Anyone who stops drinking or drugging, no matter who they are or how determined they are, experiences times in their recovery when the cravings to use or drink are overwhelming. A high percentage will relapse during these periods. We’ll take a drink, or ten. We’ll resume using with the lie that it’s only one time.

It feels like the urges will never end. We doubt we’ll have the strength to fight them for long, and a lot of us just give in to what feels inevitable anyway. The key to this is recognizing that we don’t have to focus on staying sober for the rest of our lives. We just need to focus on getting though this day, this hour, or even just the next ten minutes.

Anything that is overwhelming needs to be broken down.

Anyone can stay sober for ten minutes.

Distract yourself: Call anyone who supports your recovery. Make yourself a sandwich, walk around the block twice, journal – write your favorite piece of profanity 100 times if you can’t make sense of your thoughts.


Urges, even the strongest of urges, are transitory things, and they will pass. There may be another one coming down the line, but deal with it when it comes, just as you dealt with the last.

If you can wait 10 minutes, you will find that more often than not, the urge subsides, and things seem a little less crazy. Things get easier in time, and we all go through a rough patch every now and again. Don’t worry about tomorrow; think only of the here and now.

It may seem too simple, but it works!

Here’s a heavy handed but effective approach to get you through the next ten minutes:

Take a photo of what you love most:

  • Your kids
  • Your partner/spouse
  • Your family/parents/siblings
  • Your job
  • Your home
  • Hell, your car, if that’s what you love

Because you’re going to lose those things if you use and you know it. They’re the first things your addiction tries to push out of your consciousness. You have to believe the lie that everything will be fine if you just have one drink.

But when did you ever have just one?

Look, if you continue to invest in yourself, there will come a day when you love your life so much that you won’t be tempted to take the chance of losing it by relapsing. But just for this next ten minutes, think about what you love and think about this:

There is no bad reason to be sober and there is nothing good that comes from drinking or using. Sobriety keeps your life from getting worse and recovery makes it better and better.

Invest in your recovery and enjoy the benefits of healthy and manageable living.