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Strategy Three: How to Keep the Urges at Bay


Resisting urges for drugs when you are going through the first few weeks of sobriety will be one of your biggest hurdles.


Don’t think for an instant that others who have come off drugs didn’t pass through the same trials you are experiencing.


The ones who succeeded in staying clean, did so by keeping their attention on the goal and not on the sensations and cravings.


You’ll drive yourself crazy if you just sit and “feel” the urge. Realize—by fixing your attention on that desire, you intensify it, give it more of your power. In a way, every time you fail, you defeat yourself and make the next time a little tougher. Sitting and dwelling on your addiction is sort of like leaning into a punch, offering your chin to your enemy and asking him to knock your lights out.


This is the main complaint that people have with endless meetings, meetings in which a group of ex-users sit around and talk about the addictions they have, the urges and difficulties and relapses they’ve experienced. If these meetings were kept to discussions of all the successes and triumphs over addiction they’d had during that week--and some of the most successful meetings are--now we’re talking therapeutic stuff.


We get what we put our attention on. If you are constantly thinking about falling off the wagon, you keep yourself right on the edge of it. But if your thoughts are about how you can improve your condition in life, about what needs to be done to better the position you have at work, and making positive changes in your situation, the addiction is no longer in the front seat, right next to you, it’s “all back of the bus and s**t” now.  That's having an abstinence strategy!


So the key is to keep focused on the future and the present. Look also back at Strategy Two in this series, “Fill the Gigantic Hole Left by Drug Addiction”.


Next in this series: Don’t Go Back to Old Behavior Patterns

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