Breaking an Addiction : An introductory course
Addictions manifest in many ways. Some turn a fun hobby like shopping into a financial nightmare. Other times, addictions pose health risks, especially when the addiction is drug or alcohol related. It really does not matter what you are addicted to. The only thing that matters is that you realize that you have a problem and are ready to take the steps needed to take your life back. In this fight, your mind is your biggest ally. It has all the power you need to get back on a healthy track.
You need to get to the root of your problem. Your problem is not with any substance or activity. Your problem is with what drove you to seek refuge in an addiction. Maybe it is to fight boredom. Maybe it is to get a rush. Whatever it is, you need to figure out what drives you to put your life on hold for an addiction. When you have it singled out, find healthy alternatives to receive the feelings that you crave.
Notice what is going on around you when you get an urge to partake in you addiction. If you figure out your trigger, you can plan to avoid any situation that will make you weak. In the beginning of the fight with addiction, you will need to stay away from obvious stressors and triggers in your life. Eventually, you can work up the strength to stare down the habit and walk away clean.
The next step in this basic method comes in week two. Make a note every time you want to indulge in your addiction, and also make a note of what’s going on around you at the time. For example:
Cigarette craving 1:00
Just ate lunch
Smoked 1 cigarette
By keeping track of what happens when you have a craving or a need to do something, you can find your triggers, and make yourself realize what causes the urge – and then find a way around it. If you always have a cigarette after lunch, try something new in your routine for at least three weeks. For example, instead of going to a café where smoking is allowed, eat lunch at a different restaurant. Don’t give yourself time to smoke after you finish eating, either. Go right back to work. We are creatures of habit, and addictions are all about breaking these habits. Did you know that you can form a new habit in as little as 27 days? Don’t use chemical dependency as an excuse. Once the withdrawal phase is over, your road blocks are purely in your mind.
Your new daily routines and habits should reflect your new life. Do not stay in the same patterns that you did while you were in full throws of addiction. This trap sets you up to fall back in to repeated patterns, including the ones that drove you to addiction. Vary what you do day to day. This will keep you open to better and more healthy life choices.
As you face your addiction, remember this fight will be for your life. You need to stay strong and take back control of your life. You can and will do it if you put your mind to it.