There is a fine line between engaging in addictive behavior, and addiction; a line that many cross unwittingly, and it takes clear perception and severe determination to realize it. Acknowledging it is the first step; meaning that you’re already on your way in phase 1 of overcoming addiction. Now what’s next?
Instead of justifying your addiction by blaming others or your circumstances, understand that your decisions are your choice and no one else’s.
However, instead of blaming yourself, which will only negate your decision to quit, forgive and move on. You are human, and only humans make mistakes.
2-Write Down Why It’s Bad:
Ask yourself why you became addicted in the first place, and what is keeping you from quitting. Then make a list of the negative effects of your addiction on your lifestyle, interpersonal relationships, physical health, behavior, and even finances.
While not necessarily a feel-good exercise, this list will bring your addiction and its negative effects into clear perspective; and serve as a reminder of all the reasons why you would be better off quitting it.
3-List the Post-Quitting Benefits:
Extend on your list of reasons to quit by clearly stating the exact benefits of getting over your addiction. This list will reflect what you want out of life by quitting; with individual goals varying according to the nature of the addiction.
For instance, it could mean less financial burden for a shopaholic, habitual gambler, or substance addict, while someone addicted to their mobile phone and/or social media might get more time for loved ones and other hobbies.
4-Keep It Balanced:
While setting goals is necessary to solidify your commitment to quit, keep them from becoming overambitious. Know your limits, because, chances are that complete abstinence will only intensify the urge to revert, or even result in an equally harmful inverse condition.
Examples include sexual anorexia after complete abstinence from sex, or developing an eating disorder from restrictive diets to control overeating, among others.
5-Set A Date:
After clarifying what your addiction is, set a ‘Quit Date’. Solidify it by marking it on the calendar and announcing it to your close friends and family to keep from backing out when the time comes.
Keep it realistic, however. Instead of setting a date the next day or the week after, give yourself enough time to fully prepare and build strong habits that will successfully minimize your chances of a relapse.
6-Identify Your Triggers:
Identify what triggers your addiction, and start to slowly phase it out of your life. If places trigger your addiction, then set an alternative route and avoid media exposure to such places (like casinos, malls, etc.).
If a certain group of friends promotes your addiction, then reduce the time spent with them. In case of stress, figure out the root cause of that stress, and address it accordingly.
Do not restrict the recovery process to just your mind or behavior. Cement your decision into concrete by interpreting it as you would any major change in your life, and change your environment accordingly.
First, get rid of any and all reminders of your addiction from your home and workplace. In case of a behavioral addiction like gambling, shopping, and sex, dispose of any possible outlets that might fuel your addiction, like cutting your credit cards, keeping only necessary monthly funds in your account, and clearing your web browsing history. Surround yourself with positivity-inducing objects instead.
Overcoming an addiction is different for everyone. Some feel liberated and empowered from the start, while others may initially feel frustrated, even physically pained. In both cases, determination, motivation, and perseverance are key to overcoming an addiction, and moving on to the next phase . However, do not hesitate to reach out for support when you need it; either personal or medical.
You can also book an appointment with a top Psychiatrist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your addictive troubles.