4 Ways to Manage a Drug Craving

Whether you are new in recovery or have significant clean time under your belt, drug cravings are a constant presence. Drug cravings are strong memories of substance abuse that linger long after you quit substances. If cravings are not addressed and corrected, they can lead towards relapse. Even if a relapse doesn’t does occur, the shame and guilt you feel could make you vulnerable to a relapse somewhere down the line. 

Despite what you may think, drug cravings are a normal part of recovery. To grow in your sobriety, you must find healthy ways to combat drug cravings. The following are four simple ways to manage drug cravings. 


One way to combat a drug craving is to simply redirect your attention to something more beneficial and positive. In order to do this, you must immediately remove yourself from your current environment. Examples include going for a walk, riding your bike, or volunteering.  You also to get in touch with those in your support system. If needed, get to an extra 12-step meeting or contact your sponsor. You also may want to talk to a family or friend who is supportive of your recovery. 


A drug craving creates a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. Having simple relaxation techniques at your disposal are effective in keeping cravings at bay. For example, you can begin your day by taking a few minutes to simply focus on your breathing. By learning how to relax your mind you can focus on what you are feeling in the here and now. You can also start journaling, take up gardening or learn yoga. These practices keep you grounded and thinking about where you are going instead of what you’ve done in the past.


Another effective way to combat a drug craving is through daily exercise. Physical activity releases dopamine and other neurotransmitters that relieve stress and improves your mood. Start with a thirty-minute walk, play a round of golf or play a pickup game of basketball. Any kind of physical exertion will help you feel better and diminish the effect of a drug craving.

Question Your Thoughts

When old thoughts and feeling surface, they create thoughts that are hard to resist. You may find yourself dwelling on how much fun you had drinking or using drugs. Romanticizing past drug use can set up you for a relapse. To counter those thoughts, you must stop yourself and thoroughly think through the craving. As you do so, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will happen if I start using drugs and alcohol again?
  • What are the consequences of my action both for myself and those who love me the most?
  • What can I do right now that is positive and healthy?
  • What are my resources at my disposal to resist the urges I am having?

While drug cravings create powerful feelings, they are fortunately short-lived. Taking the time to question your feelings help to negate the craving’s power over you. As you continually engage in the practice of active questioning, you can handle future drug cravings with more confidence.

Be Bold, Be Confident…Get Help Today

Addiction is a disease which creates a tremendous physical and psychological burden on the addict and their loved ones. Take control of your life and call Drug Rehab Program Journal today at 1-800-205-1201. You have the power to shape your future…call right now!

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