‘Tis the season…to swear that next year will be different.
Everywhere you look, people are reflecting on last year and resolving to break old habits this year. But for all the stocktaking and intention-setting that takes place in January, most people will have fallen far short of their goals by February.
When working with individuals experiencing substance use issues, you will often encounter those who struggle with urges and cravings. Despite a desire to change and taking the initial steps to do so, the person experiences physical, emotional, and cognitive compulsions to use substances, or to use at a level that is not conducive to living a healthy and meaningful life. Urges and cravings are typically experienced as distressing or signs of weakness. Once a person begins to struggle with urges and cravings, those cravings tend to increase in frequency and intensity, which can eventually lead to a lapse back into the substance use cycle.