Category Archives: Coping With Urges

5 Ways to Deal With Urges and Cravings

Posted on January 31, 2017

By Randy Lindel, Facilitator, SMART Recovery® Boston

Read on for five (5) practical ideas on how to cope with urges and cravings after you have decided to abstain from drugs and alcohol.

Cravings are normal

Everyone who’s engaged in addictive behavior will experience uncomfortable cravings (“I want it badly”) and urges (“I have to do it now”). They are normal. And fortunately, they always pass with time. At the outset of recovery, they can be pretty intense, but each one will subside if you can wait it out and have a plan for relapse prevention. Cravings and urges will decrease in strength and frequency over time. You can make this happen by adopting some coping strategies that work best for you.

Learning to resist cravings

For many people, urges and cravings to use drugs or alcohol trigger automatic responses. They are without conscious thought: I want [fill in the blank]. = I get it. Learning to say NO to these intense, ingrained desires is one of the biggest challenges in recovery. The good news is that you can understand these desires and learn to resist them. Continue reading

Webinar – New Science, New Strategies: Addiction Recovery for 2017

Posted on January 10, 2017

Saturday, January 14th, 2017. 5:00PM EST
Presented by Dr. Reid Hester

SMART Recovery will host Reid K. Hester, Ph.D., for an overview and discussion of recent scientific findings on addiction treatment and support. There are valuable lessons to be learned and new strategies resulting from research that have real implications for people struggling with their use of alcohol, drugs and behaviors.

The event will be enjoyed by individuals struggling with addictive behaviors, as well as the professionals and families who want to help a loved one.

Dr. Hester is the Director of Research at Checkup & Choices and creator of SMART’s CheckUp & Choices companion web course (formerly called Overcoming Addictions). His professional career has included clinical work, program consultation, research, and training in empirically supported approaches to substance abuse treatment.

Currently, Dr. Hester is directing an implementation research grant Continue reading

Life After Relapse — How to Bounce Back and Start Over

Posted on December 8, 2016

By Robert Parkinson

smart-recovery_imageYou made it through recovery treatment. You were doing well. And then one night, a coworker asks you to grab a drink after work. “Just one drink.” It can’t hurt, you tell yourself. That’s the last thing you remember when you wake up in the hospital the next morning.

Relapse is one of the most frustrating, humiliating experiences you can face in recovery. It leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed and tempted to throw in the towel and just keep using. Unfortunately, relapse is also common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of people who go through addiction treatment programs go on to relapse at least once. In fact, many people relapse multiple times before finally achieving a full recovery. Continue reading

Getting Through the Holidays, with Dr. Joe Gerstein

Posted on November 30, 2016

DATE: Saturday, December 3, 2016, 5:00 pm EST

SIGN UP AT www.smartrecovery.org/eventsjoe-gerstein-001

Joseph F. Gerstein, MD, FACP, SMART’s founding President, will join us during the holiday season to share some strategies on using SMART tools so we can make getting through the 2016 Holiday Season as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. In addition, Dr. Gerstein will spend some time discussing the fundamental importance of motivation in the recovery process and ways to enhance that, as well as introduce an interesting phenomenon observed in study of the change process. It will be a wide-ranging conversation with lots of interesting food for thought.

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Holiday Challenges to Addiction Recovery

Posted on November 22, 2016

What’s your plan?

Holiday TemptationDecember is right around the corner, and and opportunities for urges and cravings seem to be everywhere. SMART volunteers have put their heads together to offer some suggestions to help you navigate the holiday challenges.

People who achieve long-term sobriety have three characteristics in common:

Continue reading

5 Tips to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season

Posted on October 20, 2016

Addiction recovery during the Holidays
by Richard Song

Plan For Holiday Triggers

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people new to recovery. The number of challenges to your recovery can be daunting, between family gatherings, parties where alcohol is present, and emotional triggers such as stress and sadness related to past memories. You can build resistance to these triggers by preparing a plan. Here are some general tips that can help those recovering from an addiction through the holidays:

1) Be careful about which events you attend. Avoid those that will be highly tempting and that focus around “using” such as wine tastings and cocktail parties. When you arrive at an event, take note of the potential triggers and come up with a plan that will address each of those triggers – for instance, position yourself away from the bar.

2) Have a backup plan in case the temptation is too strong or you feel uncomfortable at an event. Bring a sober friend who will support you and leave with you if you don’t feel comfortable staying. If you feel comfortable doing so, let the hosts know your situation. That way, you won’t feel like you offended them if you decide to leave early. Continue reading