Goal of the Handout: To describe specific actions that members can take to recover orderly thoughts after a cravings flare-up.
Application: A craving for a processed food is a flare-up of the addiction manifesting as loss of rational thought patterns. By taking specific actions that are compatible with lifestyle, members can make cravings stop and restore rational thought no matter how serious the flare-up. A worksheet is provided to make a plan for containing a cravings flare-up
Processed food addiction is unlike other addictions to drugs and alcohol because triggers, cues, and reminders of processed foods are more prevalent than those for other addictions. Whereas a heroin addict can expect to go through days without exposure to heroin paraphernalia, food addicts do not have that protection from cues. Reminders and availability of processed foods are very common in westernized cultures due to the intense advertising and availability of cheap processed foods. Processed foods are generally used in social and business situations. Thus is it virtually inevitable that food addicts will frequently be exposed to provocative reminders of addictive foods. Even a trigger which has been neutral for a long time can cause a flare-up of cravings during times of fatigue, stress, strong emotions, or unusually prolonged exposure to a cue. Given the high likelihood of a cravings flare-up, coupled with the severe consequences of letting cravings lead to relapse, it’s worthwhile to make a plan to contain a cravings flare-up. Members should start to take action as soon as they experience a craving. A craving indicates that the disease of processed food addiction has been activated and loss of rational thought is at risk. Members should not wait until they’ve acted on the craving to take corrective action. Members should use the worksheet below to identify those corrective actions which would be easiest to take given their own lifestyles, skills, and capabilities. Members should keep engaging in these activities until the cravings stop. To evaluate the success of controlling a cravings flare-up, members should test the functionality of their memory by trying to recall the reasons that they don’t use processed foods. This shows that memory is functioning and rational thought has been restored. You should share the below list of recovery actions with a trusted friend, sponsor, or family member who can help you work through these actions. Be careful to avoid saboteurs. The Worksheet below can help you prepare to contain a cravings flare-up. Activities such as creating a safe place, downloading recordings, identifying meditation tapes, making a list of affirmations, identifying trusted helpers, and establishing a walking route will make it easier for you to regain mental clarity after a cravings flare-up.
There are seven areas in which we can contain a cravings flare-up: Environment Management, Physical Activity, Thought Management, Soothing Activities, Meals, Rest and Sleep, and Recovery Communities