How Do You Stop Being Addicted To Something?
Addiction can take on many forms and affect different people to varying degrees. The length of time in which different people remain addicted also varies considerably. And while some individuals can leave addiction behind through their own efforts, others may require extensive treatment and rehabilitation.
Perhaps the one common factor that most addicts share is the desire to stop being addicted. Ask anyone with substance abuse or behavioral problems, and they will likely express a desire to go back to their normal life.
Of course, this is often easier said than done. As you may know, being cured of addiction can be a daunting task. For many, life becomes a constant merry-go-round of quitting dependence and starting back up again, with the habit remaining a continual factor.
But is it really possible to leave addiction behind? Can addicts stop being addicted to whatever it is that has them in its grip?
Deciding To Change
Like all major life changes, stopping addiction begins with a conscious decision. No matter what method the individual chooses to rid themselves of their dependence, and whether or not they are successful, the crucial factor is deciding to make a change.
You’ll notice that we said, “whether or not they are successful”. That’s because deciding to change isn’t an ironclad guarantee that the addict will stop being addicted. Remember that addiction is a tremendously powerful and almost irresistible force for many people, and it will take more than a decision to get better to actually make it happen.
Even so, making a conscious decision to change can be an incredibly powerful motivating factor in itself. Simply deciding to make a shift toward the positive gives the individual a tangible goal to work towards.
Speaking of goals, it is essential to define the goals that you wish to work towards. These could be relatively minor changes, such as smoking fewer cigarettes per day or not drinking at certain times. They may also be significant changes such as quitting drugs entirely, avoiding people, places, or events that could trigger negative actions, or refraining from specific behavioral patterns.
In any case, it is crucial to outline what the change will look like and what you need to do to make it happen. In the absence of goals, addicts run the risk of going by their intuition, which probably contributed to the problem in the first place. When this happens, it is much too easy to revert to former negative habits. But with clear goals in mind, it will be easier to monitor progress and stay on track.
Preparation for Leaving Addiction Behind
Now that you know what you want and have a rough blueprint for making it happen, you can begin making preparations to leave your addiction behind. Think of it as clearing the way for your progress. Once the work of stopping starts in earnest, you don’t want anything to get in the way of achieving your goals.
Preparation can take on many forms. Most people dealing with chemical dependence issues get rid of the substance they are addicted to. Smokers may throw out all their cigarettes, alcoholics may pour their liquor down the sink, and drug users may flush their drugs down the toilet.
It is also common for addicts to get rid of paraphernalia, contact numbers of drug dealers and co-users, and anything else that could trigger a relapse or even remind them of their issues. Doing so makes it a lot easier to stay on course and resist the temptation to indulge.
At some point, the only thing left to do is to actually quit. Everything the addict has done so far leads up to this moment, and everything will change from here on.
Of course, quitting could very well be the most difficult challenge that the addict will ever face. The temptation to fall back into old habits will be stronger than ever, and the changeover into the new mode of living can be terrifying and depressing for some.
Don’t be discouraged if you fail to maintain your new state. Remember that addiction is often a lifelong condition, and it is unrealistic to expect that you will be better the first time you try to leave it all behind. The important thing is to keep your goals in mind. If you do relapse, don’t let anything get in the way of you starting all over again.