; NA; CA, SMART Recovery, Outpatient group meetings, etc.
- Talk about your craving with family, friends, counselor, sponsor, or self-help hotline. (Doing this can provide enough time for the desire to pass and leave your thoughts. Being at a meeting allows a person to hear other people’s strategies to manage cravings.
- If all else fails “white-knuckle it” Hold on for dear life.
- Lastly, PRAY or MEDITATE and ask for the craving to be lifted from your body and mind. Some use the Serenity Prayer works for some: GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN, AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. I suggest writing affirmations which pertain to your situation.
NA or AA does not work for everybody because of many different self-interests. AA and NA are not affiliated with any religious sect or sects, but I found it challenging to sit in meetings and listen to others go on and on about God.
I especially despised when a person would tell me that I would either find God or get high; it was my choice. It is difficult to participate when you feel others are pushing their religion upon you.
I went to many AA and NA meetings, but I could never wrap my head around the idea of higher power, powerlessness, and turning my will over to God, especially when the image of a Higher Power was another word for Savior. The concept of God can be hard for some people to get behind. Unfortunately, this affiliation turned me off, and I am sure it will help others. I left AA behind and relapsed 7 years later. It wasn’t AA’s fault. It was mine for not seeking out a peer support group to rely on for support when the shit hit the fan. And it hit the fan for 7 long years.
AA or NA or other 12-Step meetings are essential to recovery. Connecting with other peers in recovery is vital for you to succeed. Today you have many different choices for support, which include SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, Life Sect, or Wilderness Recovery. If I didn’t believe I could get sober on my own, I would have saved myself some unwanted bullshit, homelessness, and devastation. But I got it the second time around thanks t many kind people who supported me, spoke with me, and prayed for me because I was too stubborn to learn how.
When you start craving to use heroin or other drugs, it is crucial to have a support network to lean on. Find that support now. If AA or NA is not your cup of tea, check out SMART Recovery Group “The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program® has tools and techniques which focus on four area
- Building and maintaining motivation
- Coping with urges
- Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Living a balanced life
Do whatever it takes to overcome your cravings and urges to use. You will be happier. Cravings will decrease. And fulfillment in life will be yours for the taking.
Is Heroin Or other Drugs interfering with the life you want for yourself?
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