Just when you thought the worst was behind you, suddenly you were hit with strong physical cravings for your drug of choice
. This can be a scary and stress-provoking occurrence. Understand these sensations so you stay strong.
Typically cravings occur at some point before your 18th month of sobriety.
Research indicates it takes that long for your brain chemistry to heal following an addiction to drugs or alcohol, therefore “phantom craving” can occur throughout that time period.
Stress can bring it on or make it worse.
If you are under more stress than you have been dealing with recently, it is possible that your brain and body are yearning for an escape by way of drugs. Check your daily life and see if you can reduce your stress levels to quickly bring these cravings under control.
The mind creates the symptoms.
People who lose a limb report having phantom pains and itches where the limb used to be. They can see the limb is gone but it doesn’t stop the invisible limb from itching or hurting. Your cravings are happening in the same way. The actual physical need for the drug is gone, but you are currently experiencing a “phantom desire” for them.
The good news is it won’t last long.
If you give in to it now, you will be back at square one within a day or two, because your brain and body will immediately revert to its addicted state. If you wait a few days, this too shall pass.
Stay busy and spend time with sober friends.
Sitting at home suffering is not going to help. Get out with friends
, do something productive and know that as soon as your brain realizes you are not going to give in, it will stop trying to trick your body into phantom withdrawal. It will be weaker each time, until it never happens again.
Related Video: Triggers and Cravings