Generally, you have an addiction if you are abnormally tolerant to a habit-forming substance or activity. Addictions come in various forms and at times victims may not be aware they have an addiction until someone points it out. The downside of addictions is that they can have negative physical or psychological effects.
They can result in loss of productivity, strained relationships and financial constraints.
There are various strategies one can employ to manage and/or break an addiction.
However, the success rate depends on how far-entrenched the addiction is and the victim’s willingness to reform.
Let’s explore a few general ones.
Admit the problem
The first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit that you have one. You cannot fight a demon you don’t see.
Note harmful effects
Once you have admitted that you are an addict, list the harmful effects your addiction has.
Writing down the harmful effects of your addiction will make it easier for you to see it as a problem and readily want to overcome it.
When listing the problems, think holistically. Think how it has affected you physically, mentally, financially and relationship wise.
Once you are done listing the harmful effects, think of how much better your life would be without them.
Make an effort to gradually ease off your addiction. Experts note that it is almost impossible to quit instantaneously; and doing so may result in undesirable withdrawal effects.
For instance, if you’re an addict of video games, gradually cut back on the hours you spend with your console. If it is alcohol, reduce the amount of frequency of imbibing.
Addicts have certain agents, such as environment or people, that make them automatically want to indulge in their addictions.
Identify such triggers and make an effort to avoid them. For instance, if you know you can’t hold yourself back in a party, politely decline invites.
Stop hanging out with people who make you indulge in your addictions and find a new crop that have positive vibes.
Come up with a plan on how to go about with the quitting exercise. It is advisable to break down targets to smaller parts, say daily goals, as this makes the exercise look less daunting.
Psychologically, rewards act as positive reinforcement and can help us engage more in an activity.
Set a reasonable reward scheme; gifting yourself for every goal achieved.
Rewards do not have to be dear; choose something that is well within your means but valuable enough for you.
Seek alternative pastimes
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Most addictions start off as an innocent endeavour to fill up free time, before graduating to become harmful.
Find alternative pastimes that do not have negative effects in your life.
It can be an evening walk in the neighborhood, signing up for an evening dance class, joining a book club or helping out in a hospice/orphanage.
Sometimes things do not work out, despite the desire to quit and best efforts to do so. In such case there’s no harm in seeking help.
This can be from someone close and trustworthy or from a professional. Also, having a second party involved can help you get back on track whenever you are about to derail.