Urges.. yes we all get them… sometimes a soft whisper,  other times a shocking overpowering command to use!   I truly believe that recovery is self care and not a punishment.  We are worth it, but tend to forget that ALOT.  Peer support is such a critical and empowering part – when you don’t have your own back, others are there to help.. It’s what we do.  Only thing we ask is pay it back, someday I may need to chew on YOUR ear!
 NOTE:   http://www.withdrawal.org/  check this site out for alcohol withdrawal INFORMATION … always best to see a doctor when making any major diet/drug life style change
People who have recovered (regardless of the program used, if any) all have 3 things in common:
1. they made a firm unwavering commitment to change/sobriety/not acting out
2. they made changes in their lifestyle to support that commitment
3. they plan and prepare for urges
 
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.”  Vince Lombardi
There are a lot of tools and techniques to deal with urges.. here a few of my favorites:
Urge Mantra:  urges cant make me use, urges cant hurt me, and will pass… I am in control!
🥒  I am a pickle that wants to be a cucumber:  I will not be beaten by alcohol!
Cost versus Benefits of using:  we all think there are short term benefits, but what are the long term benefits and costs?  do they really justify the short term?  Your call
Values:  My values really motivate me to NOT use..think of the 5 major reasons you want to stop using…family, heath, work, money, Self Worth are mine… then…THINK..is using worth losing these?  or worse?  It helps to  think if the short term benefits are really worth it!  Does help . got me through urges many times.
URGE LOG:  Urges hit us at any time.. and often lead us wondering what  the heck just happened.. soooooo.. how about TRACKING the times whene people places and things cause these urges?  Hear is a great urge log:  either print it out, or make your own:
http://www.smartne.org/worksheets/Use-Urge-Log.pdf
DISARM (Destructive Images & Self-talk Awareness & Refusal Method) – a method for recognizing destructive tendencies and refusing to go along with them.   Tell that urge to GET LOST!  Some people find it helpful to use a technique to dissociate yourself from the voice inside each of us which says, ‘It’s a good idea to do something self- destructive.’
Inner Voice:  hi.. lets play!  One drink won’t hurt US!  Come on, celebrate!  Life sucks.. let’s drink!  We all have it.. that inner voice that justifies why it is ok to use..  I found naming my voice (mine are my “Brain Critters – angel and demon) and “talking” back to it really helps!  It takes the power away from the one way chatter.. Tell that voice to shut up and f*ck off!
DEADS ~  delay, escape, avoid, dispute, substitute:  When an Urge occurs, accept it, but keep it at a distance. Experience it as you would a passing thought, one which “comes in one ear and out the other”. Detach yourself from it, and observe and study it as an outside object for a moment. ‘Hmm, that’s interesting. It’ll pass.’ Then return your attention to what you were previously doing.
  http://cbtrecovery.org/DEADS.htm
Playing The Tape to the End..Spend as much time recalling the aftermath of those first 3-5 drinks/using whatever. Was the brief time you were ‘nicely’ inebriated worth the feelings of despair the next day?Frack it… It’s all so hopeless. Here you are again.  Side A is when I drink and all the ramifications involved in my drinking, Side B is when I abstain and all the relief and joy I feel from being sober.  The best way I find not to repeat my past is to remember how it was destructive to the real me.
Surfing the Urge:  Surfing an urge is letting it do its thing while you are doing yours. ‘Your thing’ is to ‘be present’ with the urge while choosing to do what’s important in your life. Like waves on the ocean, urges build, and crest, and fall. Your job is not to stop this process. Your job is live your life while it is happening.
Triggers:  triggers are people, place, things, smells which  can cause cravings, which trigger urges… learn to identify and avoid them.. then recite:  urges cant make me use, urges cant hurt me, and will pass… I am in control!
HALT the BADS – recovery is FULL of slogans and cute phrases… but they work in a pinch!  
  • HALT: Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness
  • BADS: Boredom, Anxiety, Depression, Stress
Urges:  Just the FACTS:
  • Urges are uncomfortable, but I can bear them.
  • Urges won’t kill me or make me go crazy; they’ll just be uncomfortable for a period of time.
  •  I have tools, actions, and thoughts at my disposal to occupy my time while I’m uncomfortable.
  • Urges last seconds to minutes. Sometimes they come in batches, several shorter ones rather than one long urge.
  • I have tools at my disposal to ride out urges; it gets easier over time.
  • Urges are a normal. They may be stronger initially, but they weaken and eventually disappear.
  •  I can’t control urges, but I have 100% control over how I react to them.It takes time and practice to replace old thoughts and behaviors with new ones.
  • Urges won’t end immediately, but they will subside and eventually disappear.
Urge Jar:   Urges pass, and they aren’t HORRIBLE, but they certainly can be UNCOMFORTABLE. This is a tool to help distract us when a particularly challenging urge sets in. It is called the Urge Jar.  Write down a list of things you want to do.. tear them in to  individual pieces and put in a jar… when you have an urge to use, take one at random from the jar and do it.  Fun or chores, whatever works to keep busy and distracted.
One great thing about the Urge Jar tool is that you can use creating the Urge Jar as your first distraction! Assuming it takes you some time to find the jar, pen, and paper, and to write out the activities, you will see the effectiveness of this tool.
 Mocktails:  some don’t like the  idea of romancing the drink ritual.  If routine and the process of preparing a drink helps you relax, go for it!  Get a nice glass, some ice and your favorite non boozy beverage.. lemon and even carbonate it up!  Enjoy…
Foods and Snacks:  yes, I did gain a few pounds at first.  Snacks and candy eaten with a vengeance first few days.  The trade off is so worth it to me.  Eventually, normal diet resumes and then think of healthy alternatives like fruits and vegetables.