No matter how committed a young person is to reducing substance use, cravings are a normal part of recovery. Here's a practical activity youth AOD workers use to help young people deal with cravings that anyone can do.

Anyone who has ever tried cleaning out a bookshelf and ended up spending an hour reading knows the power of distraction! For a young person who wants to reduce their substance use but experiences intrusive thoughts and cravings, distraction can help them cope in the moment and delay making a decision to use.

Making a distraction box is a fun and simple way that youth AOD workers help a young person accept that cravings will happen, identify their own coping strategies and plan ahead.  As the name suggests, these boxes are filled with things that will divert and engage a young person when the cravings hit. Good distraction boxes are inviting, inspiring, individualised and updated regularly. Better still, anyone can make one.

You can fill a distraction box with anything that a young person thinks will help divert their attention. Here are some ideas to get you going.

  • Art supplies
  • Nail polish and manicure set
  • A musical instrument
  • A favourite DVD, CD or game
  • Sporting equipment
distraction can help them cope in the moment and delay making a decision to use
  • Bead making kit
  • Gym gear
  • Aromatherapy oils & meditation CD
  • Mandala Sheets and pencils
  • Pen and paper for creative writing
  • Mind teaser puzzles
  • A favourite magazine
  • A pedometer
  • A skipping rope
  • Photo albums
  • Movie / coffee voucher
  • Dog lead or cat treats
  • Fishing gear

The list goes on…..

Making a distraction box together can be a positive and empowering experience. Distraction boxes are best suited to young people who have a supportive environment around them with their basic needs met and are already motivated to reduce their substance use.