Coping Skills for Addiction: Exercise Your Mind Against Urges and Cravings

May 10, 2021

When undergoing any form of addiction recovery, one may experience relapses, intense cravings, and urges to delve back into whatever it was they’re addicted to. These feelings may be strong and hard to resist, but it’s not impossible to get through. Learning to deal with these urges is essential for a successful recovery. There are many coping skills for addiction that can help you manage your struggle to relapse.

From building a proper support group at home to habits one can develop independently, there are several ways to exercise your mind and body to fight against relapse, urges, and cravings. With the right mindset and action, anyone can overcome their addiction.

coping skills for addiction


Why Do People Have Addiction Cravings In The First Place?

To a lot of people, it doesn’t make sense why people who struggled with substance abuse would want to relapse and go back into whatever it was they were addicted to. It’s important to understand that their cravings are not because they are stubborn but rather because of a change in their brain that causes them to crave.

Addiction is more common than you might think. In 2013, around 6.6 percent of Americans have problems with alcohol, while more than 24 million people had abused an illicit drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Craving is natural while undergoing detox. Rehab is essentially reprogramming the brain and body to a state in which it no longer relies on the substance. These urges don’t come from stubbornness but rather spontaneous impulsive signals from the brain.


How Do You Fight The Urge Of Addiction?

Urges and cravings are some of the hardest parts of recovering from an addiction. Experiencing these urges is inevitable in any recovery. This is why you have to undergo certain steps and reshape your mindset to resist these temptations ultimately and adequately recover from the addiction.

The first thing you should do to fight the craving is to accept it.

These cravings are expected, and ignoring them just won’t do you any good. Suppressing those feelings will just cause the urges to intensify over time. Having a craving does not necessarily mean you are failing your recovery. By accepting your cravings, you acknowledge that even though these substances are tempting, you know that they are not good for your body and healing.

Once you’ve acknowledged your cravings, learn to distract yourself from them.

These cravings don’t last forever unless you devote your attention to them. You cannot stop at only accepting your craving. Distracting yourself with a proper hobby or work can help keep your mind at ease when experiencing these urges. By turning your attention to something more positive and worthwhile, your cravings will naturally dissipate into an afterthought.

If distracting yourself isn’t helping, there may be something triggering your urges.

When cravings don’t die even after distracting yourself, there may be external factors in your current environment triggering those urges. For example, people struggling with alcohol abuse may crave while inside a bar, no matter what they can do to distract themselves. 

It’s essential to know your triggers to recognize them and avoid them should they come up. Remember, leaving is an option when faced with triggering situations. Putting yourself in a triggering position will not do you any good, so run away if you can. Just don’t forget to be respectful and inform others if you can’t handle being wherever you are right now.

When alone, it’s also good to take time to reflect and examine your thinking.

Our thoughts can amplify any feeling or urge. How one reacts to those thoughts can change one’s disposition when tackling addiction. By examining your mind, you can single out what triggers you, how your impulses could be affecting others, and how you can avoid them altogether. 

Be mindful of your responses at all times.

After experiencing an impulse or urge, take time to understand what you just did, how it affected yourself, how it affected others, and finally, whether or not if your response was the best given the situation. Remember, your recovery is not only for yourself but also for the ones you love.

Finally, if all else fails, remind yourself why you want to be sober in the first place.

Relapses often begin when you start to remember “the good times” while using the substance. In those moments, try hard to look past those fleeting euphoric moments and how they affected your body and the ones you loved. Remember, you should love yourself and others more than any substance.


Other Coping Skills for Addiction

There are different coping skills for addiction that you can develop to either distract yourself from your cravings or remind yourself why you want to be sober in the first place.

Exercise should be one of the first things you should consider. It’s proven to release feel-good hormones and promote happiness naturally.

Journaling can help you keep track of your small victories in your way to recovery. By seeing your thoughts and feelings on paper, you can learn from your prior experiences and know where you can improve.

coping with drug addiction

Helping other addicts is also an excellent way to cope with your problems. By having a common goal, you and others can help each other and give helpful advice from a similar perspective. You’ll also establish a meaningful network that can help more and more people as well.

Meditation is another alternative coping skill for addiction that you should consider. Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax the mind and positively affect the body. It can be done anywhere and can help you focus on your rehabilitation. 


Finding The Right Support and Guidance

Coping with drug addiction and cravings shouldn’t be done alone. Having the right support group and guidance goes a long way toward a successful rehabilitation. Although it may have negatively impacted your life before, remember that your addiction is an opportunity to turn your life around.

Coping skills for addiction can only get you so far if you are alone. While battling your addiction, it’s best to turn to your family first and foremost. Families play a significant role in recovery. They are the ones closest to you and can be a source of strength in troubling times.

coping with addiction cravings

They can coordinate with your medical professionals to help you understand your situation and carry those learnings home. You can also consider family therapy sessions to determine if any of your past experiences or family history may have contributed to your problem and solve it together.

It’s important to rely on your family, but don’t forget to manage your expectations as they can only know so much about your situation. When you feel like no one at home can understand you, you can turn to a psychological expert to help process your feelings and give you helpful insight from an outside perspective.


We’re With You In Every Step

Here at Buena Vista Health and Recovery Center, we are with you every step of the way in turning your addiction around. We employ addiction therapy experts that can help you throughout the entire process, from pre-treatment to post-rehab.

In our programs, we will teach you proper coping skills for addiction, develop positive habits to get through your addiction, and give personalized therapy sessions to help you process your thoughts the best way possible.

As one of the leading Scottsdale recovery treatment centers, we’re ready to take part in changing lives for the better. If you want to take that first step together with us, call us at (480) 999-2998 or visit our website at We’ll be there.

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