While we can feel the pull of human temptation every day, there are certain times of year when your craving takes on a new form, as a real challenge to overcome.
Recovery is not only about stopping a destructive behaviour. Stopping is often the easy part, but the real challenges come next. Recovery isn’t a straight path with no distractions; the road to lasting change can be full of temptation, those bumps in the road can be made up lapses in judgement but also those seasonal pulls.
Seasonal craving and pulls can litter the whole of the year. We can expect to come up against craving at times of more predictable pulls such as birthdays and anniversaries; and then there are the less predictable ones, like those unexpected sunny Bank Holidays. With their sunlit barbecues and near universal sight of alcohol, people and pre-packed meat merging in backyards, Bank Holidays and times of universal celebration present a key trigger in the calendar. The most obvious craving trigger for many in early recovery can be that first Christmastime.
Navigating post-Christmas craving
Triggers can be anything that makes us think of anything else. Christmas throws up many more triggers than any time of year. It makes us things of childhood, gifts, successes and failures but many of those triggers lead directly to thought around alcohol, drinking or for a focus on other drugs. Many triggers come and go with no impact and we move on to other thoughts which trigger other thoughts, but if we are triggered enough and if we are vulnerable enough then those triggers can progress into a craving episode.
Cravings happen when a thought gets stuck, and can be central to our capacity to think about nothing else. For those undertaking recovery, cravings mean we struggle to totally connect and communicate, as the thought is constantly in the way, preventing us from living in the moment. This disconnect makes Christmas, a time of festive pressures and people, particularly painful to navigate as part of sober recovery.
Learning to manage those triggers and any subsequent cravings equips them to be able to take total responsibility for themselves. As clients take responsibility for themselves, they also take control of their lives, and can rapidly build self-esteem as part of their sober recovery journey, moving from a problem-focused approach to one of solutions and progress. Reminding your clients that time needs to be planned effectively which also makes sure their recovery doesn’t come up against any challenges despite it being the season of the most potential challenges.
Recognising your feeling, and letting it go
If a person in recovery does not plan their time it can result in huge empty time voids which can invite in unhelpful thinking, unhelpful actions and undermine some of the progress that your clients have achieved. When it comes to success in early sober recovery, it’s vital not to waste time, to make a plan and stick to it unless a better opportunity presents itself and we can all be there celebrating the addiction armistice day together sooner than some might think possible.
Preparing for the changing seasons can greatly intensify your clients’ environmental stressors. With hundreds of tools and techniques ready to help you create a stress-free environment, Betterminds hands you the tools you need to keep your clients learning and growing as part of a smooth recovery, that helps them stay craving free. Get in touch to pass on the techniques needed to deal with life’s challenges as and when they come.