People abuse substances for different reasons. It could be self medicating, habit, even boredom. When recovering from addiction, cravings and triggers are the toughest challenges. When the urge is so strong, it may feel like the only option is to give in. Being stronger than the urges could seem almost impossible, especially if we’re feeling down and we know the substance can pick us up. The truth is, it is possible, we just need to pick ourselves up.
Since it’s hard to fight against the cravings, maybe we shouldn’t fight it head on. We should just turn and go in another direction. Redirecting ourselves to focus on something else, occupy our minds so it’s focused on something else. So how do we do this exactly? The answer is to simply do things. Do something other than taking a sip, popping a pill, snorting a line, etc.. Here’s a list of things that you could do rather than turning towards a substance.
- Go for a hike: Not only is it beautiful, but nature is really soothing and peaceful. The action of walking in itself is very therapeutic as well. It clears our mind and gets our blood flowing. There’s a metaphoric energy about being in motion and feeling yourself moving forward, away from the old and towards new beginnings.
- Run or job: Similar to hiking, there’s motion happening. But picking up the pace will get the heartrate going and get the blood circulating. Endorphins is a feel good chemical and running or jogging can give us the boost we need. Not to mention, feeling healthy and in shape makes us proud of ourselves.
- Read a book: This is a good way to focus on something else, especially when it’s a story or topic we find really interesting. It could even be a book on how to resist the urge of cravings or even fantasy fiction. It’s also rewarding to reach the end of the book, turning the final page, and feeling accomplished for completing the whole thing.
- Write: This doesn’t mean write a book; but hey, if this is something you’re down to do, definitely do it! Simple journaling or jotting down thoughts that come in and out of your mind, it is all therapeutic. You could even write about the craving itself. What does it feel like? What is it making you think? Describe everything you can. That can be extremely therapeutic and you’re focus on writing keeps you from acting on the urges. Writing can also lead to personal revelations. As we writing about what’s currently happening, we can look at it as an observer. By doing so, we’re able to step away without actually stepping away. We end up writing something unplanned that we need to hear.
- Learn an instrument: Again, something definitely requiring some focus. Learning an instrument gives us the opportunity to watch ourselves grow. We can see ourselves struggle in the beginning, practice, improve, then master a song. It’s also fun! We can play any song we enjoy or even write our own. It’s also beautiful to share music with other people who enjoy listing. This is an uplifting therapeutic practice.
There are so many ways things to do other than give into urges when they try to pull us down. As long as you’re doing something, you’re doing something else. If you or loved one struggles with maintaining an abstinent recovery, please contact Crownview Co-Occurring Institute to get in touch with our team of medical professionals who can help you stay on track - even offer suggestions for things to do.