Overcoming a Lifelong Battle against Addiction
When you’re suffering from any form of addiction, whether it is drug addiction, alcoholism, food addiction, sex addiction, social media addiction and so on; addiction free life seems to become an impossible goal. However, recovery is never beyond reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems to be.
The key to changing difficult behaviors is to act like both the scientist and the subject. In order to get into the scientist role, you need to think about various sources of influence that would help you bring desired changes in yourself for the longest of time. Addictive behaviors can be beaten by personal inspiration and capability; Urges in addiction can take over the person, however, only through the power of motivation, cravings for drugs can be managed. An individuals’ capability and skill formation can even fight with the hereditary predisposition of addiction. First of all, you need to be aware of the negative consequences of addiction and positive outcomes of addiction free life. In short, one should have an insight about the pros and cons of addiction. This will self motivate one towards sobriety.
Second of all, all types of addiction have long term affects on the physiology and psychology of an addict’s brain and in order to win this battle of addiction, one should be armed with skills. These skills may include overcoming your urges and saying no to all pro addictive behaviors. Third of all, social support in the form of praise, acceptance and approval can do more to assist your change efforts. You can ask others to analyze your behaviors and provide you with feedback regarding your change plan. They can also help you identify cues that may have gotten you into addiction and give you a push to get rid of undesired behaviors. Another source of influence is to reward yourself for small wins. Self reward strategies can play a vital role in maintenance of addiction free and healthy behaviors. The fright of the hardest thing in change plan can be decreased by conditioning it to the most desirable happening; this would increase your motivation and efficiency of change plan.
And last but not the least; build up a structured and controlled environment to make the good behaviors easy and bad behaviors impossible. Subjectively structured design would be more effective than following general instructions. As you will be your own scientist, you can work best on your subject; no one can look at you better than yourself. Moreover, Customization of particular influence agents with reference to addiction can increase the probability of desired outcomes. In such scenarios, the readiness and availability of change agents matter more than the particular sequence of their application. If you revert your sources of influence, you can again get into addictive behaviors so it’s not about you, but your patterns of sources of influences that are making you an addict or a sober, now choice is yours!
The most important and more often arising question during change process is; will I always be at a possibility of returning to my addiction? The answer is not a concrete yes but you can prevent it as long as you stick to your change plan. For instance, if you can imagine yourself without craving about any of your micro or macro addictive behavior then you are half way through your change plan. Now, by taking these momentarily aversive feelings for your addiction, we can say this that one has this repulsion in near future again and again. After this, the only thing that you need is to process all above mentioned change agents so that these temporarily revulsions can become lasting customs for your life.
For instance, youngsters who are in trap of social media addiction often report that they are so preoccupied with sharing and posting the moments on social networks that they are unable to focus joyfully on what is happening around them; hence they miss out the real fun. But changers have claimed that if they can take small momentarily breaks then that would be their first step towards getting out of addiction of posting and receiving likes. Initially, such momentarily pauses may be annoying but there outcome would be more pleasant and lasting than getting a like or falling back to any addictive behavior. Moreover, some other skills such as, attention and concentration span, pro-activeness towards any addiction defeating behavior, and the degree of willingness to be changed, will make you the captain of your own ship.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Sadaqat Ali, a graduate from Dow Medical College, Karachi, is a recognized Addiction Psychiatrist with a background of training at Hazelden, Minnesota, USA and VitalSmarts. He is the Project Director of Easy Interventions & Willing Ways.