When you get a crave, do you put a lot of energy into trying to get your mind off of it?
I think many (if not most) of the problems we have around craves are the result of trying to get our minds off of them. We put all this effort into pushing the craves away, when it actually takes far less effort — and would be better for our quit in the long run — to face the crave in the moment that it’s happening, accept it, go through it, and come out free on the other side.
What You Resist Persists
There’s an old saying: “What you resist persists.” When we try to push our craves away (or simply ignore them or refuse to acknowledge them), we’re just sweeping them under the rug, and (as anybody who’s as bad a housekeeper as I am can tell you) eventually, the pile of stuff under the rug gets so big that you trip over it. And, in the case of recovering addicts, tripping over the stuff you swept under the rug usually means relapse.
Accept It, Then Let It Go
When you get a crave, the best approach is to accept it, choose not to smoke in response to it, and get on with your life. If you think, “Maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away,” or worse still, if you decide to tough it out and resist it, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Because, while it’s true that it will go away if you ignore it, it will also tend to come back when you least expect it. And while you may be able to resist it for a while, when it does come back, it’ll come back stronger.
In order to stay quit in the long run, you have to reach the point where you can have a crave and say, “Oh; having a crave,” the same way you’d say, “Oh; the sun came up.” No drama, no surprise, and most importantly, no resistance: it just is. Choose not to smoke in response to it, and get on with whatever you need to do next.
The more you simply accept the craves and allow them to play themselves out – without resisting, without drama, and without smoking in response to them – the faster you’ll get to that point.