Five Tips for Managing Addiction
Battling through addiction is not an easy task. It’s an issue that’s physically, emotionally and mentally draining and it shouldn’t be dealt with alone. Whether you’re struggling with drinking, smoking or gambling, it’s always a good idea to get help from family, friends and professionals. If addiction is left untreated, it can quickly get to the point where it adversely affects your job, your schooling and your relationships.
To beat addiction, it helps to understand how it works as well as the methods used to treat it. The following tips are not proper medical advice. They are just general tips to help you cope with the addiction. It’s important to consult with the best psychologists qualified to treat addiction, that way you’re ensuring that you’re on the right path to a healthy recovery.
Tips for Managing Addiction
- Lean on friends and family
Your support network is a crucial part of your battle against addiction. During such a vulnerable time, it helps to know that you have unconditional support. Talking to friends and family will also allow you to be honest about your situation. This can help you to identify the root of your addiction and consequently develop effective coping strategies.
Sometimes, due to feelings of guilt or shame or fear or judgement, you might struggle to ask your loved ones for help or understanding. If certain relationships have been affected due to your addiction, consider going to therapy for your romantic and familial relationships.
Remember that addiction goes beyond the behaviour itself. There might be aspects of your close relationships that have contributed to your dependency. As such, it’s best to address potential issues in private or with a counsellor.
- Move to a sober home
You are what you surround yourself with. If your place of residence is hindering your journey to recovery, it might be time to move. This also applies to the people you spend time with and the places that you visit.
If you have flatmates or family members that trigger your addictive behaviour, consider moving to a new place. For example, if you’re addicted to gambling, it won’t help to have housemates that are always encouraging you to place a bet. This will only make it easier for you to revert back to old habits.
Additionally, if your current social circle revolves around the substance or activity that you’re addicted to, see if you can find new communities to join. If you find that your favorite bars and clubs trigger your addiction, try and change up things a bit and find groups or activities that don’t trigger your addiction.
- Attend meetings regularly
Feelings of isolation and loneliness often make it even more difficult to quit an addictive behaviour. Some might feel like they are the only ones going through it, leading to a sense of helplessness and weakness. During such low and vulnerable times, it’s important to have a support group that will help keep you on track.
Meeting with a support group will remind you that you’re not alone and that addiction is not an incurable flaw. Additionally, you will be able to share your emotions with people that understand your situation.
- Find other ways to cope with stressful situations
It’s likely that your dependency is most linked to other aspects of your life. Underlying causes of addiction can include trauma, mental illness, financial stress, physical pain or relationship problems.
Addictive behaviour is often a way of coping with difficult situations. If you don’t have alternative ways to deal with stress, it can be difficult to break your unhealthy habits. It’s a good idea to talk to family, friends or certified counsellors to identify the root of your behaviour. Based on that information, you can start to develop healthy coping mechanisms.
For example, if you find that work stress is leading to a lot of drinking, see if you can develop a new fun hobby. This could be painting, playing an instrument or creative writing. If you want the same excitement that your addictive behaviour gives you, find healthy activities that get the adrenaline going. This could be taking martial arts classes, rock-climbing or extreme hiking.
- Challenge your thoughts
Sometimes the biggest obstacle to addiction recovery is your own mind. Negative thoughts can easily make us believe that we’re not capable of overcoming dependency.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that you can use to combat negative feelings like guilt, anxiety and insecurity. The first step is to acknowledge your thoughts and detach from them. Remember that your thoughts are separate from you. They are not tokens of truth. They can be biased and, at times, they can be completely baseless.
The second step is to the challenge negative thoughts as they pop up. When you start thinking about how you’ll never recover or other negative beliefs, see if you can find the flaws in those ideas. More often than not, further examination will reveal that such thoughts are often unfounded.
The third step is to replace those thoughts with positive ones. Focus on the small victories. These will boost your morale and motivate you to go after even bigger wins.
Use the pointers we’ve discussed above to help you in your journey to recovery. If you’re suffering from addiction, it’s important to see a professional. While it’s possible to overcome addiction without outside assistance, you might end up harming yourself and others in the process. Generally speaking, those who overcame addiction with external help are able to do it much faster than those who didn’t.