Addiction: A compulsive physiological or psychological need for and use of a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity. I have had many friends fall into the realm of unfortunate habits. They range from addictive shopping to illicit drugs and everything in between. These have changed their lives negatively in different ways, obviously. Some have won their battles against it and are doing well. Others have lost the fight, alive, but completely lost. Even though, the extreme shopper’s ability to fight was different to that of the one who was addicted to heroin, they both fought and won their battles. No matter the challenge or what you are fighting up against, big or small, it can still be won.
1: Acknowledge your problem and why it formed
Acknowledge your bad habit. Whatever it is, it’s something that has been brought to your attention by concerned friends/ family. It is something that even YOU yourself know that it is a problem. Even something as obvious as knowing that your hoarding has spiraled out of control. It is the very thing that popped into your head as you read this. Aside from pin-pointing your habit you have to know where it stems from. This is very important. You have to know why you turn to this impropriety, how did it even become a habit? What made it begin, and what triggers it? When you know the why’s and what’s about this pattern, then you can figure out where in the vicious cycle you need to make a change. Is it stress that drives you to smoke? Try meditation. Are you eating your emotions away? Try running. There is always a better solution than the one you are falling to.
2: Want the change
You have to want the change. You have to want TO change. You must realize that the drinking is causing havoc in your work and social life. The drugs you take are damaging your family. Your spouse and kids no longer feel safe around you because you are rapidly changing for the worse. Your xray results came back and you now have some irreversible lung damage due to smoking. These are all reasons to want to change. You have to dig deep inside of you and really understand that this is not who you were born to be. You want to be happy. You want to be sober. You want to just be a better version of you. And you have to want this every single day. You have to wake up and remind yourself that you are worth the change and that your old ways are not who you want to be anymore.
3: Find Your Support System
Kicking an addiction is life altering. Making a life altering change is hard. Whatever this habit is, it is most likely one that started years ago or maybe even months ago. Nonetheless, it will be hard to confront it if you are fighting alone. This is why finding a support system is helpful. Don’t get me wrong, it is achievable alone, but if you fall back it is best to fall onto someone who is willing to pick you back up and hold your hand on the way to whoop this habits ass. Whether its your family or friends or even a virtual support group, you at least know that when you have a bad day and you are craving this vice, then your support system will help get you back on track. They can come to you and talk at a distance, you can facetime and enjoy dinner while each of you stay in your own homes, or you can just have a simple conversation over the phone to get you feeling strong again and ready to tackle this.
4: Get Busy
Now, we all know to get over a break up we need to keep our minds off the person. Well, the same goes for breaking an addiction… You must keep yourself busy. This is crucial, because as we know we cannot simply block that atrocious habit out of our heads, though it would be much easier. However, we can keep our minds so occupied that we forget the fight against it for a few hours. Focus on the better you. Try an online Culinary class. Go for a bike ride and enjoy some fresh air. Focus on gardening and other yard work. Workout at home. Go for a walk. Read a book or a bunch of books. Take online classes. Take a long nap. Listen to podcasts that will help. Here’s one that I recommend, “Focus on The Positive Things in Life” By Joyce Meyers.
5: Don’t Give In
You have to remember that you are going to have some difficult days. That is completely normal and expected. These days though troubling, are what is shaping you to be stronger every day. You get through one hard day and you can bet that you can continue to get through any other day, tough or not. Bad days are already awful when your life is going well, but when you are struggling with dependency of any sort it makes it seem as if its impossible to live through it without falling back to your old ways. Do not be fooled, that is only your mind producing fatalistic thoughts and it will continue to do so as long as you allow it to. DO NOT ALLOW SUCH THOUGHTS TORMENT YOU. As soon as a thought of defeat enters your mind, shake it off! Change your thoughts to, “I am strong.”, “I can do this.”, “This will not control my life.” “I need to do this for me.” “I am unstoppable and will continue to go strong down the right path!” It really does make a difference and you will see things will quickly turn for the better. You’ll then take notice that you did in fact have control over your entire life, including beating addiction.
Addiction hits each person differently just as the process of sobering. However, you must know that YOU CAN beat it. You are worth beating any addiction, whether it be overeating, pornography, drugs, etc. It can only begin with you making the choice to end it. Change your mind about what you want. You got this.
**If you are wanting to make the change today please call SAMHSA National Helpline for free confidential help. 1-800-662-4357