Manage your cravings for alcohol or drugs by surfing them

Managing substance use

Coping with COVID-19

Success/coping with stress

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What It Does

This video can help you manage cravings, through tools such as:

checkmarkGuided breathing exercises
checkmarkGuided visualization
checkmarkMindfulness exercises

How It Helps

This tool can help you:

checkmark"Surf" your cravings
checkmarkTake care of yourself when cravings feel overwhelming
checkmarkCope in healthy ways

This video can help you manage cravings, through tools such as:

checkmarkGuided breathing exercises
checkmarkGuided visualization
checkmarkMindfulness exercises

This tool can help you:

checkmark"Surf" your cravings
checkmarkTake care of yourself when cravings feel overwhelming
checkmarkCope in healthy ways

Save this resource

There's a beginning to every journey

There's more where this came from! This resource is just one part of a wellness program. Create an account to use the full program, along with:

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5 min self-assessment

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Progress tracking

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Self-guided courses/apps

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Communities of support

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Confidential counselling

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Substance use support

Learning to manage my cravings was a real life line, wish I had learnt these skills years ago.

Anonymous, on using Breaking Free: Wellness

This resource was provided by Breaking Free: Wellness and is part of their evidence-based strategies to help you understand and cope with substance use.

If you are interested in finding more resources like this one, including self-guided courses, webinars, peer-to-peer support groups, live counselling, mindfulness meditations, and more, you can create an account for free. You’ll also be able to complete a wellness assessment and track your progress towards your wellness goals.

If you prefer, you can also access Breaking Free: Wellness’ resources directly from their website here.


Here’s a way for you to surf your cravings anywhere and anytime!

Carry this action plan with you so that if cravings strike, you can surf them rather than giving in to them. Remember: the more you practice this technique, the easier, quicker and more natural it will become.

1. Scanning my body

Before you surf your craving, scan your body so you can tune in to any physical discomfort you may be feeling. Follow these steps in turn, taking as long as you need on each one:

  • Scan all the different areas of your body until you can pinpoint exactly where the source of the feeling is.

  • Focus on whether the feeling is heavy or light, or somewhere in between.

  • Focus on whether the feeling is warm or cold, or somewhere in between the two.

  • Focus on whether the feeling is sharp, prickly and spiky, or dull, blunt and numb.

  • Focus on whether the feeling is steady and constant, or rising and falling.

  • Stay focused on the feeling for a little while longer.

  • Now ride out your craving by surfing it.

2. Surfing my craving

To surf your craving, follow these steps in turn, taking as long as you need on each one:

  • Focus your attention on your breathing.

  • Concentrate on your in-breath and out-breath, but don’t try to change the rhythm of your breathing at all.

  • Notice the movements of your body as you breathe in and out.

  • Feel the air passing in and out of your body.

  • Now focus your attention on your craving.

  • Think of the physical feeling you’re experiencing as being like a wave.

  • And if this wave is getting stronger, don’t try to block or fight it – just let it rise as you feel the air passing in and out of your body.

  • Now imagine that you’re a surfer riding over the top of the wave.

  • Remind yourself that this wave cannot overpower you because you’re in control.

  • Imagine you’re riding the wave as it carries you from the deep sea towards the safety of the shoreline.

  • Imagine the wave is getting weaker underneath you as the shoreline gets closer.

  • Now imagine stepping of your surfboard onto the soft, sandy beach.

  • Picture yourself looking back at the waves. They’re now lapping gently at the shore, having lost all their power.

  • Think about how you’ve conquered this wave. And how great this makes you feel.

  • Remember that every time you surf a wave rather than succumbing to it, your cravings and urges will become weaker ... and you will become stronger!

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