Overcoming bad habits and beating addiction is not a straightforward or easy process. Every addict has to go on their own journey, but there are steps you can take to make your path to sobriety a little easier.
We’re slowly starting to move towards a world where mental health issues and substance abuse are no longer taboo topics. Addicts no longer face the stigma that they once did. And to admit that you need a bit of help and advice for beating addiction. Even if it’s not a serious problem and you’d just like to scale back on the wine a little bit… there are plenty of methods out there that make beating addiction feel a lot easier. Here are five of what I’ve found to be most effective.
For me, this is the fundamental lesson that you need to take away from this article – and it’s probably the hardest step to take. You have to accept that beating addiction is fucking hard. There’s a certain degree of discussion that comes with your recovery and it can be quite chaotic. So it might be difficult to discover that chaos survives your recovery. It doesn’t go away. Accept that you’ll always be an addict and the battle never ends. Addicts must become comfortable with discomfort and chaos. By anticipating it, chaos will have much less of a negative impact.
This is also where you begin to question the purpose of your recovery and whether sobriety is actually a desirable outcome if this is what it’s like. As you become better at managing your life, life gives you more to manage. It’s overwhelming, but when you feel overwhelmed, that is when you’re actually recovering. Don’t fear it or run from it; rather embrace it.
Find a buddy/sponsor
Having a friend at your side, or another recovering addict that you can speak or be accountable to can make a massive difference when your resilience is put to the test. Just like your annual review keeps you accountable in the professional world, 12-step groups use this method–called accountability–to keep people sober and on the recovery wagon.
Everyone has a sponsor, a mentor to teach them the program, to guide them toward physical, mental, and spiritual health. A friend, family member, therapist or even spiritual leaders like priests are examples of the kind of people that you should be approaching for a little bit of help.
Something that you have to come to terms with, when it comes to beating addiction, is that ANY addictive behaviour is getting in the way of recovery and healing. Smoking and alcoholism is a great example of this. Eighty-five percent of alcoholics also smoke, according to Science Daily. Most alcoholics will avoid quitting smoking while they get sober, because it feels overwhelming. But the fact is that alcoholics who quit smoking while in treatment relapse significantly less frequently than those who do not.
Technically, working out can become an addiction too, but there’s nothing that is as good for overcoming the inevitable depression you’ll face as exercise. Furthermore, getting into shape can be a confidence booster and helps overcome insecurities that may also be fuelling your addiction. Plus, a healthy body creates room for a healthy mind.
Take up running, yoga, pilates, aerobics, HIIT, lift weights and use the machines at the gym. A routine of regular exercise can make a massive difference. Furthermore, it releases all of the endorphins that you used to get from substances in a far healthier way.
Start a project
In her article on methods for beating addiction, PsychCentral‘s Therese Borchard, “the fastest way to get out of your head is to put it in a new project.”
Everything from knitting a blanket, building/fixing something, or even starting a blog, can serve as a healthy distraction. Put some time and effort into a personal project. It’s a great way to get in the right headspace and preoccupy yourself with something constructive. Another cool thing you can do is take up hobbies like learning to play an instrument or painting.
Help a fellow addict
This is best reserved for “advanced addicts”, who are familiar with the process and know what it takes to succeed. You have to fake it ’til you make it and will feel less depressed after helping someone. It’s the twelfth step of the twelve-step program, and a cornerstone of recovery. Give and you shall receive. Offering your hand to someone else battling with addiction can give you a better sense of purpose and encourage you to stay strong.
The bonus step at the end is “do nothing”. If you’re doing nothing, things aren’t getting worse from here and things are good today. Tomorrow is another day. Feel proud of yourself and pat yourself on the back for your mental fortitude. You’re winning; you’re beating this addiction and it’s only a matter of time before you become the person you need to be.