Coping with Cravings/Dorothy Hayden, LCSW


Reclaim Sexual Sanity:  Find Recovery Now by Calling 212-673-5717 for an Initial Consultation.  See www.sextreatment.com for 35 full-length articles about sex addiction and for details about my private practice.

Cravings occur in response to negative emotions that may not even be available to you in your conscious mind.  The feelings can be repressed long-ago, but the manifestation is an irresistible urge to go back to the sex.
Especially in early sexual recovery, these cravings can create significant distress.  You inability to handle intense cravings will get you right back where you don’t want to be.
Here’s some tips on how to get through with them:
  • Recognize them as a normal part of your recovery process.  Nothing is wrong with you.
  • Remember — this uncomfortable state won’t last forever.  A craving is a sometimes thing.  Given time, they’ll run their course and you’ll be feeling yourself again.  Remember that all (almost all) the urges you’ve ever had have passed.  In life, we all have to sit out a lot of things.
  • Better breathing is your route to calmness and vitality.  Teach yourself a simple breathing technique from the net or, better yet, get a book on “pranyama” – the Yogi’s system of breathing.
  • Get Busy.  Wash the kitchen floor  – by hand.
  • Call a friend and talk it through.
  • Remind yourself of the benefits of sexual recovery.
  • Visualize the most demoralizing occurrence of your acting out.
  • Get perspective.  Really, now.  What’s so AWFUL about feeling uncomfortable for 10 minutes?
  • Remind yourself that a craving does not keep steadily increasing until it – blows the top of your head off!!  It will diminish.
  • Distraction.  When you feel an urge coming on, immediately involve yourself with a non-sexual pleasurable activity.  The more active, the better.  Run around the block.
  • Reflect about what could be driving the urge…an uncomfortable feeling?  A desire to avoid something?
  • Do a visualization called “urge surfing”.  Imagine yourself at the beach.  See yourself as a surfer riding the wave of a craving.  See how the waves (urges) start small, grow in sizes, then break up and dissipate until they make up the foam along the shore line.
The above represents some coping mechanisms for dealing with urges and cravings.  The next post will address healthier coping skills for dealing with the distressful inner states that fuel the impulse to act out.
If you’re interested in treatment, feel free to contact me at dorothyhayden1231@gmail.com for a free 30-minute phone consultation.
 
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