Dealing With Urges In Long Term Addiction Management

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Getting clean always feels like the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do until you realize that you will have to also stay clean. While the process of getting clean usually takes a few months at most, staying clean has to happen for a much longer time. While getting clean will rid your body of the drugs, the psychological cravings will still come and go at certain moments in your life. Many users have relapsed after months or even years of being clean. However, knowing how to deal with destructive urges can keep you from relapsing too.

Why Are Urges Still Difficult To Deal With Even When Clean?

The psychological chain of a drug addiction is rarely truly broken and this is why urges may still show up years after kicking the habit. Situations in which these urges may occur include:

  • When exposed to or when in close proximity to the substance you used to abuse. Seeing or smelling these substances may cause you to remember the euphoric effects of the drug and this may cause a moment of weakness.
  • Trauma in your life such as the passing of a loved one or loss of employment can cause you to seek out something that can help to ease the pain or cope with the loss.
  • Getting reacquainted with certain people can also trigger these urges. This is especially possible if these are people that you used to abuse drugs with or people who have been a cause of stress in your life.
  • Being exposed to certain emotional or psychological triggers.

Avoiding Urges

An urge if not handled properly can quickly trigger a relapse. The best way to handle urges is to avoid them.

  • As much as possible, avoid being in close proximity with the substance that you used to abuse. You can never be sure whether you’ll have the will to fight the urges.
  • Talk to supportive people e.g. a family member, sponsor or a counsellor when going through difficult times in your life. Keeping these feelings bottled up never ends well.
  • Avoid people with whom you used to abuse drugs especially if they are still using it. There are few temptations greater than that which will be brought by a ‘friend’.
  • Identify your triggers whether emotional or psychological and learn how to avoid triggering the associated thoughts or feelings. Alternatively, you could work with a counsellor to get to the bottom of these thoughts or feelings so that you can understand what causes them and how to deal with them.

Dealing With Urges

When you get an urge, you need to recognize it for what it is. Ask yourself what triggered this urge and remind yourself why you need to stay clean. Creating a flowchart of how your urges come to be and the decisions that you debate with afterwards can help you to visualize what you’re dealing with and help you to see that there is a path to a solution. It is also important to remember that a relapse doesn’t mean you can’t find your way back to abstinence.

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