Here are ten great ideas on how to free yourself from addictions. They can be applied immediately and can provide quick relief.
Addictions affect millions of people in the UK and abroad. Alcohol, smoking and binge eating are the most common ones. Gambling, adult content, online addiction and cannabis are on the rise. Most addicts are aware of their problems. They try to reduce or quit their addictive behavior and usually fail despite their good intentions. Whilst only a good therapy or an effective self-help program can provide sustainable relief, there are some simple things that any addict can do to start overcome the problem as of immediately. Here is a list of great ideas that are applied in many therapies.
Analyze, make a peace contract and stop bad feelings
1.) Find out what is usually triggering your undesired behaviour. For the majority of addicts typical triggers are fears, inner tensions, stress, feeling bored, conflicts with the partner or with relatives, happiness, the internet, certain times of the day and certain places. Design strategies how you can avoid some of your triggers and deal differently with others. Reflect upon why those triggers are so powerful. What can you do about the underlying problems?
2.) Structure your time. Many people start consuming their favourite drug when they don’t know what to do next. Plan ahead and fill your day with as many positive things as you can.
3.) Stop thinking that you are a bad person. The fact that you want to overcome your addiction shows that you have good intentions. Could you be ashamed and feel guilty if you were bad? No. Still, most addicts suffer from feelings of guilt and shame and those feelings fuel even more addictive behaviour.
4.) Here is a radical tip: it can be good to distract yourself from cravings by doing some crazy things. Some drops of Japanese mint oil underneath your eyes will make you weep tears for about ten minutes. A good dose of chili sauce on a spoon – then swallow it. Ice cubes in your pants or slip. A three minutes sprint as if you were Ben Johnson. Things like this can make you forget your cravings and make you feel more sober afterwards. It’s no sustainable help but it can help you in critical moments.
5.) Go back in time and remember how it all started. When did you start consuming your drug? Why did you do it? Why did you continue? Which was the pain that you tried to kill? Why did it make you feel so good at first? Could you have dealt differently with those problems back then? How could you act differently today?
6.) Bring more dreams into your everyday life. What should your life look like in ten years from now? Think of areas like friendships and love, hobbies, your job, your body, money and spiritual things. Break down those ten year visions into smaller steps. What should you achieve during the first year in order to make the first steps? What can you do next week? For example, if you want to run your own successful online business ten years from now, the first step could be to find out who offers good web design training. Realize that difficult paths consist of many tiny steps. If you take the steps one by one you can make it. The more you fill your week with meaningful activities that take you closer to your dreams the less you will feel cravings.
7.) Whenever you yearn for your drug there are two things that you should do immediately. First, distract yourself. Second, find out what the craving tries to tell you. Reflect upon why you felt craving. Use the trigger analysis as described in tip no. 1. Try and solve the underlying issues that make you escape into using your favourite drug. Efficient distraction requires preparation. Think beforehand how you will distract yourself when cravings set in. Plan for situations of cravings at work, in your car, at home, wherever it might happen. Don’t forget the analysis afterwards.
8.) You weren’t born as an addict. You were an innocent child and then socialization caused you the pain that made you use drugs later in life. Yes, you made some mistakes as we all do. You can’t just blame yourself for it, though. Forgive yourself for some of the mistakes you made. Connect to the so called ‘inner child’ that you once were. Travel back in time and visualize yourself as a child. Imagine that you talk to that child. Give comfort to that child and promise that you will take care as of today. Such an inner dialogue can have a soothing effect and reduce the occurrence of cravings.
9.) Many addicts carry feelings of revenge. Using drugs is self-destructive behaviour. The underlying idea is to prove to parents, relatives, former teachers, former friends or partners that their treatment was bad and that as a consequence you destroy yourself. A subtle way of taking revenge. Obviously, most addicts aren’t even aware of this subconscious and destructive reasoning. Think about whether this is relevant in your life. If it is practice forgiveness. Realize that you cannot change the past.
10.) Don’t let your addictive behaviour become compulsive behaviour. Whenever you feel craving, tell yourself that you could give in now. Don’t try to fight it as if it was forbidden. Rather make a conscious decision that you don’t want it. Make it become a choice. Choose to not give in as you don’t want to spend the rest of your life consuming that drug.
Ten out of hundreds of ideas that you can find in self-help programs and therapies. Not all of these ideas make sense to everybody. Choose the ones that fit to your life circumstances and try them. One helpful idea per day can change a lot in the long run.
I am Frank Lavario and I wrote the Lavario programs against various addictions. After studying and working many years in the US, Europe and South America I felt that it was time to offer online help to those millions of addicts who are afraid to go to a counselor.
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- Child internet addicts sent to £4,500 a week addiction clinics (telegraph.co.uk)
- Addiction, Enabling, and the Ballad of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (info.mueller.edu)
- Seen At 11: Powerful Drug Could Help People Kick Addictions (newyork.cbslocal.com)