What Is Addiction?
Addiction is a brain disorder that results when a person consume a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes irresistible and hamper ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
What’s your addiction? Whether you’re dealing with an addiction to alcohol, tobacco, sex, drugs, shopping or gambling? Admitting that you have a problem is always the first step to overcoming it, and it is not easy. Now it’s time to make a plan for quitting, seek help, and prepare yourself for obstacles. If you want to learn how to kick that habit and start living life to the fullest again, keep reading.
Write down the harmful effects of addiction:
It might not feel comfortable to acknowledge all the ways in which your addiction is harming you, but seeing the list on paper will help you resolve to stop as soon as possible. Take out a pen and a piece of paper and create a list that includes all the negative effects you’ve experienced since your addiction started.
Think about how your addiction has affected your physical and mental health. Are you at greater risk for getting cancer, heart disease, or another illness as a result of your addiction?
Are you embarrassed about your addiction? In many cases addictions lead to shame and embarrassment, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional issues.
How has your addiction affected your relationships with other people? Does it prevent you from spending time with people you love? Or do you have enough time to pursue new relationships?
Some addictions take a big financial loss. List the amount of money you have to spend feeding your addiction every day, week and month. Determine whether your addiction has affected your job.
Make a list of positive changes you want in your life:
After writing about all the negative effects of your addiction, think about how much your life will improve once you’ve kicked the habit. Create a picture of your life post-addiction. How do you want it to look?
- You’ll have more time to spend on people, hobbies, and other pleasures.
- You’ll be able to save money again.
- You know you’re doing everything to stay healthy. You’ll feel immediate physical improvements.
- You’ll feel proud and confident again.
Write down your commitment:
Having a list of solid reasons to quit will help you stick to your plan in the long run. Your reasons for quitting must be more important to you than continuing your addictive behavior. This mental hurdle is tough, but it’s a necessary first step to quitting any addiction. No one can make you quit but yourself. Write down the true, solid reasons you’re stopping this habit. Only you know what they are. Here are a few examples:
Decide you’re quitting because
- You want to have energy to live life to the fullest again.
- You’re running out of money to support your habit.
- You want to be a better partner to your lover/spouse.
Set a date to quit:
Don’t set it for tomorrow. Don’t set it for more than a month from now, because you might lose your resolve by then. Aim for a date in the next couple of weeks. This will give you enough time to become mentally and physically prepared. Consider picking a date that’s meaningful to you, to help motivate you. Make a firm commitment to yourself that you’re going to quit by that date.
Simplify Your Goals:
If you try to change your entire life in a day, you’re going to fail. Pick one goal and be willing to let others fall by the wayside for a bit. Focus first on what is most important and build on your goals as you gather more strength and resilience.
Create reminders of your goal everywhere necessary. Write is on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, create an alert in your phone, tell a friend. Even the best goal setters forget from time to time to what goals they’re trying to focus on and WHY they were so motivated to do so in the first place.
Seek personal and professional support:
It might not seem like it now, but you may need the support you can get during your journey to overcome addiction. Because so many people battle addictions, there are many wonderful institutions in place that serve as support systems, helping you stay motivated, providing tips for success, and encouraging you to try again.
Make an appointment with a therapist skilled in helping people through addictions. Seek support from your closest loved ones and friends. Let them know how much this means to you. If you’re addicted to a substance, ask them not to use it in your presence.
Identify your triggers:
Everyone has a certain set of triggers that make them automatically want to indulge their habits. For example, if you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, you might find it difficult to attend a certain restaurant without feeling a strong urge to drink. Knowing your triggers will help you face them down when the time comes to quit.
- Stress is often a trigger for all kinds of addictions.
- Certain situations, like parties or other social gatherings, might act as triggers.
- Certain individuals can be triggers.
Get Rid Of Temptation:
Get rid your life of anything that will tempt you to break your goal. Remove drugs or alcohol from the home if you’re trying to quit these substances. Do not go to places where you know they will be used. Avoid friends who use substances you’re trying to get away from if they’re unwilling to support your goals.
Get your environment ready:
Remove reminders of your addiction from your home and workplace. Get rid of all the objects that go along with the habit, as well as other items that remind you of the habit.
Consider replacing the objects with items that help you feel positive and calm. Fill your refrigerator with wholesome food. Treat yourself to a few good books or clothes. You might want to try redecorating your bedroom, rearranging the furniture, or just buying a few new throw pillows. Changing your environment will give you the feeling of having a fresh start.
Breaking addictions, healing, forming healthy habits for a healthy and happy life is within your reach, no matter how far into addiction you or your loved one may have gone.
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