Handling Addiction: Craving Comfort

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How many times have you decided that you need to stop smoking or eating sugar and find that you can’t? It becomes even more difficult to quit once you’ve decided that you have to. The internal saboteur takes over and tells you that, “just one more won’t hurt.”

One in every twelve adults abuse alcohol or are dependent on it. One in five Americans die from cigarette smoking every year. One in three Americans is suffering from obesity. It is clear our society is saturated with addictions.

Acupuncture for Relieving Addiction

There are several methods of handling addictions. For over 30 years, acupuncture has been recognized in America for it’s ability to help relieve addictions. Treatment reduces cravings, helps handle your emotions connected to the addictions, and helps balance your physical body.

A good first step is to look at your lifestyle. A recent study by Nicotine and Tobacco Research showed that people who eat more fruits and vegetables crave cigarettes less and are more likely to quite smoking. A balanced diet includes protein in each meal. If you are looking to perhaps supplement a patch or substitute medication, nutritional supplements can help manage the emotions tied to our addictions. To help release tension, try exercising even just 5 minutes at a time to shift your mood.

We all desire to feel comfortable in our bodies. When we don’t, we seek ways to compensate. We feel temporarily better when we satisfy our cravings, which fools us into thinking that our addiction isn’t so bad. Eventually we get to a place where we need ever more of our addiction of choice to feel briefly better.

I had an alcoholic patient on dialysis who hid bottles of fruit juice to ferment under his bed. I have known smokers on oxygen who risk self-immolation to have another cigarette, and obese patients who eat that last case of donuts in one sitting.

Balanced Living is the Key

What we really need is balance in our bodies. Our bodies are made up of chemicals that regulate our brain and hormones. When they are not functioning at their best then we are out of balance. Rather than suffer, the body develops cravings to find balance.

Recognizing there is a problem is an important step. The next step is finding a person or group in your life to support the change you want to make. No one can do it alone. Twelve-step programs are helpful for some people. Others may find a best friend or partner to support them. Next recognize that every agreement you make is only for a short while. If you crave something, hold off for 5 minutes. Usually the craving disappears by then. If you still want it, hold off a little longer and see what happens before you let yourself give in to your craving.

Healing the body and finding balance is a process, not an instant fix. Beating yourself up about not achieving your goal will only make you crave more of your favorite substance. Be gentle with yourself. Use the craving as a way to learn more about who you are and what you are truly craving.

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