For many people, overcoming an addiction is a life-long process. Whether you have a problem with alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking or sex, the science behind addiction is often the same: it’s a compulsive behavior that starts when you crave the dopamine hit that a certain substance or activity gives you. This can escalate to the point where you feel powerless to resist these cravings, going to extreme lengths to meet them.
The good news is that there are a wealth of resources like support groups, online videos, and addiction psychiatry to help you overcome your addiction. While the road to recovery is seldom straightforward, making the first few steps is one of the biggest challenges. Once you’ve committed to those, you’ll be in a stronger position to tackle your addiction once and for all.
Here’s how to get started.
1) Admit You Have A Problem With Addiction
The very first step to overcoming addiction is admitting to yourself that you have a problem. If you know that your drinking habits have spiraled out of your control, face up to the fact and acknowledge that this makes you an alcoholic. Once you’ve put a name to the problem, you can start thinking about the best ways to solve it.
Not long ago, addiction was widely thought of as a disease. While most psychologists now prefer to treat it as a compulsive behavior, some people find that considering their addiction as a disease can be helpful when starting their recovery. After all, ‘addiction’ is a term laden with judgement, making it hard to share your problem with the ones you love.
For others, comparing their addiction to a disease isn’t helpful at all. Instead, they might find that accepting full responsibility for their situation is a powerful wake-up call that encourages them to overcome the problem. It all depends on what works for you.
2) List The Harmful Effects Of Your Addiction
Nothing good comes from addiction. By writing out all the harmful effects of your behavior, you’ll be able to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the problem and realize why you need to kick it.
If your addiction costs you money, try and work out how much you’ve spent to finance your habit. How much did you spend last month on alcohol? Or cigarettes? If it’s had a negative effect on your relationships, write this down too. Maybe it’s caused you to break up with a partner, or made your friends stop inviting you to parties.
It can also be useful to think about why you became addicted in the first place. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, substances such as alcohol, drugs or cigarettes can temporarily make you feel better, but they don’t address the underlying problem and often make you feel worse in the long run.
3) Arrange Professional Help
Hardly anybody can overcome addiction alone. Once you’ve admitted to yourself that you need help, it’s time to contact a professional. By dialing 211 on your phone, you’ll be connected with an operator who can put you in touch with the relevant health services in your area. This includes counseling, support groups, and drug and alcohol treatment, among others.
If you’re unsure what services are available to you, or feel uncomfortable asking your doctor in person, this is a great way to get help – and don’t worry, it’s fully confidential.
These are the first steps on the road towards recovery. It might be a long process, but by starting today, you’ll be closer than ever to a life free from addiction.
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Guest Author Bio
Trenton J. Smith
Trenton is an aspiring writer who loves to research and write about a wide variety of topics. When he is not writing, he enjoys gardening and long walks with his dog Boomer.