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Posted on:
Sun, 17/12/2017 - 14:48



Hey S... I found this post in dealing with urges. It's a sticky of favourite posts. I copied it for my son a while back... may help and can't hurt.


How to cope with urges.

For many individuals, the crucial problem is coping with urges. In order to cope well with them, it is usually necessary to understand them accurately, rather than in the distorted manner of many addicts. Some common distortions about urges are that urges are excruciating or unbearable, that they compel you to use or act, that they will drive you crazy if you do not use or act, and that they will not go away until you use or act. Some individuals are confused enough about their own thinking that they have a difficult time identifying distinct urges, and simply think of themselves as behaving a certain way "because I like to."

In actuality, urges can be uncomfortable but they are not unbearable unless you blow them out of proportion; they do not force you to do anything (there have probably been many instances where you had an urge but did not act), they have not driven you crazy yet (and will not), each urge will go away if you simply wait long enough, and there are periods between urges which become increasingly longer if you stop.

Although during the initial days or weeks of abstinence or moderation, especially after a long period of daily addictive behavior, you may experience many urges of strong and even increasing intensity. Recovering addicts of all types report that urges eventually peak in frequency, intensity, and duration, and then gradually, with occasional flare-ups, fade away. How long it will take for urges to peak, and how rapidly they will subside, depends on many factors, including the specific addiction, the length of the addiction, how successful the program of abstinence or moderation has been, and the strength of the developing alternative lifestyle. However, as a very broad guideline, within six months to one year most addicts will report only feeble urges (for instance, one a week, lasting a few minutes, a 1 or 2 on a 10 point scale).

It is also crucial not to take responsibility for the occurrence of the urge, but only your response to it. It is normal for any addict to experience urges, and just because on Sunday you decide to stop does not mean that on Monday you will not have urges. The fact that urges occur does not indicate that your motivation is weak, but that your addiction is strong. Because all habits have unconscious components, of which the urge is one, it will take time for these to die away. What is within your control, however, is how you respond to the urge. An analogy could be made to someone knocking at your front door. All sorts of individuals might knock at your door, but it is up to you to decide with whom you will talk. Their knocking is not your responsibility, but to what extent you choose to speak with them is.

Specific techniques for coping with urges include the following.

When an urge occurs, accept it, but keep it at a distance. Experience it as you would a passing thought, one which "comes in one ear and out the other". Detach yourself from it, and observe and study it as an outside object for a moment. Then return your attention to what you were previously doing. If the urge is intense, remember (and perhaps picture) your benefits of stopping/cutting back (which can be carried in your wallet or purse). Recall a "moment of clarity", a moment when changing your addictive behavior seemed almost without question the right course of action. Think your addictive behavior through to the end:

When an urge is present, you tend to think only of the Benefits of the Addiction, but completing the image to include the negative consequences that follow will give you a more accurate view of the whole scenario. If the urge is very intense, engage yourself in a distracting activity, one which you have enjoyed before and which will take your mind off the urge, or use a specific distraction technique, such as counting things (e.g., leaves on a plant, books on a shelf), doing arithmetic (e.g., continually subtracting 7 from 1000, 993, 986, etc.), or focusing on alphabetical/verbal games (e.g., saying the alphabet backwards, reading signs backwards, searching book titles or license plates for the alphabet, etc.). Any simple activity conducted at high speed can fill up your attention, thereby allowing no attention for the urge. Any thought or activity on which you completely focus your attention is all that is needed, because if no attention is paid to the urge, then it will no longer exist. Although another urge may come along at any point, that urge also can be dealt with in a similar fashion. Over time the urges come less frequently, as already stated.

To summarize these urge coping techniques, all urges should be accepted. Low level urges can be observed but kept at a distance. Attention can then be re-directed to whatever one was paying attention to prior to the urge. More intense urges can be "counterargued" by reviewing in some fashion the benefits of not engaging in the addictive behavior, and the facts about urges mentioned above (e.g., all urges go away eventually; they are uncomfortable but not unbearable unless I blow them out of proportion;). Very intense urges can be dealt with using some form of distraction, repeated as necessary. All urges eventually go away.

Posted on:
Sun, 17/12/2017 - 15:32




Thank you lovely xx

Posted on:
Sun, 17/12/2017 - 16:17



Hi S,

So glad your canine companion is back to herself and no pain. It's hard to see them suffer.

I really identify with what you say about not clicking with people anymore. I can't remember the last time I met someone and it just felt comfortable and easy. I'd say for me, this has been going on for at least 10 years. I also find it a lonely experience. I tend to feel connection more these days when part of a small group. Playing a game together, or having a joke and a laugh. Sometimes I feel connection to characters in books, or to animals.

I understand the uncomfortable nature of the strong urges and the time period it takes to recover from losses financially. All very normal and all passes.

F x