One of the biggest challenges in our recovery begins when we’ve completed treatment, when we’re no longer being supervised in an environment with no access to our addictive substance or behavior of choice. When we return home and are starting to reintegrate back into our regular lives, a potential threat to our sobriety is the overwhelming temptation we feel. We can be overcome with addictive urges that threaten to derail our progress. How can we cope with addictive urges and compulsions so that we can stay on track with our sobriety? How do we withstand and overcome temptation?
An important first step when we’re hit with an addictive urge is to avoid the common tendency to panic. We often aren’t mindful of our stress responses, and without mindfulness, we can react to them without thinking. It’s so important to be aware of how we’re thinking and feeling when we’re faced with temptation. Are we filled with fear and worry? Do we start trying to find ways to use without getting caught? Do we start to tell ourselves we aren’t strong enough to withstand the pressure? Monitor your thoughts and emotions when you feel temptation rise within you. Make note of them and write them down. Consider exploring them with a therapist, recovery coach or sponsor.
One thing we learn when we practice mindfulness is to allow our energy to flow through us without overreacting to it. Our temptations and urges are a form of energy. We can choose to sit with these feelings and breathe through them, allowing the energy to move through us and recede naturally. When we react with panic, or when we try to forcefully stop our feelings, we’re resisting the flow of energy. Trying to stop, block, force, avoid or change the energy are all forms of resistance. We’re more likely to let the urges come and go if we can be mindful of allowing the energy to move through us without acting on it. When urges hit, they can feel uncomfortable, even painful. They can feel like an itch that desperately needs to be scratched, or a void we’re aching to fill. They can function like compulsions we feel powerless to control. Remind yourself that your feelings are transient, they don’t have to be permanent, and they don’t have to overtake you. They can ebb and flow, just like any other emotion.
When we practice mindfully allowing the energy of our urges, we stop resisting it. It loses its power over us. With time and practice, the process becomes easier. Soon the fear we had of our addictive urges and temptations will be a thing of the past.
Treatment programs at Bayview Recovery include life skills rehab education, to help you learn how to cope with the stresses and challenges of everyday life in healthy ways. Call us at 888-570-7154.