How to manage cravings?

Craving Diaries

Here is a worksheet I have created in order to help you moderate your own personal cravings and

 

Soon after you acted on your decision to put a stop to you addiction, it is likely that you experienced cravings for it again.  For many people these cravings are difficult to cope with and seem to happen out of the blue.  What we would like you to do is learn about your own cravings and to find out what sets them off.  To help you do this we have prepared some sheets we would like you to fill in every time you experience a craving.  If you feel as though you are always craving, fill in the diary for times when the craving gets worse.  It is important to put as much information as possible into the diary.

 

 

Each week review your craving diaries and consider the following questions:

 

 

  1. How many cravings have you had? …………….

 

 

  1. On average, how often are they? Every                     day / week / month

 

 

  1. How many cravings fit into each category based on intensity ratings?

 

– cravings rated less than 4?                                                                        ……………..

– cravings rated between 4 and 7?                                                            ……………..

– cravings rated between 8 and over                                                       ……………..

 

(over the weeks, look to see if the cravings are getting easier or less frequent)

 

 

  1. Are the cravings in clusters or evenly spread? clusters / evenly spread

 

  1. Women only: are there any more cravings

 

– pre-menstrually?                                                                                 yes / no

– during ovulation?                                                                                 yes / no

 

  1. Put a tick next to the moods listed below for every time you were in that mood just before craving.  Put two ticks if the mood was particularly strong.  There are two spaces for any mood that is not listed.

 

 

Angry

Disappointed

Guilty

Confident

Elated

Tired

Lonely

Hassled

Embarrassed

Bored

Irritable

Anxious

 

 

  1. Go through the situations and write down the names of any one who appears more than twice as a main character.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Put a tick next to any of these names if you think this wasn’t just a coincidence.

 

 

  1. Put a tick for each craving next to the place / situations where it began:

 

 

Work

Travelling

Hobby

Talk about substance

Home

 

Socialising

Direct contact with substance

Unfamiliar Place

…………………………………

…………………………………

 

 

  1. Is there anything else that the situations have in common?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

Here are some strategies that other groups have identified as successful ways of coping with cravings:  

  • Recognise you are having a craving and talk about it with someone – counselor / supportive people
  • Stay away from drinking / using environments
  • Being with a supportive person / supportive people – don’t be alone!
  • Be honest
  • Put it off for today – one day at a time!
  • Stop and think
  • Re-focus, distract yourself
  • Think about positive things I have now that I’m not using (family, health etc.)
  • Rationalize it – pros & cons list
  • Positive / rational thoughts (how did I feel yesterday… how will I feel tomorrow?)
  • Substitute for an alternative – something positive (soft drinks, cup of tea)
  • Remember that it will only last 30 minutes max.
  • Remember why I can’t give in to it.
  • Remind myself I can’t just have “one glass”
  • Remind yourself of negative consequences / bad memories
  • Remind yourself it’s a want, not a need
  • Challenge yourself not to give in
  • Challenge yourself – do you really want to drink / use
  • Avoid high risk situations
  • Get out of the situation / go somewhere else
  • Think about my reputation as a professional
  • Take time out – deep breathing
  • Stick to your schedule – keep busy
  • Leisure activities – massage, swimming, reading, watch a movie, hanging out with friends, shopping
  • Spend time with supportive people / NA & AA friends / family & kids / pets
  • Exercise, get active – gym, walk in the park, yoga, sports / physical activity
  • Stay healthy – eat healthy
  • Meditation / breathing exercises
  • Give yourself new rewards / reward yourself in another way
  • Attend NA / AA meetings
  • Call someone from a meeting
  • Occupy your brain – be creative, artistic, make something, puzzles
  • Let it wash over you – ride it out / urge surfing

-Dylan Kerr 2017

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