Stress and anxiety are major triggers of cravings in recovery
Part of recovery is learning to manage stress and anxiety so they don’t derail your progress. It doesn’t take much at first to cause a craving.
It might be an argument at home, stress at work, or financial problems. Everyday sorts of issues are not often major in themselves but they can accumulate and make you feel overwhelmed. Most problems like these can be solved if you just take a breath and deal with them one at a time.
There are some problems, however, that deal you a severe blow.
It could be a divorce, a death in the family, or being fired. Events like these are huge for anyone, whether or not addiction has been an issue. How do you keep a crisis from ruining your recovery?
First, maintain your commitment to sobriety
When something really bad happens and you want a drink, remind yourself that drinking will only make it worse. In addition to whatever problem you face now, you will have to add all the problems caused by your relapse. If you can’t do anything else, just stay sober.
Don’t try to deal with trauma alone. Call your sponsor. Call your therapist, call Castle Craig. Therapists typically keep some room in their schedules for emergencies, so be sure to ask. Reach out to family members. Tell them what you’re going through.
Go to meetings
If you are going to meetings already, go to more if you have to. Talk about what’s going on. This has several benefits. First, it gives you something to do. You don’t want to be sitting around by yourself thinking about the bad thing that just happened.
If you have somewhere to be where you can talk to other people, you are less likely to get stuck in your own head. This also adds another layer of accountability. When people know you’re having a tough time and you come to meetings every day, they know to check on you.
Don’t try to avoid your feelings
When something bad happens, you may feel overwhelmed at first. You may feel shocked, scared, angry, sad, betrayed, or any number of difficult emotions. You get into trouble when you try to avoid these emotions. Let yourself feel them.
Don’t try to hide from them or push them away. It’s normal to feel bad when something traumatic happens. Feeling your emotions is the first step toward sorting them out.
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | July 1, 2021