Breaking free from an addiction is one of the most common issues people face around the world these days. One can really be addicted to many things. Though we often relate addiction with harmful drugs and substances, there are things we use on a daily basis which are even recommended by nutritionist and doctors that are just as addictive as the hardcore drugs some people naturally shy away from. Take Coffee for example. There are numerous benefits to drinking coffee but it’s caffeine content makes it addictive, especially for heavy consumers. Some people have a strict coffee intake routine. It may be one or two cups every day. If a person has been doing this constantly for a number of years, it is possible that he or she is addicted to coffee. However, if the same person has never thought of or tried to stop consuming coffee, he may not really know that he is addicted. The simplest proof of addiction is one’s inability to abstain from a particular substance or anything for that matter.
Breaking habits and addictions is not very easy, especially if you have to deal with whatever you are addicted to while you are still exposed to it and have no understanding of how to stop being addicted to something. However, there are certain steps you need to take in order to break free from an addiction and stop using drugs. As in all addictive cases, the individual will have to put in effort before and after they are able to refrain from whatever it is that they are addicted to. So here are some steps you should follow to ensure that you are free from drugs, alcohol or whatever substance it is that has this control over you.
Still in denial?
Addicted people sometimes find it hard to admit that this is really the problem. Some make excuses which suggest that if they had wanted to stop whatever it is that they are addicted to, they would have done so long ago. But perhaps the fact that they have not stopped though they can admit how destructive their actions are to their spiritual and social wellbeing, is sufficient proof of addiction. Such a person is battling with drugs or other addictive substances and habits but would not admit that it is a problem and that the problem is addiction. Well, there is little that can be done for you or that you can do for yourself if you are not convinced that what you are dealing with is addiction. As long as you are still in denial, it will be difficult for you to stop using drugs or breaking habits and addictions and not even a substance abuse counselor will be able to help you.
Have you actually decided to quit?
Making a decision is the first step you took to get into this problem and the first thing you have to do in order to break free from your addictions. You may be ashamed of your addiction; your health may be deteriorating because of it. You may have tried to hold yourself back a few times and failed. The main question you should take some time out to ask yourself is this; have I really decided to quit? Have you come to the point where you know for sure that you do not want to have anything to do with the substance you are addicted to again? Even if you knew you were addicted to a substance, how badly it has affected you and knew how to stop being addicted to something, you will have to start by making a firm decision to quit.
People who are addicted sometimes try to stop and fail because deep within them there is really no true desire to quite. The fact that you are guilty and ashamed of something does not mean that you are willing to stop it. For example, an addict may feel bad about their addiction only when they are in the presence of other people. But when the same person is alone he or she does not feel bad about it. If this is the case with you, then you need to reconsider if you have really decided to quite. The fact is, without a firm decision to quit there is little or no progress you will make with regards to quitting.
If there is a will, there is a way, that is what we often say, and it is a fact. So long as you are willing to quit, you will be committed to whatever you have to do to go through with quitting. So you might as well ask yourself what you are willing to go through in order to quit that addiction. Answering that question honestly will help you judge for yourself whether or not you have really decided to quite. Without making a decision to quit, there is no need for you to see a substance abuse counselor.
Consult professional help
Once your decision to break away from an addiction is made, you should start by seeking professional help or specifically seeing a substance abuse counselor. Do some research to know how to stop being addicted to something and who will best help you as you go through the different stages of breaking free from those addictions. One particular thing you should be careful about is to get a substance abuse counselor with whom you can be open and comfortable. Throughout the entire process, you will have to trust this person with very personal information about yourself and you will be revisiting him or her quite often. That is why you should seek help from someone you are comfortable with. If you are young, it should preferably be someone who is old enough to be a parent. This will help you open up.
When an appointment is made with whoever has to help you deal with the addiction, you have to do your best to meet up with the appointment if you really want to stop using drugs. As you go through the following processes, be sure to discuss each step with your counselor and seek advice on how best to go about it.
Count the cost
When you make a firm decision to quit, the next step is to count the cost of quitting. You have probably been taking whatever you are now addicted to for a while and that may have put you through certain experiences. It is necessary that you count the cost of quitting in order to better stay committed to breaking habits and addictions. Ask yourself, what will I need to give up in order to quit this addiction. There are people, places and things associated to every addiction. Often times the challenge of quitting is closely associated with breaking away from certain people, places or habits.
A gambler or alcoholic may have friends who love clubbing and staying out late into the night. He or she knows that there is a necessary to stop clubbing in order to break free from the addiction. At the same time, that may also mean losing all close friends. Are you willing to make the sacrifice of staying away from the club or losing some (or maybe all) of your friends. You cannot ignore this question and expect to quit. Many people get into addictions and successfully break away. However, they fall back into the same mess because though they stopped taking whatever substance they were addicted to, they could not break away from certain people or keep away from certain places. Not because they did not want to but because they did not count the cost before setting out to break the said addiction. This is to say before starting off on the journey to quit whatever it is they were addicted to, they did not expect that such painful choices as loosing friends and missing out on some activities will have to be made so they simply made no mental preparations for it.
How many friends of yours are addicted to the same things you are trying to break away from? How often do you relate with those friends? How important is your relationship with them? can you do without them? if your answers to these questions are in the affirmative, then you are ready to move on to the next stage of quitting your addiction.
Consider the benefits
Though addicts sometimes seem confident and proud of what they are doing, they secretly regret their actions and are usually ashamed of what it has cost them. If you are looking forward to breaking free from a particular addiction, you will do yourself a favor by considering the benefits of that decision closely. What has your addiction to that particular substance cost you? it may be loss of the ability to think and carry out daily activities rightly. Or maybe it is the inability to make right decisions and choices in life. You may have loosed respect and dignity from friends and colleague. Often times, addicts have serious troubles relating with or taking care of their families. Their attentions and focus is taken away. So are their finances and resources. Children are usually caught up in and terribly affected by the behaviors of addictive parents. Addictions have cost more breakups and misery in families than most statistics actually state.
You can make a list of all those consequences of addiction you are aware of and mark off those that your friends, family and self have suffered from. Then write down all you stand to gain when you break free from that addiction. Better health, better relationships, more productive work and consequently more finances, a happier and more prosperous family etc. You also stand to gain the trust and respect of those who may have given up on you because of your addictions. All these will actually help you deal with your addiction.
Figure out the things that trigger you most
For every addiction, there are triggers. You may not even have considered this before but you need to know what specific things draw you into taking the substance you are addicted to. Every substance has different triggers and those triggers may be different for individuals addicted to the same thing. Let’s take coffee for example. It has a truly wonderful flavor, and for most people addicted to coffee, that flavor is the trigger. Now before you think I am against coffee, let me say that I take coffee too and I really enjoy the flavor. But I am in no way addicted to it. I could go for months without drinking coffee but when I finally taste it again, I enjoy the taste and flavor just as well as I always do. There are yet people who can’t resist the smell or taste of coffee. That is to say if they happen to walk into a room where coffee is being made or drunk, they will not leave until they have had a taste of it.
For Alcoholics and drug addicts, it may be romance or sex. To this group of people, the most sexual pleasure is attained when they are drunk or high on some drug. Drug addicts in particular are sometimes obsessed with the thought that taking such substances as cocaine or heroin is a necessity for having more sexual pleasure. They could not be more mistake. But that is still their trigger. Even music could serve as a trigger to addiction. Some people can’t hold themselves from drinking or taking drugs out of control when they listen to certain types of music.
Whatever triggers your appetite or desire for the substance you are addicted to has to be figured out and dealt with before you can stop using drugs or successfully break away from an addiction. And yes you can. Some triggers are so closely related to the actual addiction that it becomes difficult to tell which is the actual problem. Alcohol for example may be a trigger for drug abuse and it will then be difficult to tell which you are really addicted to and which is serving as a trigger to the addiction. If for some reason you are unable to differentiate, you can deal with both as your addiction and as triggers. This means you will have to treat both substances the way you will deal with an addictive and a trigger, otherwise seek help to figure this out.
Plan to quite
Yes! You have to plan even this too. Nothing worthwhile can be successfully achieved without a definite plan to follow through on. Planning to quite is necessary because it will serve as a guide until you are over and done with it. You did not plan to become addicted, negative occurrences are usually not planned for. Quitting on the other hand is noble and as such you will have to make preparation for it. If you are going to quit successfully you will have to do it with a plan. So what is going to constitute your plan to quit?
Set a date for yourself. It is not a decision to rush into. Often people refrain from the substances they were addicted to and find themselves right into it again with an even more intense desire for the forbidden substance because they rushed into quitting without a plan. The plan will prepare you to quit and help you stay “clean” after you overcome that addiction. Consider and set a date when you are going to withdraw from the substance you are addicted to. Deciding on this date is not to allow you make the most of the substance before it is time to quit. That will only make things more difficult when the time comes. The time you decide on should be long enough to allow you make a final resolve and short enough to ensure that you do not change your mind before that time.
Plan to withdraw. Once you know how to stop being addicted to something, you have to make a plan to withdraw from it. If you have been the clubbing type who is addicted to alcohol, you can start by informing your friends that you have made a decision not to go clubbing again. This will help you by preparing their minds to accept that decision so that when the time comes to keep your word they would not insist that you go against what you have decided. As a matter of fact, if you make that decision timely, they could actually help you keep it by reminding you about it when you try to break your own word.
Planning to withdraw also requires that you put away all items that remind you of or trigger the said addiction. If it is addiction to certain drugs triggered by certain music, get rid of the music. If perhaps it is addiction to pornography, get rid of every pornographic item in your possession. Burn CDs and do away with pornographic magazines. Delete such videos and pictures from your phone and other electronic gadgets. If you are not sure how to draw a plan to quit, you can seek the help of a substance abuse counselor.
Look for replacement habits. Withdrawal will be easier if there are replacement habits to help youfind pleasure and fulfilment. Because addictive substances and habits usually bring a false sense of fulfilment and satisfaction, breaking habits and addictions require that you seek true fulfilment in things that really matter. If you are usually occupied with pornographic videos and movies, you can decide to spend more time with your kids and family if you got one, or better still commit this time to your work and studies.
Engage in spiritual activities that will help you see things in a better perspective. Join a church group and get active. You could also decide to find a sport activity you are passionate about or become part of a club that encourages the kind of activities you are interested in. For those who fancy reading, joining a book club will be the perfect idea. All these will go a long way to help you lose interest in additivities that trigger your addiction and certainly as your commitment to these activities grow, your desire for what you were once addicted to will die a natural death.
On the other hand, it will be difficult to withdraw successfully if all you are going to do is idle around and spend that extra time on nothing. There is a sixty to seventy percent chance that you are not going to make it through withdrawal without having a good replacement for your addiction and the time you committed to it daily.
Seek Spiritual help
Sometimes the root cause of an addiction is not in a person’s mind but spiritual. You can tell this is the case when the person goes through every possible process to break free from the said addiction but cannot stop using drugs or succeed in breaking habits and addictions. Such cases are characterized by a complete loss of control over your will to abstain and even the consumption pattern itself is just too exaggerated.
Find someone to talk to and pray with. Of course you can be sure that in such cases no one else but God can break you free from the grip that substance has on you. If you have done everything humanly possible to break free from your addiction, don’t struggle with it any longer, just seek spiritual help.
Reward yourself for your accomplishments
You can make quitting your addiction a challenge. Put something as a price before you to help you quit or better still as you go through the process, reward yourself with a simple treat with every day that goes by without you making use of the substance you are addicted to. Once you have figured out how to stop being addicted to something and have set your goals to that end, make it your duty to reward yourself for the progress you make.