If you are addicted to something, then this is your calling to break that unhealthy habit. You may have tried to break the cycle of addiction before as well, but you didn’t succeed. Know that this is not a sign of weakness or lack of willpower, as many wrongfully claim.
Addiction problems are not due to a lack of willpower or strength; instead, they involve changes in brain functioning that makes it difficult to break the addiction. Drugs make your brain release the happy chemical dopamine in abnormally high amounts, thus altering your neurotransmitting system. This is why many people develop addictions; they forget about their worries and feel happy when using drugs or other illicit substances.
However, addiction is not only limited to substance abuse; a person can get addicted to some behavior or activity as well, like shopping, watching TV, food, gambling, social media, etc., mostly because they act as an emotional crutch that makes them feel better.
In this article, we will put forward four ways to break any kind of addiction.
The first thing you should consider doing is consulting a medical professional. To break an addiction, you must reach out to an addiction specialist like an addiction counselor, a drug abuse nurse, etc. These are the people who have completed a specialization in treating addiction-related cases. Since every person is different from another, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a recovery strategy.
When you reach out for help, your medical expert or addiction specialist will make you a customized plan to help you in your recovery journey. There are different practices that addiction specialists adopt to help addicts recover, like motivational interviewing, psychological treatments, cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, etc. Thus, depending on your situation, the medical professional will devise a personalized strategy after assessing your case. Since breaking an addiction is not easy, it is best to have an expert with you to guide you and support you along your journey.
When people try to get sober by giving up harmful habits, they often find a lot of free time on their hands. For example, if you are overcoming your shopping addiction and staying home more instead of going out, you will need a good pastime. Similarly, when you are giving up on drinking alcohol or substance abuse, then you have free time to fill up, which was previously spent on substance abuse. Filling these chunks of free time productively is crucial.
That is why it’s best to rediscover an old passion or hobby. When you rediscover an old hobby, it reminds you of a time before your addiction, and you get motivated to become a better version of yourself. Or you can develop a new hobby. A good hobby will keep you busy, help you gain a new skill, productively utilize your time, distract you from thoughts related to your addiction or other problems, and make you healthier.
For example, you will benefit greatly if you start exercising in your free time. Exercising is proven to reduce stress, and research even shows that people who exercise regularly are less likely to have alcohol or drug abuse problems. Similarly, you can start journaling. You can write about your journey of breaking addiction, feelings, lessons learned, etc. You can indulge in reading, gardening, etc.--basically anything that counts as a healthy activity.
When trying to break any kind of addiction, you will mostly find guides about changing yourself and your mindset, etc. Even though these are the stepping stones to recovery, one important factor is often overlooked. That important factor is your environment. As much as you need to change your mindset and habits, you must also fix your environment. Remove all the things that serve as cues or reminders of your addiction.
Whether at home or work, ensure you get rid of all things that trigger you to indulge in your addiction. For example, if you have a gambling addiction that you need to break, then throw away poker chips, scratch tickets, playing cards, etc. If you are trying to give up drinking, get rid of the bottles, corkscrews, wine glasses, etc., in your house.
Similarly, if people get you involved in destructive activities by encouraging you to indulge in your addiction, then you need to stop hanging out with them. It is critical to fix your environment. Otherwise, with reminders of your addiction around you all the time, it will become very difficult to give up. You will get intrigued and tell yourself you are going to drink only one glass or smoke only one cigarette. However, without even realizing you will find yourself in the relapsing stage. It is also important to tell your friends and family not to bring such things to your house that may trigger your addictive behavior.
This type of tip often does not end up in such guides, but in our blog, it does. Yes, loving yourself is the key to breaking any kind of addiction. You need to remind yourself of the person for whom you are doing all this. And that person is you. Always remember you are trying to become a better version of yourself because you love yourself. Whenever you give in, ask yourself how this will affect your future.
If you are going to gamble, drink, smoke a cigarette, etc. remind yourself that by doing this action right now, you will be putting your future self at risk for a mere few moments of pleasure. And even if you do smoke a cigarette or have one drink remember to not be too harsh on yourself. Instead, remind yourself that you are strong, and get back on track. If you don't love yourself enough, you will not even try to break your addiction in the first place.
So always love yourself and keep in mind that the person who is going to benefit the most from your recovery and who deserves to live a better, healthier, and happier life is you. You are avoiding temptations not because you are punishing yourself but because you love yourself.
There are many types of addictions, from chemical addiction to smoking to behavioral addiction. But every kind of addiction is beatable. Anyone can break addiction if they follow some key tips and a proper plan, preferably provided by an expert. If you have an addiction, you can use these four tips to break any kind of addiction.