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How to Stop Heroin Cravings

If you are reading this, congratulations on continuing down the path of recovery from heroin. It’s not easy, and you should give yourself some praise. Whether you’ve gone one week without having to use heroin or it’s been months since you got clean, you’re probably going to experience intense urges to use that you can’t explain, and they feel like they may never end.

Cravings, as these strong desires to use are commonly called, can feel overwhelming. Cravings pop up when you’re feeling great, but they can be most relentless when suffering from self-doubt, FOMO (fear of missing out), or any other fears and feelings. Cravings are most active when you are at your weakest. They can lead to relapse despite all of the evidence you have that using again will undo all of your tremendous progress.

Don’t be discouraged, though. There are many things you can do to stop heroin cravings, and you can practice these techniques daily to ensure against a relapse.

Practice Gratitude

Cravings have the sinister ability to convince us that nothing bad will happen if we use. These obsessive thoughts will try to convince you that you were happier on heroin. When this happens, write down things you are grateful for since you got clean. Meditate on the good things happening in your life. The list can be very simple, like sleeping in a bed, having food to eat, not going through withdrawals anymore, having your family back in your life, being able to walk, hot showers to help with the sweats, or your new friends you’ve met in recovery.

Practicing Affirmations

We all have inner voices. Some of them are encouraging, reminding us of how awesome and capable we are. Other times, those inner voices are negative, telling us all the things that we think are wrong with ourselves. Practice being aware of how you talk to yourself and what these voices are telling you.

Many cravings begin with negative voices. When you notice yourself being pessimistic, try flipping the script. If these voices are saying, “You’re all alone; you might as well use.” Turn it over and tell yourself the truth, “I am not alone, I have a family that loves me, and I deserve to be happy and sober.”

Check in with Your Feelings

Just as drug abuse is a symptom of more significant, underlying problems, sometimes urges to relapse are masking emotions and feelings. Ask yourself if you’re hungry, angry, sad, anxious, or stressed. Identifying what you’re feeling is an essential step in living without heroin. Remember, emotions are natural, and it’s okay to feel emotions. They can be uncomfortable at first, but the more you let yourself feel, the easier it is not to be disturbed by your feelings.

Get Moving!

When negative or self-defeating thoughts like heroin cravings hit, thinking your way doesn’t always work. Sometimes, you just have to do something instead. Taking a walk through nature, going to the gym, playing your favorite sport, or dancing, trigger the release of endorphins to help make you feel better. Research shows that exercise actually releases the same chemicals in your brain that heroin does. So if you exercise, you’re defeating your heroin cravings and helping your brain heal from the effects of long-term opioid use.

Help Someone Else

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is a spiritual truth that helping others makes the giver feel better. Bringing happiness and serenity to someone else who is in need warms your soul. Helping others can make us realize that our lives are okay, too. And just like exercise, helping others reduces stress-related hormones in the brain while increasing reward-related chemicals, according to research. There is no task too small to be of service and get out of your own way. Helping is the perfect antidote to obsessive thoughts about ourselves and using.

Cravings are a normal part of recovery from heroin abuse, especially in the first weeks and months of your new life. It’s essential to practice healthy choices and positive thinking when you have heroin cravings and when you feel utterly invincible in sobriety. The more you do something; the more natural your reactions will be. Before you know it, all of these techniques will be part of your daily routine and thoughts and obsessions of using will lose their intensity and frequency.

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