Addiction comes in a variety of forms. Drinking, spending too much time in front of a computer screen, smoking, and even exercise, if done to a hyper degree, can be called an addiction. If you are trying to curb your addiction or stop it completely, there are steps you can take.
Ask Yourself, “Why?”
You have to answer this question. Does it help you deal with pain, anxiety, or perhaps boredom? If you overeat, why do you continue to eat after you are full? Admit to yourself: “I eat because I am lonely or because I have too much stress to deal with.”
Identify Your Compulsions
Is there a particular time of day you crave your addiction? Is there a particular circumstance that triggers it? If you can identify the instances you are at your weakest and do something contrary to it, you should start to break the cycle. For example, if you go to your favorite restaurant for dinner and always enjoy wine or a beer, go with water instead. If you can survive these impulses two to three times, the need will go away. It’s difficult to remain resolute all day, but recognizing your danger zones and working contrary will chip away at the compulsions.
Find Support System
Having friends or family and professionals along the way for your recovery is key. They are there to applaud you when you succeed and put you back on track when you stumble. Accountability is important and helps determine the veracity at which we recover and how long we stay in recovery. Studies show that continued and strong social support structures such as the ones provided in Alcoholics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous decrease relapse rates on addicts.
Break a Bad Habit with a Good One
Replace your bad habit with a good one. Finding alternative ways to cope will help calm and reduce your anxiety. Exercise, as much as people dread it, is probably the best way to overcome addictions. Exercise does not have to consist of going to a gym either. Going for a walk is by far the easiest and cheapest form of exercise.
Do not neglect your diet. Those who are in recovery should eat a diet moderately high in good sources of protein and fat, such as lean chicken, lamb, beef, and butter. Including more healthy sources of protein and fat should stabilize blood sugar, reduce hypoglycemic episodes, decrease sugar cravings, and also lessen compulsive behaviors.
Change Your Life
Addiction pigeonholes you into the same decisions and reactions. You can’t break the addiction until you break the cycle. Your brain needs to overcome years of bad programming. Think of recovery as a clean slate where all the decisions you make are healthy, happy ones. All the negative triggers like people, social situations, and time of day have been removed or replaced by smart choices and healthy habits. For example, to stop smoking, you stopped buying cigarettes and having them in the house, you stopped going to bars that trigger the urge to smoke, and maybe you investigated alternatives to smoking. All these choices differ from the old you, who routinely bought cigarettes.
There Is No Can’t
Quitting an addiction is hard and is a lifelong journey. It’s accomplished through the want and need to make a change in your life. Whether you go cold turkey or try to taper your addiction, you have to want to succeed. Negative language has no place in recovery. You CAN smoke less. You CAN drink less. You CAN do this! This journey begins with the first step.