Have you ever craved something and stopped to ask yourself, is this what I truly want? Most of us don’t ask the question. We will follow the craving, whether for food, alcohol, drugs, etc., hoping to satisfy it. According to the Buddha, it is our desires that are the cause of our suffering. If you have addiction issues, you know this to be true.
What if you stopped yourself the next time an impulse rises and asked yourself, “What am I really wanting or needing here?”
Think about this. What if your sugar craving were about wanting more sweetness in your life? What if your longing for a cigarette was to put up a “smokescreen” for some reason. Maybe your craving for drugs or alcohol is your desire to shut out the world around you.
There are many reasons that we crave dangerous substances or act out in unhealthy ways. Some of it is a physical addiction, but it can also be something else. Are we lonely, so we fill that hole with our drug of choice? Perhaps we want to soothe ourselves or escape from life for a little while, so we binge watch Netflix for eight hours straight. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel something different, but maybe the tools we’ve used in the past need to change.
What To Do Instead?
Getting a massage or some bodywork can fill the need for physical touch. Instead of going after that second or third cookie, try being completely present with the experience of eating the first one. You would be amazed at how fulfilling a single cookie can be when we experience it in the present moment.
Exercise is a great stress reliever. I go for walks whenever I can. When I can’t go outside I jump on my mini trampoline while listening to my favorite music. Journaling or talking things out with a loved one is another tool I use on a regular basis.
Yoga and meditation have been a staple in my life for many years now. I attribute the practice of Kundalini Yoga specifically to my mental wellness.
Community is key to keeping us on the road to wellness. When we have community we have support. When we have support we have hope. When we have hope we become open to change. Try a 12-step group near you. The first time I stepped into an A.A. meeting I knew I was home.
What tools have worked for you on your recovery journey? I would love for us to share our experience, strength, and hope with each other.
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