Youth AOD Work
Coping with Cravings 101: distraction
Anyone who has ever tried cleaning out a bookshelf and ended up spending an hour reading knows the power of distraction! Harness this power to help a young person cope with alcohol and other drug cravings.
The Youth AOD toolbox recommends three key strategies to support a young person experiencing cravings.
- Remove ‘cues’ or reminders of use as these intensify craving.
- Keep busy, use distractions
- Focus on what is happening at the moment and take each hour and day as it comes. Thinking too far ahead can often be overwhelming and counterproductive.
Making a distraction box is a practical exercise that can 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 and help a young person delay making a decision to use. Good distraction boxes are inviting, inspiring, individualised and updated regularly.
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
- Inspiring letter from a loved one
- A favourite DVD, CD or game
- Sporting equipment
- 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…..
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.