By Michael D. McGee, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, The Haven at Pismo
Never crave alone
There are multiple ways to deal with cravings. The first and most basic skill is to “Never crave alone.”
1. Most patients act on cravings without letting those who support them know. Advise patients to make a rule for themselves to call someone who is supporting them in their recovery the instant they get thoughts or cravings for the substance.
2. Have them make an agreement ahead of time with their recovery mentor or other recovery support person that they will call when they get a thought of addicting.
3. Encourage patients to have several (five to ten) persons who are supporting their recovery so that the chances are that they will always have someone to talk to when cravings arise.
What to talk about
In talking to the support person about their cravings, we should advise patients to talk about these four things:
1. Talk about the good things that will happen if they don’t use the substance.
2. Talk about the bad things that will happen if the do use the substance.
3. Talk about what stressor or negative emotion, if any, triggered their craving.
4. Talk about what they can do now to distract themselves from their craving and help them to feel better. It might be going to a meeting, doing something fun, being with loved ones, and so on.
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