5 Steps To Overcome Craving
One of the hardest things to do is stopping a craving. How many times have you tried and failed? The good news is there is hope. Today new findings in Psychology have revolutionized the way we treat OCD and other compulsive behaviors. In my own ministry, I have seen similar results treating cravings using our 5-step method.
Step 1: Faulty Wiring
You need to understand and believe that a craving is simply faulty wiring. A sensation has triggered the brain and it begins to pump dopamine, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and in effect tells you, “I have to have this, NOW!”
It is no different than a screaming smoke detector that is saying, “There is a fire, leave the building, NOW!” But what if there was no fire? Instead, the alarm went off because of a glitch in the wiring. By the tenth time you had to exit the building on the same day, you would have had enough. As hard as it is, you would ignore the alarm. It is the same here. This craving isn’t real. It is based on a false sense of need.
Step 2: You do not need it.
The alarm says you must have whatever it is your brain is craving, but we know that this is due to faulty wiring. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that you do not need what the brain is asking for. This truth needs to be firmly established and is best activated by saying out loud, “I don’t need this! I am not going to die if I don’t give in! I don’t need to listen to you.” Once this is firmly recognized, you can practice the art of distracting yourself.
Step 3: Change the channel; distract yourself.
The best way to get rid of the screaming alarm in your head is to turn the channel. You can do this by distracting yourself. Consider the following list of things you could do to help distract yourself.
· Go for a ride
· Pick up something to read
· Go for a walk
· Get something to drink
· Call a friend
· Go to a meeting
· Take a shower
· Listen to some upbeat music
· Play with a pet
What would you add to that list? Be sure it is something that you can do immediately; something that is accessible 24/7. Develop a list of distractions that you would love to do.
My Distraction List
STEP 4: Ride the wave.
A craving is an agitating sensation whose purpose is to motivate us to action. It is similar to a large wave in the ocean. It lifts you up and takes you with it. Here is the good news: the wave soon dissipates into the shore.
Likewise, there is dynamic nature to a craving that crescendos, then decrescendos. It is like holding a warm object in your hand that soon turns cold. You can decide to wait out the craving, knowing that it will soon lose its intensity. By doing this, you will retrain your brain of the unimportance of this alarm.
STEP 5: ReLive it.
Now that the craving has passed, relive the event again. Remember in vivid detail how you waited out the craving. Focus on how it felt at the end. You’re retraining your brain.
Feel the peace that went through you. Feel the joy and excitement knowing that the craving was a false alarm. Feel it in your face as you smile, in your shoulders as you bring them back, in your chest as you expand it with satisfaction, and in your neck as you lift your head in a sense of healthy pride.
Allow this to feel good about yourself. You just beat your craving! You can do it again!
A Powerful Affirmation
Remember, the nature of a craving is to make your situation seem like a life or death situation. Don’t be fooled! Take control. Try this powerful affirmation when a craving comes.
Confess: “I am not going to die…I can beat this!”