So you’ve finally decided to kick your addictive habits and bring your life on track. You’ve made all the changes you need for an addiction-free life, and are ready for the fast-approaching Quit Date: the day you leave behind your addiction for good.
In an ideal world, this would have been the end of your addiction recovery journey. But we are humans, and we make mistakes. We get tempted, slip up, and relapse. This is where our overcoming addiction guide comes in:
1-Stop as Planned:
Don’t mark another red circle on your calendar as an alternative. You chose your quit date after careful contemplation, and you will see it through to the very end. A quit date is a promise that you have made to yourself, and one you should keep.
2-Keep Yourself Busy:
The same gratifying neurochemicals and hormones released while engaging in an addictive habit can also be stimulated by alternate activities and positive social interactions. The trick is to find what satisfies you in place of your previous addiction.
This could be exercise (aka the best anti-addiction activity), a new hobby, an addition to your daily schedule, or joining new clubs and meeting new people. Taking up the arts, like writing, painting, dance, or learning a new musical instrument are also highly effective alternatives without any negative repercussions.
3-Avoid Replacement Addictive Behaviors:
Replacement addictive behaviors are habits or activities that you adopt to replace your previous addiction. However, most people often end up obsessively partaking in them; turning a seemingly positive activity into yet another addiction.
For instance, you might end up over-exercising to combat your urge to eat, or find yourself overeating every time to feel the need to drink or smoke. The best solution is to find satisfaction in less-intense, ‘normal’ life experiences, like being with family, going out for a movie, etc., to keep the addictive cycle from starting anew.
4-Avoid the Triggers:
While you were previously practicing minimized exposure to trigger places, people, and things, begin avoiding these triggers entirely after your quit date. You may need to temporarily follow an entirely new routine until the strong urges subside, especially in case of behavioral addictions born of a routine activity, like shopping and web surfing.
5-Steer Clear of Rationalizations:
Addiction, whether behavioral or substance-related, can present physical withdrawal symptoms ranging from persistent irritability and confusion to frequent sweating and palpitations. However, do not let these symptoms become an excuse to rationalize reverting back to your addictive habit.
The physical and emotional pain that you feel now will soon pass, all you need is determination and perseverance. Refer to your previous lists . of reasons to quit, and post-quitting goals to remind you of why you wanted to quit in the first place, and strengthen your resolve.
6-Coping with Cravings:
What begins as ‘one small cigarette’, ‘a one-day splurge’, or ‘just one round’, often leads you slowly into a downward spiral that is even stronger than your previous addiction. So instead of giving in to your cravings, be it weeks or years after quitting, stay strong and refer to point number.
7-A Relapse Isn’t the End:
So, despite all of your best efforts, you’ve ended up relapsing. Instead of beating yourself up over it, which will only re-invite the addiction, stop as soon as you become aware of your relapse. Recall what triggered the relapse, and make necessary changes for future avoidance.
Are you just starting on your journey to overcoming addiction? Then head over to the first phase of our comprehensive addiction recovery guide. Also, consider consulting with a mental health professional for added assistance, and further strengthen the recovery process.
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.