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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Comments 68 comments

diane 8 years ago


lolo 8 years ago

this didn't help

DS 8 years ago

This is great, im not having a drug or alcohol related problem but this still is great...it atleast gives me some ideas of what i can do. Thanks alot

2fly 7 years ago

wow, is it really that easy? im going to go quit.

palo 7 years ago


Josh 7 years ago

I wish i could

anon 7 years ago

Thank you. very sound and sensible advice.

bob 7 years ago

thank god for secular advice

Jacob 7 years ago

Thank you so much for takeing the time to right this. i'm shere that it will help me.

Shawn 7 years ago

I think you've said it here in so many words, but I'll repeat it just because I like to watch myself type: the key to quitting anything is NOT about self-denial. The key to long-term quitting is changing your brain so that you no longer want the thing that you're addicted to. I truly believe that's the only path to real freedom.

Lee 7 years ago

Thank you

Mike 7 years ago

very beautiful

Ironmap profile image

Ironmap 7 years ago

I applaud the effort but I find it a bit more complex and challangeing....dave

iskra1916 profile image

iskra1916 7 years ago from Belfast, Ireland.

Good hub !

Andraes 7 years ago

well,this d be an intro to quitting at best... However,the first step s important,I agree

(what's crap btw,who wants a mental crutch like that?)

Cybermouse profile image

Cybermouse 7 years ago from Bentonville, AR Author

Andraes, I don't understand your calling "Bible crap" a mental crutch. I wrote this hub because I wanted to help people escape their own mental crutches (i.e. smoking, drugs, etc.) and if I considered biblical theology a mental crutch I wouldn't have mentioned it at all. Besides, it was merely a suggestion. If you don't want to better yourself spiritually, it's your loss. I never forced you to read my hub; you're the one who chose to comment on it.

Ania Shapiro 7 years ago

Thank goodness now I can quit my porn addiction (oops I wasn't supposed to say that...)

Frank Lacracio 7 years ago

Thank you for this it is all very true I might just take up guitar after all :)

PrincessT 6 years ago

Amen to that Cypermouse.... I haven't really read the whole story yet; just the comments first, and I agree

Anna Maria 6 years ago

Thank you so much, this is really inspiring and I am looking forward to having a happier life.

scottys thoughts 6 years ago

Good Job, I hope it helps someone!!

Jenna Pope profile image

Jenna Pope 6 years ago from Southern California

Good article! I'm in recovery, too. JP

Tom 6 years ago

Your guide has helped me get a quick start on quitting some of my addictions.

In 3 months I have managed to lower my masturbation rate from 2-3 times per day to 2-3 times per week, and I'm still working to make it less.

Thank you,

Chase Miller 6 years ago

Hey man, thanks for writing this. You really don't know how awesome something like this is . . . I'm still fighting my addiction, but this has lifted me up just as I was about to fall! Pray for me will ya? (that's God Bless!

Anonymous 6 years ago

HELP me. I don't have the strength to follow these steps. I always think that I'll fall again into my addiction. I frequently feel hopeless. But I do really want to change. :(

anonym. 6 years ago

Thanks for your work.. May God, Allah, and Buddha (whoever) bless you.

jaybob217 profile image

jaybob217 6 years ago

I would agree facing the addiction is an important step. I knew I was an alcoholic for years, but wasn't willing to do anything about it. There were two things I hated; the way things were and change. Not until the pain of living the way I was living with addictions was more painful than the fear of trying something different was I ready to face my addictions, accept them, surrender and try something different.

For me, I have to continue to grow spiritually. This is my opinion, but a lot of people confuse spirituality with religion, knowledge has nothing to do with spirituality, but experience. The bible can be used for spiritual guidance, to each their own. I applaud you for listing that. For me personally, I would no more go without prayer and meditation than I would food or water. Call it a crutch if you want; not only has it saved my life, it's given me a life full of more happiness and enjoyment than I could have ever imagined.

Marty 6 years ago

Hi, As you well know breaking an addiction can be trautamtic for everyone involved. I recommend that you go and get help at a holistic treatment centre so it can be performed successfully.

If you live in Australia try Bridging The Barriers on the Gold Coast. They have a very good record.


Marty 6 years ago

I really like this hub. I think that people in Australia if your looking for help you could try a Holistic approach. I hear that http://www.bridgingthebarriers.com.au are proving great results.

josh 6 years ago

i now i have an addiction its my way to escape instead of talking about it i hate how it controls ur life and ruins everything i hate the one more time thing i alwawya end up doing it again but ill never give try to quiet if u try and fail tha first time try again even harder the next ull never fail as long as u keep thriving to quiet

kenneth godin profile image

kenneth godin 6 years ago from canada

thanks for posting!

Pamela Maher 6 years ago

I have admitted I have a drug problem. I am tapering down,but just started . Now , The only thing I have to do is learn how to make my cravings stronger for a sober life rather than my next dose.But, This has been very helpful for me.Also, It is something I can print out so my family can understand what I am really going through.

Thank You.. Cybermouse


Seeger 6 years ago

Hey you know what.. Everything you have said in this hub in my opinion should work for anyone willing to mentally work on it. We r all humans we all have limits. People who cannot admit this will work for them is obviously not ready to give up on their habbits or addictions. It's all a mental game. Really in the end who are you fighting? If you said yourself then you are correct. Well you know what folks I am done fighting myself. My addictions will stop by all means necessary.

Pamela 6 years ago

I think what you have put up is a very constructive piece of information for an addict. First of all..I have to say the best way to follow this is to print it out and read it everday..if not more than once a day to refresh your mind.These are the all the addictions I attemp to reduce down all together.Cigarettes,Oxycontin,Valium,Serapax and lose weight from my last attempt with going Cold Turkey.I lasted 90 days,but it felt like it was taking way to long to even be able to smile at that point and felt suicidal and was honestly scared I was going to cary it through.That is when I knew that going Cold Turkey was not mean't for me.Also..At the time I was on an opiate forum and people were going C/T that had a much stronger dose than I was doing and had been on them sometimes up to 10 years longer them me and telling everone that they were feeling incredibly better in as little as 6-7 days which just made me feel so depressed because I knew that if It was the 6-7th day for me..I would still be bedridden moaning in pain !

Thank You for the help..cybermouse and wish me all the luck and prayers because God Knows that I am going to need them.

Big Hugs..

Pammie x x x

Kyle 6 years ago

This was inspirational and helpful. I suffer from a less common addiction but this was great even for me.

FrankiesGirl6Yr profile image

FrankiesGirl6Yr 6 years ago from South Carolina

I think you should have titled your page.. Steps to quiting a mild addiction. I'm not insulting your process at all, but addiction is a broad spectrum and you couldn't expect this process to work for those addicted to heroin, meth,crack, or oxycontin. These are not addiction that you can "lower the use of" slowly and continuley decrease. Most addicted to hard drugs may have the IDEA they are just going to buy enough to get them by, but always spend their entire paycheck.

There was a response posted above that said addiction is mental, um ya to smoking pot, but addiction to hard drugs is very real, physically.

Like I said please don't get me wrong, I could see these steps working for someone who is addicted to pot or caffiene, but hard drugs usually have to be substituted with or by something. For example, I have been sober for 3years. My drug of choice, speedballs. For those who don't know what that is it's heroine and crack or cocaine mixed. WOW, I know, horrible. I finally found the miracle drug Suboxone. It has been three years and I still have to take this dailey. Even on the medication there are times "not all the time, it decreasing as the years go by" I want to get high sooooo bad. There are still times when the wind blows a certain way and I can smell dope being cooked up. I can't ever drop off my insurance payment, it has to be mailed, because around the corner I've gotten high a hundred times. Not to mention my stomach starts to cramp up. Now this usually only happens when there is major stress going on, but I just can't imagine doing as good as I have "No relapses" with a "this is how you do it process"

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

well said frankiesgirl. this article applies well to early stages of substance use or experimental use, and a number of other "bad habits" but not to addiction. In that regard, thanks for the hub cybermouse. It's always good to fine tune our habit breaking skills.

mr. daydream profile image

mr. daydream 6 years ago

Terrific hubpiece! A straight, direct, to the point opinion on tackling addiction demons. I'm using your hub as a reference link on my "Fighting Addictions" hub, if you don't mind. I think they would be great companion-pieces for each other.

mike 6 years ago

"Develop this craving so that it is STRONGER than the cravings your addiction causes."

That one piece of advice that you wrote above is now my motto for my quit. If I quit I become a millionair. If I dont quit I will struggle my whole life and lose all friends and family... Good luck with your quit's. Develop this craving so that it is STRONGER than the cravings your addiction causes!!!

Pawan Kaushik 6 years ago

nice work man

it can helps a lot if follower wants

Chris 6 years ago

I admit I HAVE AN ADDICTION, good thing thing I found this article.

Katie 6 years ago

"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."

This article was amazing! I keep repeating the last two over and over to myself and invisioning my life that I want MORE than my addiction (in my case - bulimia).

I bookmarked this article. Thank you!

candle62 profile image

candle62 6 years ago from London

Very informative

keep it up


Dave Sibole profile image

Dave Sibole 6 years ago from Leesburg, Oh

Good hub, voted it up and useful but it didn't work that way for me. I quit smoking 3 times, once for 3 months and once for 6 months and now it has been close to 28 years since I've smoked. Each time I quit I had to quit cold turkey and with an open pack laying in full view. My wife still smokes but I just decided it wasn't good for my health and laid them down. My wife has tried the gum, patch and even hynosis (twice) until she has given up trying. Different things work differently for each person. I think a person's body chemistry makes it harder for some than others. I think patience, tolerance and prayer are the best things we can do for people struggling with an addiction. Definitely nagging is a no-no.

RethinkRehab 6 years ago

Based on an article by John Derry, Founder & Director, A Home Away Retreat Inc, "It is suggested that addicted individuals have compulsively denied and displaced responsibility for their lives to avoid the anxiety of free choice. They become masters of rationalization, projection and avoidance. It is only through existentially feeling the fear that the addict can begin to recognize life's alone-ness and take responsibility for his or her own destiny. Through this experience of surrender, the alcoholic gains the freedom to not-drink, as opposed to giving up the freedom to drink.". I believe it is important for individuals to seek further treatment when facing any type of serious addiction to find lasting success ...

Entourage_007 profile image

Entourage_007 6 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

Great article, filling in the gaps is definitely a big part of quitting an addiction. This means joining a gym or something that is a hobby that you enjoy.

drama94 profile image

drama94 6 years ago

I think you did a great job, and i want to know what you think about mine, its about the same thing but of course with different perspectives.

Dylan 6 years ago

Wow, Thanks! Only 12 and still have an addiction. :\

Still, It helps.

interventions 6 years ago

good article. there is more info at http://www.pathwayinterventions.com

Matthew 6 years ago

This is very helpful. I have already without realizing gone through step 1 and will be continuing through step 2 and 3 starting today. Again Thank You.

Mike "Quit Smoking Weed" 5 years ago

Thanks man very helpful article,although I personally think that abstinence is for most the easier way than reduction. If you where to controll consumption your where most likely not becoming addicted. But at the end it´s a personal question what fit´s your needs better.

Jake 5 years ago

Thank you very much!

Fidel bhanju 5 years ago

how do you get your fight temptations and keep your social life

leon smith 5 years ago

i hope this helps me break my adiction ive had for a year and a half. thanks

Ratish 5 years ago

gr8 stuff...

wud lyk to comment on some issues

1. 'Bible', though I am not religious but I experienced good results on some of my friends, for whom I assisted their battle against addiction. The difference that I think, religious readings made, was development of acceptance in the person. Secondly it helped them in self motivation, faith in self and created in them a craving for good living. There are volumes written upon religion and spirituality and perhaps, so many people, who wrote them, can not be all stupids, for sure they are created for good purpose.

2. The question of whether to discontinue suddenly or gradually, is subjective. One must know the type in which he/she lies. There are both of these types, ones, who find it easy to lessen it gradually and others, who can quit only by a sudden stop.


dilson 5 years ago

meditation helps

Spencer Smith 5 years ago

The difference with the people saying thank you this helped and the people that said its more complex than that is more time and more help.

Those people most likely need to talk to a psychologist, or psychiatrist and deal with some mental health issues they may have. by the way not need to be afraid of that term. Could be some inherited mental health imbalances inherited, combined with triggers and trauma in life that make it manifest. whatever the reason or what contributes what to it, they may need help to work on managing and coping strategies for symptoms of a mental disorders, then help with any unhealthy relationships in their lives and enviornments, then work on addiction. that is where you would come in.

someone 5 years ago

this really helped

benny 5 years ago

chase miller i'll pray for ya bub. it's tough. i ain't done yet, but i did at least quit smoking. the way i did that was that i decided that i wasn't a smoker any more. i used to think it was gross before i ever started. now i reverted to that mindset. i want to smoke, but i'm just not a smoker anymore. feel so much better it's unbelievable!

anonymous 4 years ago

what makes us to be addicted ? are they hormones that are produced by the body or what and if so can drugs help us to put these bad habits off.Just like the way an insulin dose can help a diabetic person to control blood sugar.

I guess reading the bible and praying can really help.

Temitope 4 years ago

Addiction is sometimes more than what requires a physical intervention. Sometimes, you might need to go to God to heal you of your addictions. In all, you have to explore all options. If you think all these options are failing, God is there to heal you.

visit http://www.quit-addiction.blogspot.com for more info

InTheKnow 4 years ago

TL;DR: Dopamine causes addictions and we can't use something to block that from occurring because you wouldn't be able to feel normal excitement for anything at all. You would have no motivation to do anything let alone quit the actual addiction. Blocking only certain things like drug use would be the only possible idea but it would probably have enormous side effects if it was even possible.

Addictions form because the brain releases a surge of dopamine when we experience any exciting/enjoyable/exhilarating situation or activity.

This is your body's way of reinforcing whatever just happened. It's a type of survival trait that goes haywire. Normally when you do something that helps you and makes you feel better your body releases dopamine and you get that pleasure/reward feeling of "This is great I did a good job."

Now the problem is this is USUALLY totally fine and good in survival instances. Your body does not form an intense obsessive-like fascination and complete preoccupation with the activity, it just reinforces your willingness to repeat an activity if its available.

But the problem is the things we've come to know are very addictive (drugs/food/sex/money) tend to hijack the dopamine pathway and create a HUGE increase in the amount of dopamine released, so your body thinks "Oh YEAH! That was better than EVERYTHING ELSE!"

So the more you get used to that huge increase, the less thrilling it (and everything else) actually seems, and thus the familiar cycle of "It used to be fun and now I don't even know why I can't stop its not enjoyable anymore."

And this is also the reason why you lose interest in normal things and its hard (but not impossible!!) to regain aspirations for awhile after giving up the addiction.

Muhammad 4 years ago

Excellent l have started quitting

Hayden 4 years ago

My name is Hayden, and I have an addiction. I started when I was 10 years old, and 5 years later, here I am wanting and needing to stop. I have a problem with pornography. I hate how I avoid social situations and my family just to watch it. I'm sick and tired of wasting my time doing this. I don't even know why I watch it anymore, but it's normally when I feel "down". I play baseball, and this "down" feeling is normally experienced during off season. I keep saying Ill quit, but when I break that word, it makes me feel worse than I did before. Im tired of this and I am going to work to live my life, surrounded by friends, family, teamwork and God, free of temptation. Please pray for me, I am Hayden and I am a recovering addict.

Matthew 4 years ago

This may help me, I am not sure.

taylor 4 years ago

thanks for the article...

richard 3 years ago

Its hard...... you defend yourself against it and some tiny trigger sets the ball rolling in your head, just a thought, then it slowly grows and before you know it you've done it again..... find solace... look towards the future.... And I don't care who you are pray for help..... otherwise you will lose yourself.

david 3 years ago

Addiction is one of our biggest spiritual endeavors and cannot possibly be explained to the non-addict. You must never judge your self and your progress with the current standards of our society. It will not work. We are people that are hypersensitive to emotion and the life experience and really can't imagine a life where we are not overwhelmed. The drugs do offer us a sense of relief and does free us temporarily to feel like we are ok and can continue life. The down side is of course, that this trick will not continue to work for our entire lives. We can attempt this life approach, but will risk consequences like insanity and death. Think about what else would bring you relief from living in this insane world. What is something that you like to do?

Most addicts struggle with two basic questions, who am I, and what should I be doing? Most of us would agree that we are excellent with surviving skills but we must look deeper than just surviving this temporary trip. What happened to enjoying something, maybe simple, like gardening or cooking? Let us not try to forget our circumstances and how we have learned to cope, but let's not limit ourself just to this one cause. Let's broaden and expand our thinking to include our experience, make peace with it, and for God's sake, try something else. All my love to all struggling addicts, we know and experience suffering like many in the world will never know. Let's keep communicating with each other and reach out to all of our brothers and sisters. Remember that hope is stronger than fear, even if it is just a tiny little bit of hope somewhere in your being. Latch on to it and if you fall 100 times, just be sure you get up 101. Again, all my love to you, David

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