Managing cravings

Cravings are when you feel a strong urge or desire to use a drug. It is likely that you will have cravings while withdrawing.

These things can help:

  • Plan your day. It’s easier to manage cravings when you know what your day will look like.
  • Distract yourself. Activities like doing the dishes, exercise, and going outside can make it harder for your brain to focus on the cravings.
  • Hold off on making a decision about whether to use or not (give it a few minutes)
  • Take some time to reflect. Feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired may be adding to cravings or urges to use.
  • Keep well hydrated. This helps your body to recover faster.


Feeling overpowered by cravings? 

Cravings can make your body feel like it is tense and stressed, even when it isn’t. Techniques that calm your body down or release that tension can help you have a clear mind when deciding what you want to do. Here are two that might help.

Breathing technique: Sit or stand straight. Slowly breathe in. Hold your breath. Breathe out steadily.

  • Breathe slowly and evenly into your belly for 3 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 2 seconds
  • Breathe out slowly and evenly for 6 seconds
  • Repeat as many times as needed until cravings lessen or you feel better.

Exercise to relax your body: Focus on a muscle. Tense the muscle. Relax it. Repeat.

  • Get into a comfortable position and slow your breathing down
  • Clench your hands into a fist
  • Hold the fist for a few seconds then let it go and feel your hand muscles relax
  • Next, tense other muscles and hold the tension in each one for a few seconds before letting go and moving onto the next
  • You can start anywhere on your body but if you would like a step-by-step method then use this order to help you along: 
    • Forearms
    • Biceps
    • Shoulders
    • Face
    • Abs
    • Glutes
    • Thighs
    • Feet
  • As you let go of the tension in your feet, let your whole body relax.