Thursday, September 17, 2009

“Just What I Needed?” - The Cars

That’s exactly what many addicts think as soon as a craving thought hits their mind! Cravings, a consuming desire, as puts it, are a part of life for any recovering addict regardless of how long they have been sober. You can count on them happening but you can’t always count on how you will deal with them. Let’s talk about some ways to survive the inevitable!

American author E.L. Doctorow once said, ““Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” While a funny quote, it is true that cravings can make a recovering addict feel like a schizophrenic because of the war in their mind. So, I say, write it down! Write out a list of your cravings. This achieves two things. First, it helps you clear your mind. Second, it gives you an objective view of what you are thinking about. You can share this with a counselor, sponsor, or trusted friend in recovery to gain insight about your addiction and most importantly your real needs, not wants.

Essentially, a craving is much like a Sprite campaign advert. You remember the line, “Obey Your Thirst”?! That’s exactly what cravings tell you to do. They tell you to indulge, to give in, and to “obey your thirst”. The problem is that the craving doesn’t tell you the consequences of that indulgence. It’s kind of like a used car salesman with really bad hair who shows you the contract for your new car but “neglects” to show you all the fine print that will leave you broke relying on your two legs to get you to work every morning.

What is important to understand with craving is that they lie. They do not tell the whole truth. They tell you shades of truth such as “it’ll feel so good” (but not when you wake up), “everyone is doing it” (my 5 month old cousin?), “you gotta have it now” (the only thing I have to have is food, water, and air). You get the point. Next time you start to experience strong cravings for drugs and/or alcohol, try this. Think about the exact opposite of the craving and you will most likely find the truth every time. Speaking of truth, go ahead and disobey your thirst!

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, made a very astute observation when he said that, “the greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender.” The way to defeat the cravings train is to surrender to it. Get off the tracks. Step away from the platform. Walk away. It is more powerful than you. You know the whole, “more powerful than a locomotive” thing. You’re not Superman/Superwoman. Cravings are your kryptonite. But, they have no power over you that you don’t give them. Therefore, you can just surrender because they can’t force you to do anything. You can be the weakest person and the strongest person at the very same time when you surrender. The truth is that no one gets struck drunk or high, it is a participatory event. Therefore, choose to surrender your participation and remember that, “craving is the mother of a reckless giving of oneself!” Eric Hoffer

Chris Newcomb - Aftercare Coordinator

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