The 5 Steps to Overcoming Addiction
It’s a lot more challenging than people initially think to overcome addictive behaviors and addiction. The truth is when people start using they often feel that addiction is a myth and that they are able to quit whenever they want; they’re an exception to the well-known rule. This goes for behavioral addictions as well, including overeating, gambling, sex, shopping, and even exercise. Many people only realize they’re addicted when it’s too late and don’t realize that their addiction is causing significant problems. These are the 5 key steps to follow when you know you need to overcome your addiction.
1. Deciding to Change
The majority of people who have an addiction decide they need to change at some point or another. Once the decision is made, they often have a goal in mind, whether it’s to quit completely, reduce time or money spent on these behaviors or substances, or quit certain ones but not others. It’s important to be clear about your goal before taking action, as this will make the process easier. Quitting completely is obviously the best approach, but reducing or eliminating certain substances will be much better for your wellness and those around you.
This process will take a while and it’s known as the contemplation stage because you need to know what to change and how. Don’t be too ambitious, as your plan is more likely to be successful if it’s realistic, and relapsing can be more dangerous for you than if you didn’t quit at all. At this stage, you’ll need to speak to a doctor, addiction counselor, or psychologist so they can accompany and support you on this journey.
2. Find a Support Group
Jennifer Goodison, a lifestyle blogger at Writinity and Last Minute Writing. says “to solve the problem of cutting social ties with unhealthy people, it’s important to find a support group near you. Overcoming addiction can be extremely lonely and it’s crucial that you’re surrounded by supportive people that will not be judgmental or pressuring but all you need to do is reach out. This doesn’t need to be an organized community group but also includes friends and family.”
Quitting is different for everyone – from liberating, uplifting and empowering to painful, terrible and frustrating. You’ll likely find out a lot about yourself and your character during this process, such as improved compassion for others. It’s possible that you fail on your first attempts before you’re successful, and that’s completely normal. You should speak to your doctor throughout the process and if you’re feeling depressed or struggling to avoid the addictive substance or behavior; other treatment options may be possible. These include anything from medical and psychological treatments like cognitive behavior therapy.
Withdrawal symptoms can be the hardest part of the process, which is why it’s crucial to speak with your doctor. The good news is most of the toughest symptoms fade after a week or two of quitting. If you feel residual withdrawal symptoms, again, speak with your doctor – treatment options are available.
4. Avoiding Relapse
The reality is that relapse is quite common on the first try of beating addiction. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, simply that you need to try a few times before it sticks. It’s normal to have cravings in the weeks, months or years after quitting and they can be really intense. You need to learn how to deal with them without giving in. According to Jim Sasspot, a health blogger at Gumessays and Research Papers UK, “another dangerous thought is thinking that you’re in control now so you can have just a little bit of the substance. This could lead to an overdose because your tolerance of the drug is much lower than it used to be. Understand your triggers and weaknesses and this will reduce your chance of a relapse.”
5. Long-term Recovery
It’s normal that your friendships and relationships change when you overcome your addiction. This can take time and effort, and you may find that your old friends are not the most positive influences in your life. This is an ongoing process of living your life without going back into those destructive behaviors. You need to commit to your recovery every day, and surround yourself with positive people and a good support system.
Guest Writer Bio
Jose Wolff, an author and entrepreneur, works at Lucky Assignments to share lifestyle and business tips with his readers. He enjoys helping others deal with problems and improve their lives through non-traditional methods.