Addiction is one of those habits that rely on willpower to break. Whatever your everyday activity, the habits you make become part of your emotional make-up. But when we have these habits that form such a significant part of our lives, giving them up is one of the most difficult things that we can ever undergo.
Willpower is one of those things that you think you either have or you don’t. But the mental strength to getting over an addiction isn’t just about willpower; it is about the tools you put in place to help you overcome any form of addiction.
Replacing Old Habits With New, But Similar, Ones
Because addiction is about a habit, the trick to overcoming it isn’t about cold turkey necessarily; it’s about replacing old habits with new ones that are similar. This gives you the option to stay even-keeled. Picking a choice that can help you to form a positive new habit can be the difference between you giving to your addiction or escaping it. For example, with something like smoking, there are many vape mods and approaches to giving up the dreaded tobacco. For many smokers, the sensation of having something in between their fingers or something to do with their hands is a lot to do with the very habit they have formed. Once you start to replace your bad habits with better ones, you will automatically start reaching for the better ones without thinking about it.
Remember About Setting Patterns
The reason that we get addicted to things is that we get into a pattern where an action turns into a habit. This is why so many people that go cold turkey struggle. When you have an addiction to something it’s far more efficient to limit yourself to smaller patterns. If you have an issue with something like alcohol, you can set yourself a small goal, such as allowing yourself one drink with one meal instead of a drink with everyone. It’s important to start out small. This also makes it easier to follow. Once you can start to keep track of your goals, you can gradually start to wean yourself off the bad habit.
Removing Those Triggers
A lot of addiction is to do with the temptations. When you put yourself in situations where the triggers are present, this is why you are contributing to your bad habits. Sometimes it’s to do with the friends we fraternise with, but if they don’t take the hint that we don’t want to drink anymore, it’s far better to be honest and upfront with them. We also have to remember that our true friends will help us to reach those goals. When you try to get rid of a bad habit, one of the major obstacles of willpower is temptation, and this could be certain people as well as certain triggers. Sometimes we’ve just got to cut our losses and stay away from those people purely for the sake of our health.
Learning To Love Yourself
Self-care is more important than you realise. If you are attempting to get over an addiction and you have a low perception of yourself, you can find it a bigger obstacle. Learning to love yourself is about that respect for yourself. Because as soon as you start to look in the mirror and think that you are worth it, this is when you will start to develop that internal strengths. Because we are the only people responsible for our actions, and therefore the consequences, we have to stop and think about how the decisions we make will affect us. Learning to love yourself is about understanding you’ve made mistakes, but now you want to learn from them. And you can do this in many ways, but asking for help is one of the biggest lessons we can learn. Asking for help could be about getting counselling, or just taking that first step. The second that you realise that you need help and support can be the key to overcoming it forever. A lot of people try to overcome bad habits with moral support, especially if there is a friend going through the same thing. It’s a perfect way to keep yourself accountable for someone else, as well as yourself.
That mental strength to getting over an addiction isn’t just willpower, it’s about the tools you can have at your disposal. Whether this is asking for help, replacing habits, minimising triggers, or just learning to love yourself, addiction is something that can tear families apart, and if you’ve decided that tomorrow you are going to get back on the wagon, know that there is help out there.
*This feature was created in collaboration with a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not necessarily those of Mental Movement Magazine.