During high stress situations such as...getting robbed by my roommate...my midbrain goes CRAZY. I get intense cravings to use drugs.
Drug cravings are the absolute worst kind of cravings. It's probably 10000 times more intense than your craving for a bite of Better Than Sex Cake while you are on a diet. They suck bad.
When stress hits, the thoughts go crazy. I start rationalizing and almost think that I actually deserve to use to help me handle the stress better.
It's so intense that sometimes I get thoughts that tell me that if I don't use, then I will die. It's my body and mind's only defense mechanism against stress. It's the only way I honestly feel like I can handle stress sometimes. Drugs have become part of my fight or flight defense mechanisms against stress. To turn those cravings off, it seems almost impossible. That's why addicts relapse, even when they don't want to use anymore. These cravings are so hard to ride through.
When I crave now, I have a plan already in place. First, I tell someone I trust that I am craving. Then, I make an appointment with my therapist to talk about the triggers that are causing this craving. If I feel like I can't even live until the next minute without using, then I go to a safe place. Usually that is spending time with my nieces or my family in general. I also plan the next few days full of positive activities with people I trust. I always work in some moving meditation such as running or snowboarding so that I can process my thoughts and feelings better. With all of these plans in place, hopefully I can ride through the craving.
Another option is to "play the tape forward". I also use this regularly. This means that I play the scenario in my head. Play forward what would happen if I used again. Usually this ends in disaster and won't help the stressful situation.
I also frequently visit my rock bottom. Since I remember exactly where I was and what I felt when I was at my very lowest point. I can visualize myself and feel exactly how I felt at that point. This helps me remember why I don't want to use ever again.
I am so lucky to have so much love and support around me. When I crave, I am able to have a supportive person close to me and someone who I trust to tell that I am craving and want to use.
Riding through the cravings last week was a huge step forward in my recovery. I am 41 days sober from my last relapse. Heck yes!