Quitting something can seem incredibly hard, so much so that we don’t even want to put ourselves through the suffering.
Have you tried giving up alcohol? Marijuana? Biting your nails? Complaining? Cigarettes? Junk food?
I can confirm that it’s hard to dealing with addiction, but there are several things that stand in our way:
- The physical addiction — this is hard but it only lasts a few days. Fortunately, I can tell you that if you really put your mind to it, you can do anything hard for a few days.
- The reliance on it as a coping mechanism — this is a problem because we’re so used to using the addiction as a crutch when we’re stressed or sad or things are difficult or we need to socialize. Fortunately, there are plenty of other healthier ways to cope.
- You don’t believe you can do it. This is the worst one, because if you give in to this obstacle, the other two are not conquerable. Fortunately, this one is entirely self-caused, and so the solution is entirely within our hands. Read some encouragement quotes to feel motivation.
My Addiction Recovery Systems
How to deal with addiction? I always try to replace the bad habit with a good one. You can’t just stop a bad habit, because then you’re left with a gaping hole and nothing to fill it.
I have to figure out what the need is first, and then come up with a strategy for filling that need in some other way. I try to replace it with a habit that helps me to feel important.
There are several steps to beating a bad habit:
- Figure out what your trigger is. Every habit has a trigger which is something in our routine that directly precedes the habit. For example, I used to have multiple triggers for smoking such as drinking coffee, eating a meal, stress, drinking alcohol with friends, taking a break, waking up in the morning, etc.
- Find a replacement habit. A small, positive habit to replace the old habit. Ideally it fills at least some of the needs of the old habit. Start very, very small in the beginning or you’ll be facing an uphill battle. If it’s small, you beat the obstacle of dreading to do the new habit.
- Create positive feedback. If positive feedback has built up your old habit, and negative feedback is stopping you from quitting the old habit, you need to make these powerful forces work for you and not against you. You can’t beat them, so use them. Create positive feedback for your new habit: make the writing (for example) really enjoyable, with a cup of coffee and a quiet, peaceful setting, and focus on the enjoyability of it, not the hard parts. If you want to meditate, focus on how relaxed it makes you, not how difficult it is.
- Do the new habit immediately after the trigger, consistently. If you can do it for a month, you’ll probably have a new habit. A new habit is built by doing an action immediately after a trigger, repeatedly, for a certain number of repetitions. There is no set number — it depends on how easy the habit is (which is why I suggest starting as easy as possible) and how consistent you are in repeating it. Report to your accountability group after you do the habit.
- Beat the urge to do the old habit. The urge will come, I guarantee you. This is where you say, “But I don’t have the willpower!” Yes, you do. Everyone does, but they just don’t know the tricks. I’m going to teach you the tricks so you have no excuses:
- Pay attention to the urges. The urges win when you let them go unnoticed. They have power. Pay attention.
- Know that the urges come in waves. They build up like a wave, they get strong, they crest, and then they go away. You just need to wait a minute or two before you’re over the crest.
- Try deep breathing. Take a few very long, slow breaths. The urge is a feeling of anxiety, tightness in your chest. The breaths help relieve that anxiety, and it passes. Try some self-massage too — massage your shoulders to relax yourself.
- Walk around a bit. Physical activity helps you to get over the urges. Walk, do some pushups, some bodyweight squats, jump up and down, do some shadowboxing.
- Use your accountability group. Call an accountability partner if you’re having an especially hard time. Make this person a promise that you won’t do the bad habit unless you call her first.
- Give yourself little treats/rewards when changing a habit. Maybe daily, maybe once a week. It can work wonders to give yourself a pat on the shoulder, a massage, a nice dinner out, a big plate of delicious tropical fruit, for example.
These small tricks will get you past the urges, which can be strong but will subside. And the miracle is, if you can do this for a week, you’ll be past the worst urges. They will start to get weaker and weaker, until they’re incredibly easy to beat.
Quitting something can be hard, it’s true. But not quitting them is harder — you have to live with health problems (or other problems) for the rest of your life. That’s years of pain vs. a few days or weeks of struggle. To me, the choice is clear — choose yourself.
What many people don’t realize is that meditation is perhaps the most important habit if you want to change other habits. Take your free android app TinyRelax is perfect for those who are ready to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their entire day
Addiction Poems by Famous Poets
the suicide kid from Charles Bukowski, 1920 – 1994
I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again. worse, the bar patrons even ended up liking me. there I was trying to get pushed over the dark edge and I ended up with free drinks while somewhere else some poor son-of-a-bitch was in a hospital bed, tubes sticking out all over him as he fought like hell to live. nobody would help me die as the drinks kept coming, as the next day waited for me with its steel clamps, its stinking anonymity, its incogitant attitude. death doesn’t always come running when you call it, not even if you call it from a shining castle or from an ocean liner or from the best bar on earth (or the worst). such impertinence only makes the gods hesitate and delay. ask me: I’m 72.
The Addict from Anne Gray Harvey, 1928-1974
with capsules in my palms each night,
eight at a time from sweet pharmaceutical bottles
I make arrangements for a pint-sized journey.
I’m the queen of this condition.
I’m an expert on making the trip
and now they say I’m an addict.
Now they ask why.
WHY!Don’t they know that I promised to die!
I’m keping in practice.
I’m merely staying in shape.
The pills are a mother, but better,
every color and as good as sour balls.
I’m on a diet from death.Yes, I admit
it has gotten to be a bit of a habit-
blows eight at a time, socked in the eye,
hauled away by the pink, the orange,
the green and the white goodnights.
I’m becoming something of a chemical
that’s it!My supply
has got to last for years and years.
I like them more than I like me.
It’s a kind of marriage.
It’s a kind of war where I plant bombs inside
to kill myself in small amounts,
an innocuous occupatin.
Actually I’m hung up on it.
But remember I don’t make too much noise.
And frankly no one has to lug me out
and I don’t stand there in my winding sheet.
I’m a little buttercup in my yellow nightie
eating my eight loaves in a row
and in a certain order as in
the laying on of hands
or the black sacrament.It’s a ceremony
but like any other sport
it’s full of rules.
It’s like a musical tennis match where
my mouth keeps catching the ball.
Then I lie on; my altar
elevated by the eight chemical kisses.
What a lay me down this is
with two pink, two orange,
two green, two white goodnights.
Now I’m borrowed.
Now I’m numb.