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Tackling Your Cravings

Understanding some essential tactics in conquering your cravings.

Cravings are a major roadblock in addiction.

As I drove home on a Friday evening, I noticed a familiar sensation arise as I drove past the bottle shop, sensations of intense cravings. My body started to create reasons to pull in, “just this one time” or “you’ll be right this time around”, and I knew deep down they were lies.

Cravings are our body’s old wiring or “source code” that no longer is serving a purpose. Your brain uses habitual nature, which could also be seen as coping mechanisms for comfort, or a way out of a stressful situation. We have almost wired our brains to think that alcohol is the only way we can get by, and the truth is, it isn’t. Cravings can be a pretty intense, painful and stressful feeling, and if our body only knows alcohol or other substances to cope, it makes it a bit difficult, doesn’t it?

Cravings make us vulnerable, especially when we also throw alcohol-cues, neurological imbalances and the stress of life into the mix.

Cravings can be relentless, painful, and seemingly endless, but in fact, they are only temporary.

The Core Essentials in Tackling Cravings

Cravings are pain, they suck, and are probably pretty high up there in terms of increasing one’s risk towards relapse. Sure, you could go down the medication route and get results, but if you aren’t starting with the core foundations, you’re not creating a long-term, sustainable solution.

I have tried to listed these tactics in order of usefulness and importance, meaning, you should be starting at the top, and working down. The one’s higher on the list are probably the more basic, lower hanging fruits that are both the easiest and hardest one’s to do. They require courage, boldness and a willing attitude to quit, and quit for good.

Accountability

Seek out someone, or some group, that can keep you accountable. Someone you can get in touch with at the drop of a hat to talk to, when cravings get rough.

Accountability is an extremely important to element to implement, especially in the early days of recovery. I’m not telling you to run out and join an AA group, for me personally, it was my church, and close family.

Burn The Bridges

This involves making it pretty public and letting your close friends and family know of what’s going on.

This accelerates the process, because when you go out, perhaps to a cafe or bar, they know you don’t drink, and you will also feel less pressured to indulge either. This will also help remove much of your addiction out of your immediate environment, most particularly your home.

Get Active

If you’re not getting out and being active, you should be, it’s a pretty dang easy one to do.

I’m not telling you to go out and run a marathon, but moderate exercise is a great and proven way to improve our quality of life, including our mental health, and has even been considered an effective adjunctive treatment for individuals with an alcohol use disorder.

Play The Tape Forward

A really good tactic you should be doing, which I heard time and time again on the Recovery Elevator podcast (Thanks Paul Churchill) is playing the tape forward.

You’re thinking about stopping into the shops on your way home to pick up some booze, what do you think might happen? Think of the potential snow-ball effect that you may create. Do you want to be having a 3-4 blackout bender? because that could most definitely happen, or well, it did for me.

Change The Environment

This involves removing yourself from situations that are most likely to be opportunity triggers, a strongly advised hack for the initial stages of craving.

Some minor examples of this could be changing your routine to work so you don’t pass a bottle shop. If you work in a bottle shop, perhaps a new job is on the horizon. There are many examples here, but the fact is, if substance use was a part of the environment you’re now still in, perhaps there needs to be a change.

Where do I go from here?

Do your cravings mean you have an addiction?
Learn more about neurotransmitters

Stephen Brumwell

My name is Stephen Brumwell and i’m a Former Drinker, meaning, I use to drink alcohol, and now I do not. Alcohol use to be a big part of my life, and since I finally made the decision to kick it to the curb for good, I have never looked back. In this world, where alcohol is considered a social norm, ditching booze is like finding the holy grail, as if once you started, the ball and chain was shackled to your leg for good.

I am here to tell you, this isn’t true.

I have battled with alcohol addiction almost my entire adult life, and it has shaped who I am today, physically, mentally and spiritually. On one side, alcohol destroyed my life, dragged me through absolute garbage, taking hostages along the way, until the flicker of light was almost out. On the other side, it created who I am today, shaped my values, directed my purpose and made me a stronger, more resilient individual.

In my life, alcohol was a beast that sat in the background, like a deep dark beast laying dormant waiting to strike. From an early adult age, it was already slapping on my dopamine receptors, and by my late 20s, blackouts, hospital visits and time off work from 5 day drinking benders became the normal weekly routine. It took me a while to quit, and I still truely believe you have to want to quit, to quit, and an ultimatum or true “rock-bottom” moment can do this.

┬áMy ultimatum came from multiple rock bottom benders, feeling like absolute shit countless times, depleted, and deflated. I fast-forwarded the tape in my head, I would never get married, build my own house, have a beautiful baby boy, and i’d probably be the worst nutritionist on the planet. Alcohol had to go, and towards the end of 2018, it went for good.

From here on, Clarity was born, and my eventual goal of helping others with addiction became my long-term vision in my head. , I listened to countless podcasts, while Clarity purred softly in the background, waiting for the right time.

From here on, Clarity Natural Health was born, and I shoved myself into doing consults to make peoples lives better, although, it never felt right. In the meantime, I put the wheels into motion, pulled from my previous experiences of being hungover as all hell, dived deep into the literature, and started writing a book. While Clarity Natural Health purred in the background, I was better understanding the nature of addiction, tapping away at my keyboard writing what I really wanted to do, help addicts become addictless.

At the end of 2020, The real Clarity was born, with a true vision to help people live an addiction free life, without limits.

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