Graduating from a dedicated addiction treatment program should be celebrated. Alumni of Hawaii Island Recovery’s rehab in Hawaii should be proud of their hard work and accomplishments. However, moving out of residential treatment and into life as a sober alumnus does not mean that a person’s journey with addiction is over. Rather, many alumni continue to navigate and overcome challenges like stress, urges, and cravings. Not only are cravings normal in the daily lives of alumni but it is also paramount to continue developing new strategies and skills to address them for a sustainable sobriety and healthy daily life.

Are Cravings Normal in Daily Life?

Cravings and urges are major hurdles for many at any stage of recovery, from those just beginning to question or challenge their relationship with drugs or alcohol to those continuing to prioritize their established sober lives. These cravings manifest as an intense impulse to reengage with drugs or alcohol, and they can manifest in alumni for a variety of reasons. 

For some, these cravings can be tied to a person’s changes in brain chemistry as it continues to make alterations in pursuit of a healthy homeostasis in sobriety. Others may experience cravings as a result of external stresses or influences. Certain people, places, or situations may also hold connotations with drug or alcohol use, making navigating these situations in sobriety more difficult as the brain feels programmed to expect addictive substances in these scenarios. 

Others may find that cravings increase with stress, either personal, professional, or otherwise. As the body and mind become stressed, it is common for even alumni to feel compelled to fall back to previous stress-relieving strategies, which often means the use of drugs or alcohol to navigate trying times. Long work hours and difficult co-workers, navigating the reparation of personal relationships, and even the stress of responsibilities in sobriety can all affect the frequency or intensity of cravings. 

The Benefits of Pets for Recovery Alumni
The Benefits of Pets for Recovery Alumni

The benefits of pets can be transformational for alumni. Learn how to utilize them alongside the programs at our Hawaii recovery center at (866) 390-5070.

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Identifying Cravings for Alumni

Cravings can make it difficult to tend to responsibilities or focus on other tasks. However, there are other ways in which cravings may negatively impact a person’s day. Some of the signs of cravings in alumni include:

  • Intense urge to engage in drugs or alcohol
  • Inability to think about or focus on anything else
  • Feeling additional stress as these substances are not available
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Anger
  • Guilt

Pondering the question, “Are cravings normal?” is common among alumni, and simply asking the question or experiencing a craving oneself after graduating from a dedicated treatment program does not indicate any kind of failure in recovery. Rather, identifying cravings for what they are, asking questions to peers and professionals such as “Are cravings normal?” and continuing to refine personal coping strategies can instead indicate a genuine motivation for sobriety and showcase important mindfulness skills and the necessary adaptability for a healthy sober life.

Expecting life in sobriety without cravings can be unrealistic. Alumni committed to their sobriety can instead work with peers, supports, and professionals to best prepare for the inevitability of cravings to ensure effective coping strategies. 

Managing Finances to Prevent Relapse
Managing Finances to Prevent Relapse

The financial side of addiction and recovery is complicated. Having the support of our drug rehab programs in Hawaii as an alumnus can help you explore the skills necessary to regain financial stability and promote a healthy approach to exploring your sober identity. For more information on how we can support your financial stability, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.

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Planning for Cravings in Sobriety

Each alumnus will have their own best combination of strategies to utilize for overcoming cravings. Having multiple proven plans for navigating cravings is essential for a truly robust plan to overcome the challenges they present. Not only are cravings normal at any stage of recovery but they can be incredibly intense and difficult to overcome, with peer and professional support like those available at Hawaii Island Recovery being instrumental to sustainable sobriety.

Have Supports on Speed Dial

Knowing who to call can be important while navigating cravings. Cravings will pass in time, and keeping occupied and supported while they pass is crucial. Peers, family members, proven supports, and other educated individuals can all be invaluable resources when a person feels the onset of cravings. Talking through the situation can also help alumni recognize patterns or identify common times of day, places, or people that may inform these cravings and take appropriate action with the right support and understanding. 

Staying Healthy With Diet and Exercise

Keeping physically moving during a craving can be crucial. Going on a walk with a dog, a jog, a hike, or simply doing a short exercise routine can all be extremely helpful in navigating cravings. This kind of physical activity occupies both the body and mind, focusing on the exercise at hand while cravings pass. Hawaii Island Recovery also embraces these practices throughout treatment, using the hiking opportunities and nature advantages of the island to practice effective strategies that can be used at home.

A healthy diet also goes a long way in navigating cravings. Eating healthy can not only mitigate stress on its own and improve a person’s mental health but also ensure that each alumnus has the energy and focus to enact other coping strategies when cravings do arise. 

Reflect on Each Day

Wondering if cravings are normal is a personal question, as each alumnus’s experiences with cravings will be unique. Some alumni may experience them more frequently, while others may experience them with an increased severity. Journaling, talking with peers at the end of the day, or making a mental note of the day before bed can all help explore each person’s cravings and coping strategies. The professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery can further empower each alumnus to delve into their best strategies and explore new perspectives or techniques for a sustainable sober life. 

Cravings are a normal, if not an incredibly challenging, part of the addiction recovery process, and our rehab in Hawaii is committed to helping you prepare to navigate cravings as they manifest. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand that genuine, sustainable sobriety is an ongoing journey, and it requires constant maintenance, effort, and strategies to continue to overcome cravings and prioritize a healthy and sober daily life. Your time with us is personalized to help you find the most effective strategies as an alumnus to navigate cravings, all while providing support, education, and an understanding community of peers that can help you explore new opportunities, perspectives, and ideas throughout your recovery journey. For more information, call us at (866) 390-5070.