Quitting An Addiction
How To Quit An Addiction
While I myself have never experienced what most people would call major addictions, there have been times in my life where I've had to face my own poor decisions and decide what to do. In these times, I had to learn about bad addictions the hard way, and to put it bluntly, it stunk. If you don't want this to happen to you, continue reading for a step-by-step guide on how to quit an addiction that you've had for any length of time.
I could go off on a long spiel about how not getting started with a bad habit is the best way to quit. However, I feel that would be cheating you, because if you haven't started yet, why would you want to quit? That's not advice, that's just saying that you're stupid, which you aren't. Having an addiction doesn't mean you're stupid, it means you made a bad choice, something any human will do over and over again. If you have admitted it, you're even better off. Admitting you have a bad habit is something that takes guts and brains, which the people who will tell you you're stupid obviously don't have.
I will attest to the fact that the longer you've been at it, the harder it will be to kick the habit. The good news is, the harder it will be to stop, the better you'll feel about yourself once you've succeeded. Believe me, you can succeed. I'm not saying my guide will guarantee your success. In fact, my guide in itself is nothing. What CAN guarantee you success is partly the fact that you're reading this right now. You obviously WANT to quit, which is the first step to quitting. If you don't want to quit, it will be nearly impossible for you. However, with the right attitude and amount of effort, you can accomplish anything, let alone quitting an addiction that is hurting you.
Step 1: Facing The Addiction
The first step to quitting an addiction, you've partly accomplished. If you're reading this and you have an addiction you want to get rid of, you're halfway there. You've realized that you NEED to quit. In order to begin quitting, you must first:
A. Acknowledge that you HAVE an addiction.
B. Be aware of the fact that it is HURTING you.
C. CRAVE a time in your future when you will no longer be addicted.
D. Develop this craving so that it is STRONGER than the cravings your addiction causes.
Once you've done these four steps, you'll be ready to move on to step two. Sometimes the hardest part is for people to realize that they are hurting themselves and need to quit. If you know someone who has an unhealthy habit, the best way to approach them is not to bug them constantly about it, but to present yourself and your own healthy lifestyle to them in an enticing manner. Make them want to quit. If they don't want to quit, chances are nothing you do will convince them, especially if you bug them to death. The person with the addiction must accept it in order to move on. This is what step one is about. When you are addicted to something you must face the addiction in order to beat it.
Step 2: Reducing The Addiction
Once you have faced your addiction and are confident that you can beat it, you can begin reducing your addiction level. This must be done or else you'll always return to exactly where you were before, which accomplishes nothing. If you suddenly drop everything, the withdrawal symptoms will usually make you miserable, depending upon your addiction. The cravings will most likely become painful and/or traumatic, and you will nearly be forced back into the habit. This is not the best way to go about it. It might be the quickest way, but it will be much more difficult. I'm not saying that detoxification (for drug problems) doesn't work or is not a viable option--but you should probably try something less stressful first.
To reduce the addiction, you need to GRADUALLY lower everything that causes, and everything that is caused by, the addiction. For instance, if you're a smoker and you want to quit, but seeing cigarettes makes you want to buy them, you need to avoid the drug section in the supermarket. If eating chocolate (for some odd reason) causes you to want a cigarrete, then remove chocolate from your diet ENTIRELY. Any little things like this you can do, do FIRST and keep doing them so that it becomes that much easier to quit as you progress. Write yourself notes if you have to, but remember to consistently avoid things that cause cravings.
Secondly, you also need to gradually lower the activities caused by the addiction--that is, the habit itself. If you're a smoker, for instance, set limits for yourself. Decide on a certain amount you'll allow yourself every day, and keep at it for, say, a month. Then, lower it a little bit more. If a month seems too long or too short, then by all means, adjust as needed. You need to get more in tune with your body's own rhythm of adaptation, which will determine how gradually (or how fast) you're able to reduce your addiction.
So, step two, in a nutshell, is to first eliminate the causes of cravings, and second, lower the amount you indulge in your cravings. Never allow yourself to fall into the "just one more" rule. If you allow yourself one more, that punctures all the work you've done in the past. Remember that quitting is about quitting, not about giving in to yourself. You must conquer your cravings and learn to control what your body thinks it needs.
Step 3: Filling The Gaps
The third and final step to quitting an addiction is to FILL THE GAPS. You will most likely find a lot more time on your hands now that your habit is slowly tapering away, time you would have usually spent on the bad habit. What you need to do now, instead of feeling sorry for yourself and THINKING about your cravings is do the exact opposite. Fill in the gaps with NEW activities and ways to be HEALTHY. There are plenty of things you can do with the new free time you'll have, and these will make quitting all that much easier. A few suggestions are listed here:
-Take a walk (finding someone to walk with may help)
-Read all the books on your reading list (if you have one) or ask friends for good books to read
-Study the bible or get involved with a study group (an out-of-church activity)
-Spend time with family and friends (play games together, go to shows, watch movies, etc.)
-Take up an instrument (learn guitar, piano, or another instrument--now days, teaching yourself is easy)
-Get yourself a hobby, or revive an old one (make crafts, be artistic)
I'm sure you could list a dozen more good activities, and they would all be just as healthy and time-consuming. Make sure that you stick with it and don't give up. As things get better and better, you will most likely feel better and find enjoyment in things besides your addiction, and it will slowly but surely disappear. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!
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