This Is How You Can Overcome Addictions And Addictive Behaviors
Fighting addictions can be difficult. Many useless attempts, a lot of frustrations. Here are ten tips how you can make great progress in getting rid of your addiction problems.
A large percentage of adults and adolescents are addicted to something. Beer, cigarettes, casinos, sugar, adult movies… Most of them have tried many times to reduce their addiction or to quit it and usually gave in to the craving again. These ten tips can provide effective ideas and advice on how to stop addictions for good.
Analyze, make a peace contract and stop bad feelings
1.) Identify the most common triggers of your addictive behavior: Among the most frequent ones are anxiousness, stress, feeling lonely, evening hours and weekends, certain places and friends / colleagues / families, low self-esteem, boredom – and many more.
Try to deal differently with triggers that are relevant for you. Reduce their occurrence or ban them from your life. Reflect upon what these triggers try to tell you about unsolved conflicts from your past. What do you need to do differently in your life?
2.) The next time that you experience the first signs of craving, make a peace contract with them. Giving in is allowed, but only in ten minutes from now. Until then, distract yourself. This is a great strategy of how to make your brain believe that it will get the drug that it’s yearning for.
You don’t fight against your addiction. You don’t let it become compulsive. You allow yourself to give in – but only at a later stage. In the meantime, you start doing something else.
Something that provides you strong feelings and distraction. Thinks about what that could be. The cravings won’t disappear every time and they might return later but this strategy can provide relief.
3.) Give up the bad feelings about your addictions – as much as you can. Addictions are nurtured by feelings of low self-esteem, guilt, shame etc. The worse you feel about yourself the more you try to escape these feelings with even more of your favorite drug.
You must break this vicious cycle. Try to convince yourself that nobody asked you to be perfect. Everybody has weaknesses, yours is your addiction, so what? Get over it and go on with your life.
Be more modest, reflect more and start mind-traveling
4.) Be less ambitious. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your addiction won’t be overcome in a day, either. Neither in a week. Set yourself realistic goals. Try to stop your addiction within two months and reduce it a little bit more every week.
Start with little things such as 10% less of your drug during the first week. Get your brain used to less. Take the time to analyze why you got addicted and slowly start changing things in your life. Be patient with yourself. Be more generous. Take one step at a time.
5.) As mentioned before, reflect upon your life. Which events from childhood, youth and early adulthood could have provoked the addiction later in life? Which wrong opinions do your have about yourself?
Which people hurt you during your life? Can you forgive them? Can you forgive yourself for mistakes that you committed? Write down at least three thoughts every day and think about how you could act differently from now on.
6.) Apply mind-traveling techniques such as autogenic training, self-hypnosis and autosuggestions. ‘Travel’ to places and times that you felt really good at. Bring them back to your present life and chase away the cravings for many hours.
Shock your body, stop yearning for revenge and smile
7.) Shock your body. When the feelings of cravings set in, distract your brain with some radical measures. Start running as if you were Usain Bolt – at least for a minute or two. Take a cold shower. Listen to extremely loud music. Eat something extremely spicy.
No matter what you do, the idea is to make your brain distribute adrenaline and chase away the cravings. At least for many hours. Use that time to apply one of the other tips – especially the one about reflecting upon your past.
8.) We mentioned before that some people might have hurt you. Many addicts use their addictions to take revenge at those people. Their reasoning goes something like this: ‘look at me. What I’m going through is your fault. If you hadn’t treated me so badly I wouldn’t do this now.’
Could this also apply to your life? If it does please reconsider whether you really want to give so much power to that person. (S)He might have hurt you in the past but feelings of revenge will only make you suffer longer. Are they worth it?
9.) Cheat on your brain by smiling for three minutes. Smiling means moving the muscles in your face in a certain way. When you smile the nerves connected to your muscles send signals to your brain.
Signals about you feeling great. Even if you don’t. After three minutes the brain really believes in it and makes your whole body feel more relaxed. In many cases, feelings of craving can be stopped this way.
Treat yourself and don’t forget
10.) Be good to yourself. Make sure that you treat yourself with respect. When you feel the first signs of cravings, don’t use your usual drug but provide yourself with good feelings from alternative sources.
Make sure that you do enough things that you really like. Plan your week ahead and integrate those things into your week. Good food, physical exercise, great movies, friends etc.
There are many more ideas in self-help programs against addictions. Applying these ten ideas only have a limited effect unless you also undergo a full program or a therapy. However, they can be the first step and encourage you to continue on that path of breaking your addiction.
I’m Frank Lavario and I invented the Lavario programs against addictions. I couldn’t accept that millions of addicts suffer and are afraid of doing a therapy. With self-help programs they can remain anonymous and find help without spending many weeks in a clinic.