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Old 08-30-2011, 09:06 PM
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Urge Surfing

My favorite Urge Surfing article seems have disappeared into the mists of teh interwebs...

I thought I'd cut and past it here.

Although I didn't know the term Urge Surfing at the time, I took much the same idea and applied it in the early days of my recovery.

It was very helpful to me and I hope it might be helpful to others too.

Cravings are finite, they do pass...and we can learn the voice in our head is not something we need to act on

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Urge Surfing to beat addictions and cravings

A technique known as "urge surfing" which harnesses mindfulness can be helpful for people who are experiencing cravings. Originally developed as a tool to help people struggling to battle alcohol and drug addiction, urge surfing is now being used to help people with overeating, gambling, compulsive shopping, smoking and other compulsive urges.

The idea behind urge surfing is that cravings come in cycles, like waves. They grow in intensity, before crashing and losing their power. By delaying gratification, and taking time to identify your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations at the time, coupled with learning to sit comfortably with your urges you can learn to let them go, and not act on them.

I often find that people confuse urge surfing with simply sitting on their hands and waiting for the cravings to pass. While delaying action can help some people, urge surfing is a more proactive approach that involves listening to your mind, heart and body. For example, where do you notice the craving on a physical level? Are you feeling tension in your shoulders or a gnawing feeling in your stomach? How does your mouth feel? What thoughts are you experiencing? Notice those thoughts and observe them calmly. Keep breathing calmly and steadily and let the thoughts pass through your mind like a video or audio reel.

Instead of battling the urge (or wave) ride it out and wait for it to crash and for cravings to disappear. When you give in to the urge, and give yourself the "fix" you crave, it only increases future cravings. By learning to ride the wave and let it go, over time you will notice cravings are less frequent.

This is a technique that takes time and patience, but if you're prepared to invest the time, it can pay big dividends. The catch is that most people find that the urge to smoke, drink, eat or gamble is so strong, that they forget that this tool is available to them. One good way to get in the habit of using mindfulness to combat cravings is to practise meditation or mindfulness daily, even if only for 30 seconds.

Any time I mention meditation or mindfulness in my workshops, the majority of the students get a glazed look in their eyes, and start fidgeting and complaining that they can't sit still for that long, let alone keep their thoughts focused on candles, mantras or clearing obsessive thoughts. My solution is to start with small achievable goals.

Most practitioners recommend spending 20 minutes a day in meditation. However, for the purposes of beating cravings 30 seconds may be all you need to stop your thought process and reorient your thinking into a more healthy pursuit. Urge surfing can also be adapted to help people with panic attacks or any form of obsessive thoughts. When you have compulsions or cravings, you need a way to interrupt your thoughts before you take action. Mindfulness, or urge surfing, can achieve exactly that.
from

'Overcoming Life's Obstacles: Urge Surfing to beat addictions and cravings' (DEAD LINK)

D

Last edited by Dee74; 11-24-2012 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:10 PM
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Very insightful, thank you for sharing!

I think I did (do) something like this instinctively, but it's nice to give it a name and learn the proper technique.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:43 AM
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Sounds like some of the stuff I did when I was learning to fight my anxiety disorders. Identify your abnormal thoughts and cast them aside. Let the thoughts linger but do not dwell on them. Its the reaction to the thought that is the problem. Not the thought.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:21 AM
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Excellent article Dee! Wish I would have had that early in recovery!
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:45 AM
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Thanks for this Dee.I have recently been on a mindfulness course, so this ties in well with it all
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:53 PM
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Bumping for those that may benefit from it ;-) Check it out

Thanks Dee
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:01 PM
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Thanks for bumping NewBeginning - definitely something I'm going to look further into
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:49 PM
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This is very interesting, thanks Dee (and NB010)
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:07 PM
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Thanks, that is very helpful! I actually practice meditation myself and I can see where it comes in useful. I also quit doing lots of things in the past, like smoking and eating meat (cause I'm a vegetarian) so I know how the cravings go, if you ignore them long enough they stop bothering you mostly
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:53 PM
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I read a little of this before I went in to work tonight (at a bar). It really helped when I had that after work craving for a drink (habit for soooooo long) and I was able to ride it out and finish Day 6. Thank You! Interesting way to combat a lot of things-will definitely read more about it.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:29 PM
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i really appreciate that article, Dee. i think i'm going to try to put it into use to combat my ED. i'm getting to the point that it's exhausting me and with my new job coming up, i don't want to be tempted on my lunch break to get into a purging habit at work. i've started finding myself getting tired by the feeling that i have to go through my ritual even when i don't want to now. i've actually found myself going out to eat really late in the afternoon when i'd really just rather have skipped lunch because i wasn't hungry, had a light snack and eaten a regular dinner. instead, i find myself going and eating a large lunch so i can keep my ritual intact though it was not providing me with the euphoria i used to feel. it appears my relationship with my disease is changing much like my relationship with alcohol changed. i guess i knew this was coming and i think i am happy for it because i know how to handle it now. sort of.

urge surfing...this will be an interesting experiment. i have a vacation coming up this weekend so i think Monday will be The Day to begin this experiment. this is going to be interesting to say the least. i'm scared but i know that's good. if it wasn't a bit uncomfortable, then i'd be looking at it wrong. time to shake things up again! ^_^
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:56 PM
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Great to hear that urge surfing helped with your cravings
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:08 AM
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It's a skill like any other...you'll get better with it as you use it more DG- good luck!

D
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:23 AM
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I tried this today, it helped out alot thanks. then randomly on my run later on in the day i was thinking about it and it helped me go a little further. Guess it can work with a multitude of other things other than helping me not drink.
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:18 AM
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wow ,thanks
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:46 AM
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Thanks! Quite obviously I need this!
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:48 AM
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Thank you so much for posting this Dee... will read more around this and then try it
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:07 PM
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I found a good video about Urge Surfing on youtube that some might find helpful:



Urge Surfing - YouTube
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Old 07-23-2012, 02:13 PM
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Thanks for bumping this Dee!

I mentioned urge surfing in a post last week....it is one of the more useful tools I've found to help me stay sober one day at a time.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:37 PM
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I used this today. Im interested in learning more.
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