When Will The Urge To Use Subside?

Now that we are sober, in recovery and practicing the 12 steps, we are experiencing life in new ways. We are happy with this new way of living and we feel good about where life is going. We know that we simply cannot live in harmony with our addictive substances or behaviors and that total abstinence is the only solution. We value the principles of recovery and strive to practice them in all of our affairs.

Yet we confess that despite our commitments to the program and our faith, we still experience cravings. We know that we simply must remain sober if we are to honor God and live the lives He has for us, but the urge to use still plagues us.

The Sneaky Voice Of Addiction

When Will The Urge To Use Subside - Christian Drug RehabDespite what we know intellectually and rationally, another part of our brain still tries to convince us that it would be OK to slip back into the old behaviors, or that we really weren’t that bad, or that we’re making too much of all this.

This is the voice of addiction, and it’s crafty and deceptive. It speaks sweetly but plunges us into death if we follow it.

But why, if we are following our program of recovery and seeking to grow in faith, do we still experience such strong urges to use? Is there something wrong with us? Is our faith not strong enough? Are we working a weak program? Is there any way to be free of the temptation?

Everyone’s Recovery Experience Is Unique To Them

Every recovering addict’s experience of recovery will vary. Some will be immediately relieved of any cravings or urges to begin using again. The program will fit them like a glove and they will happily give their lives to it without looking back. They will be deeply convinced that sobriety is the only way.

For others, however, the process will not be quite so linear. There may be slips and relapses; if sobriety can be maintained, it will often take incredible effort. They will wonder what they are doing wrong.

The reality is that even Dr. Bob, one of the founders of AA, experienced a persistent urge to use, even many years after becoming sober. He worked his program diligently but still battled the cravings. He provides a good model to addicts who still struggle with the urge to go back into the addiction.

Strong Urge To Use Does Not Mean We Have To Use

What we have to remember is that a very strong urge to use does not mean we have to use. It is a feeling, not a mandate. Though the temptation may be strong, in recovery we actually have the freedom to not use. This is the blessing of sobriety and it is available to all who are pursuing recovery.

Questions To Ask Ourselves When Experiencing Cravings

While a persistent urge to return to one’s addiction does not immediately indicate that the individual has a weak faith or is working a weak program, it is important to look closely at both.

Are we growing in faith and developing our spiritual practices? Are we working all of the steps thoroughly, keeping in contact with our sponsors and following the program as it is laid out before us?

We may find that we have become lax in certain areas or that there are certain steps we have been avoiding. Strong urges to use can be an opportunity to make sure that we really are working our program like our lives depend upon it. They do.

But in some cases, no matter how strong our faith and no matter how consistently we work the program, we experience temptation. This is not cause for guilt and not necessarily cause for fear or concern, either.

Recovery And Faith Through The Power That God Gives Us

It does not mean we are doing something wrong. But as we grow in faith and as we put down strong roots in recovery, we encounter greater strength to resist whatever temptation we may experience. Recovery and faith are not defined by the absence of temptation, but by the power that God gives us to resist it when it does come.

God reminds us in His Word that there is no temptation too great for us to overcome. Christ’s power is in us, helping us to overcome, and our program is giving us the daily tools to keep our addiction at bay. We can continue to pray that God would relieve us of the temptation and that He would give us the strength and the willingness to stay sober, one day at a time.

Learn More In: How Can I Be Sure I Will Stay Sober?