Overcoming addictions requires some simple steps. I am not a psychologist and I have no medical degree but I have a wealth of experience in overcoming my own addictions – big and small!
Addiction is a repetitive behaviour marked by physical or psychological dependency. It is a part of human behaviour and visits us all. Addiction could be to something as simple as chocolate or something more serious like cocaine. It might even be a habit, like watching pornography or gambling. There is no doubt that addiction of any sort can affect self esteem on the low end and destroy lives at the high end. Many have tried to quit the habit. A minority of them have the will power and succeed in breaking free. But a large majority experience the frustration as they fail. Overcoming it is not easy! The addiction often returns with a vengeance after a failed attempt and leaves damaged self esteem and low self worth in its wake.
There are many established ways of overcoming addiction. Group therapy, a good counsellor, 12 step programs, hypnosis and many others. They all have their place in the scheme of things and because we are all different, we find some methods work better for one person whilst the other does not see the point in them. Try and get an atheist, for example, to overcome his addiction using spiritual methods.
Understanding the reasons for the addiction and the failure gives us an insight into why we fail and why going back is easy.
You become addicted for one of the following reasons.
To fight genes and mental health issues, you need the advice of a medical expert and there is no getting around that. But the rest are choices we make. Let me say that again - they are choices we make!
Your mind and your ego are caught up in three primal instincts:
Your ego constantly needs food for survival and this food comes from generating emotion. It does not care if the emotion puts you on a high or a low. As long as there is movement, the ego is happy! This is why depression can also become an addiction. A need to take drugs to get a high is the opposite end of the same spectrum. Inability to let go is a product of the same school of thought.
The mind is a slave to your ego and will find ways in which to feed it. The mind seeks pleasure to satisfy the ego. Think about it for a moment. Would you eat that chocolate if it did not taste good? Would you take the drug if it did not put you on a high? The mind craves for habits and substances that will take it to the alternate reality it seeks and will fight you bitterly if you get in the way. If you try and resist, you will end up in self inflicted war with your mind. A war that your mind has no intention of loosing! Your common sense will tell you that these things are not good for you. You will also be aware of the damage they are likely to inflict but feel powerless to stop. The mind trapped by the ego will do this to you.
To overcome addiction, you have to understand how the mind works and how it wants that pleasure at any cost. And the only way for you to break that addiction is to separate yourself from your mind and from your ego. There! I said it! The moment you realise that you are not your ego, you begin to realise the tricks the mind is playing on you. You are working for the mind, the mind is not working for you. And what is worse is that you don’t even know it. Why should you? A thought inside our head belongs to us and we never pause to realise that in fact there is a speaker and there is a listener inside our head too! The mind speaks and we listen.
To overcome any addiction,
The mind will fight you when you first ignore it. Not very different from a spoilt child who is in need of discipline. It does not know that the rules of the game have changed. There will be tantrums, sulking, name calling, and lots more. If you want to win this fight,
don’t take the bait. There is no need for the argument. Simply – DON’T LISTEN! There is nothing like a bit of meditation that will help achieve that. Read the beginners guide to meditation and see how you can still your mind.
Every morning we wake up, we have a choice to do something different. To make the day go differently, to make our life go differently. And each day we succumb to our desires and our life carries on as normal. Let this day be the one that changed your life.
WARNING: When dealing with substance abuse of any kind then seek advice from a medical professional. “Cold turkey”, fast track systems and other substance removal processes can be life threatening if not properly managed.