Maybe you’re here because you’ve hit rock bottom.
The realization that you need to face your addiction can be terrifying. Beating it may seem insurmountable. We won’t pretend it’s easy, but there are constructive ways that you can beat your addiction.
Begin to look forward — a healthier and happier future can be yours.
Read on for ten helpful tips about how to stop an addiction.
1 – Seek Professional Help
First and foremost, consider seeking professional help when you are trying to break an addiction. There are plenty of useful options, ranging from counselors and psychologists to inpatient treatment programs.
The cost of professional help can be a barrier for many people. If this is the case for you, explore the resources your community might offer. Lots of communities offer sliding scale counseling options or other resources for people battling addictions. Don’t be afraid to utilize these.
2 – Assemble a Group of Trusted Friends
Having a network of trusted friends is a key part of beating an addiction. Especially helpful are friends that have beaten their own addictions and therefore are more understanding of your situation.
A good place to meet like-minded people is at a 12-step group. Be upfront and open with your friends about your current situation, and then, don’t be afraid to lean on them in hard times.
A great friend will be the one to take a midnight phone call from you, knowing you’d do the same for them.
3 – Open Up to Family and Loved Ones
Perhaps your addiction has been hidden (or you’ve attempted to keep it that way). Now is the time to bring it into the light.
It can be one of the more difficult parts of recovery, but it’s important to be open about your battles with your trusted friends and loved ones. Sit with them, open a dialogue, and be honest about your struggles.
You may well be surprised by their reaction. Chances are, they will want to help and support you in any way they can. Plus, the relief of no longer needing to “hide” can be freeing.
4 – Find Constructive Ways to Relieve Stress
For many people, addictions start as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress. When trying to overcome your addiction, finding a healthy alternative to fill in the void is critical.
There are many options to explore. Try calling a trusted friend, reading self-help or inspirational books, creating art, journaling, swimming, or taking a long walk.
The key is to determine what activities help you relieve stress before you get to a breaking point. Stress will happen! Be proactive so you don’t risk falling back into negative habits when stress rears its head.
5 – Learn to Recognize Your Triggers
Whether it’s a terrible day at work, a recurring argument with a family member, or even just your morning cup of coffee, everyone has “triggers.” These triggers are deeply embedded and can bring your addiction to the surface with surprising force.
You need to learn what your triggers are. Then, find ways to avoid them, or if they are unavoidable, learn other coping mechanisms.
For example, if your morning cup of coffee triggers the need for a cigarette, set up a new place in your home where you drink your coffee. Keep a great book nearby to keep your hands busy.
Maybe your trigger is a tough day at work (which can be unavoidable). Decide that, instead of heading to the bar for happy hour, you’ll head straight to the gym. Leave your cash at home and keep your workout gear in your vehicle so you have fewer excuses.
6 – Choose a “Security Blanket” to Carry With You
Find a small and meaningful item to keep with you that serves as a reminder as to why you’re working to overcome your addiction. Perhaps it’s a sobriety chip from a meeting. Maybe it’s a smooth “worry stone,” or a patron saint medal.
Whatever it is, keep it with you at all times. In times of stress or temptation, reach for your item, touch it, and recite a meaningful prayer or mantra.
7 – Keep a Journal
Journaling can have many benefits for someone fighting addiction. A well-kept journal can help you recognize triggers and patterns. It can also serve as a place to vent in private, organize your thoughts, and relieve stress.
Take to journaling daily, if possible.
8 – Focus on Your Physical Health
When battling an addiction, many people neglect their physical health. As you work through recovery, paying attention to your physical needs is so important.
Eat as well as you can, adding fruits, vegetables, and lean protein into your diet. Drink plenty of water. Get the recommended amount of sleep. Find a way to be active that you truly enjoy.
Physical health is undeniably intertwined with mental health. When you work on one, you will find the other begins to improve.
9 – Fake it ’til You Make It
Overcoming an addiction is extremely hard, and there will be many days where you will want to throw in the towel.
These will be the days you need to “fake it.” Even if you are feeling down, exhausted, and overwhelmed, maintain a positive outlook — even when it feels trite and phony.
Repeat positive mantras to yourself. Smile at strangers. Be kind at work. Be active even when it’s the last thing you want to do, and remind yourself you’re grateful for the opportunity.
It might feel forced now, but eventually, it will become easier to maintain a positive outlook. Your mind will begin to heal from the negativity that your addiction fed. Here’s a great article on positive ways you can begin healing your mind.
10 – Ask for Help
Addiction can be lonely. Don’t tackle it alone.
Find a way to get help. Maybe this is via a 12-step program. Maybe it’s a trusted friend or a professional counselor. Maybe it’s a leader at your church. Maybe it’s just getting down on your knees and praying to a higher power for assistance.
Whatever option you choose, utilize it as often as needed.
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