An addiction is an obsessive behaviour characterized by a compulsive involvement in stimuli rewarding activities regardless of the adverse consequences. People who engage in addictive behaviours find it challenging to control the consistent thought of these behaviours, and end up developing actual addictions.
They become somewhat dependent on these habits to help them satisfy their inner desires and stabilize their emotional state-of-mind. When people begin to indulge in addictive habits, they often feel like they cannot get addicted and that they are in control of these habits.
When it starts to interfere with their social and emotional life, they begin to see the need to do away with these habits. Although, not all addicts can completely do away with their addiction; some limit their involvement in the practice. However, there are three steps one could take to overcome just any kind of addiction.
Acknowledging Your Addiction and Making the Decision to Change
1. Acknowledge Your Addiction
The first thing is to acknowledge that a habit has become an addiction and that it is having an adverse effect on one’s life. A problem known is half-solved. The moment an addict becomes aware of his addiction and of the way it is affecting him/her negatively, the healing process has begun
2. Making Decision and Setting Goals
Haven identified the problem; one must now make a conscious decision to change and set specific goals and concrete plans on how to overcome it. When making decisions and setting goals, one must be sure not to set ambitious goals that may not be attainable. It is better, to be sincere with oneself, and set goals that could be achieved, knowing one’s capability.
Setting achievable goals would help one to avoid getting discouraged as a result of a failed plan which could have a more negative effect. At this stage, it could be helpful to consult a doctor, psychologist or a counsellor, as these professionals can guide, and help one understands the challenges involved and how to alleviate them.
3. Be Clear With Your Goals
Also, one has to be clear on the set goals before plunging into action. The goals must be followed one step after the other. It is encouraged to start by reducing the resources invested in such behaviours as it may be very challenging trying to quit suddenly.
Although quitting once and for all would be the best in some cases, reducing or eliminating the most lethal addiction could be a significant improvement and a better way towards its complete eradication. It would significantly reduce the harm the transition could cause.
The most important thing is that one sets a target for him/herself on what to achieve at one point or the other. Then, one has to be faithful to the goals. If for example, I am addicted to excessive eating, which leads to an eating disorder, it may be difficult for me to stop it suddenly. I need to begin by reducing the quantity of my intake at every meal, cutting it down bit by bit. After I have been able to master this, I may now decide to work on my menu.
Making a decision and setting goals is a process that often takes a while, and requires a lot of contemplation. However, it is an essential step one must take to overcome addiction.
Making Preparation for Change
1. Get Reed of Triggers
Once you have successfully set your goals, the next step is to prepare for the change that is coming. Preparations include eliminating addictive materials from your environment, as well as getting reed of triggers in your life that may make you more likely to indulge in the addictive habit again.
A chronic sex addict might need to dispose of pornographic materials and sex toys. The one who eats too much might have to clear his/her food cupboards and get rid of unhealthy snacks. And gamblers might have to cut up their credit cards, avoid casinos and betting centres.
2. Reconnecting With People
The next preparation to make is concerning your social relationship. This often revolves around people with addictive behaviours such as excessive smoking or drinking. Quitting an addictive behaviour all of a sudden may end the addict in loneliness, especially if he/she has lost touch with the loved ones due to the addiction. Heavy drinkers may likely join self-help clubs where they discuss with other people who have had similar cases of addiction and would understand what they are going through.
If this happens to be your case, try to contact friends and family who you think will be supportive rather than judgmental, tell them about your decision to change, and ask for their help to assist you in achieving your goals. Although not all of them may show support, as time goes on and people begin to see that you are a changed person, they would learn to accept you for who you have become.
3. Seek Assistance
Consulting a doctor about the need for a medical assistant would be a good idea for people who suffered from alcohol and drug addiction. Because the body system has gotten used to the consistent intake of such substance, one may develop symptoms as a result of complete abstinence from them.
The doctor could help prescribe medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, If you are suffering from an underlying mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, it could become even worse during the withdrawal phase. The doctor could also be of help; in this case, you should also consider seeking the support of a therapist.
Taking Action to Overcome an Addiction
1. Disassociate From Triggers
The final step is to take the action that backs your decision to quit an addictive behaviour. By taking action, you may have to disassociate yourself from the people you usually indulge in addictive habits with. You also want to quit certain habits that help trigger a relapse and consciously resist the thoughts of going back to the addictive habits.
2. Coping With Relapses
Although this is the most challenging part of overcoming an addiction, it is more common for one to relapse than overcoming addiction on the first trial. However, this does not mean you wouldn’t be able to overcome the habit; it simply means that you would have to try a couple more times to resist the urge.
To cope with relapse, you don’t want to see it as a failure; you have to examine yourself to find out and understand why you relapsed. Once you know your weaknesses, you want to put things in place to help reduce the chances of it happening again. This way, you would know how to handle the situation better next time.
3. Engage in Beneficial Activities
Furthermore, you can engage in other beneficial activities of interest to help take your mind away from relapsing, but be careful not to replace one addictive habit with another. Some people quit addictive behaviour and end up replacing it with something even more detrimental to their lives.
Chronic alcoholics and smokers may find themselves dealing with other issues like an eating disorder. Similarly, sex addicts may become gym rats. One must consider doing things in moderation and in a healthy manner.
Have in mind that everyone may have a different experience when it comes to quitting an addiction. At the same time, some may feel liberated and find the experience empowering; others may find it difficult and frustrating and may need many failed attempts before they can achieve their goals. There is no one way or “right” way to feel when quitting an addiction.
However, if you feel depressed as a result of quitting, or you find yourself continually craving to return to your addictive behaviour, you should seek support from a therapist, psychologist or a counsellor. Also, consider seeking medical assistance from a medical doctor.