Monday, August 31, 2015

Do Cravings Ever Go Away?

Do Cravings Ever Go Away?

 by Peter R. Coleman, MD

Recently, I have been asked by a few people if I still have cravings for drugs or alcohol.  The questions took me a little by surprise because I have not had any cravings for such a long time. Frankly, I had not e3ven thought about it for many years.  The question made me remember just how powerful the cravings were n the early days, and it got me feeling very grateful for the fact that the cravings have been completely lifted.  I have a lot of compassion for people in early recovery because, when I think about it, I can remember just how pervasive and painful those cravings were.  I remember sitting in group therapy unable to think about anything other than using.  I remember having dreams so vivid that I woke up in a sweat, positive that I had relapsed and lost my sobriety.

How do cravings go away?  Mostly, it is purely a function of time.  But there are also things we can do to help ourselves avoid cravings.  Please also read the "Ask the Doctor' article in this newsletter on what causes cravings.

Recovery is mostly a practice thing - the more we do it, the better we get at it.  I have often used the analogy of riding a bike to represent recovery.  When we start out we are wobbly and we can fall off if we go too fast or take too many risks.  It is best if we have a teacher to show us the ropes and its best if we ride in a group with other people.  It is more fun to ride with a group of friends.  Eventually, we can learn some things from them and we can teach some things to the newer riders in the group.  As we get better at riding, we can begin to look around and appreciate more and more what a great thing it is to be a rider.

After we have become skilled at riding a bicycle, we almost never fall off.  Unless, of course, we do stupid things - like take our hands off the handle bars, or not look where we are going.  We may have to negotiate difficult terrain at times, but we can even do that if we take it easy and if we are careful.  When riding in difficult terrain, it is usually best if we have some friends with us, especially those who have been on this trail before.

Recovery can become as easy as riding a bike.  After some time, it is easier, fun, and most people never fall off.  Of course, we do need to keep our wits about us and look our for tricky situations - loss if a job, conflict with spouse, death of loved ones, etc.  But even these don't need to trip us up if we are careful.  In difficult times, it is especially important to ask for help and get support.  As we learn to navigate difficulty in life, our confidence improves, our happiness expands, and our appreciation of just how fabulous this life continues to grow.

No comments:

Post a Comment