Stop Addictive Behaviour
An addiction is a habitual indulgence in any substance, activity or practice that is beyond your control and affects your life for the worse. It occurs in people who are not getting their emotional needs met. These people turn to substances to mask their distress – for example: to make them feel strong, sociable and on top of the world. Of course this is an illusion as eventually they become controlled by their addiction.
All forms of addiction or unwanted habits can be helped – alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling, eating disorders, nail biting – providing the person wants to make the effort to stop. However this does have to be their individual decision, and, only when they reach the point that the addiction or habit gives them more pain than pleasure are they ready to change their behaviour. When that person really feels the disgust, guilt, shame, fear and pain caused to themselves and others, they will want to kick the habit.
When people kick a destructive addictive habit they go through a process known as ‘the wheel of change’. Some people succeed the first time around, but for others there may be many attempts before they succeed. This is because the more times you hit an obstacle, the more you learn about what works and what doesn’t with your addictive activity. So you are acquiring a set of skills that will eventually enable you to beat the addiction. Remember, past attempts can be seen as stepping stones to success.
Understanding what drives your addictive behaviour is an important part of the process of getting it under control.
There are three essential steps to beating addiction:
- Knock out the positive expectations that an addiction will generate
- Create a lifestyle in which all your needs are healthily and satisfyingly met
- Anticipate high risk situations and have a range of coping strategies in place