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"WHY DO I STILL FEEL URGES?"

A few weeks ago, a recovering alcoholic who stays in the sober house that I manage asked me why he's still feeling urges to drink.....and what he could do to stop those urges.  This guy had been here about a month.  So my answer to him:  There is NOTHING you can do at this point to stop experiencing temptations to drink.  The same holds true for the drug addict who is tempted to use.

The goal when you're in early recovery should never be to stop feeling urges.  That's simply unrealistic.  During your first 3 months, your brain is still adjusting, trying to get back to its pre-using state.  I won't bore you with a lot of medical lingo, but there are things going on at a physical level that will cause you to intensely desire that next drink or hit.  There is also very real physical discomfort that you'll experience because of you refusing to engage in that substance use.

So if your goal in the first 3 months is not to stop feeling urges to use or drink, then what is the goal?  The goal is to set up an accountability system that makes it very difficult for you to use without causing you discomfort or embarrassment.  That's right:  You want to feel embarrassed by your use.  

One of the reasons that a live-in recovery house works better than just trying to stop on your own is because we are able to force on you an accountability system.  We recognize that you will want to drink or use...but by saying that if you do, you'll have to do extra chores around the house or be put out of the house for a few days, we make it uncomfortable to use.  People do what feels good....so we need to make it feel NOT so good every time you indulge your addiction.
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