Addiction is a condition that refers to a substance dependence such as drug addiction or to a behavioral addiction like gambling, being a shopaholic, or a chocoholic, to name a few. The persistent use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities such as work, relationships, or health.
Individuals compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop almost always in reaction to being emotionally stressed and don’t have control over their behavior. Hence, the focus of the addiction isn’t what matters, more importantly it’s the need to actively manage certain types of stress.
Adi Jaffe is a former methamphetamine addict himself, a UCLA-affiliated researcher, an expert on substance abuse, focusing on the neuroscience and policy issues involved, and the founder of AllAboutAddiction.com. Jaffe argues that one of the top reasons addicts put off treatment is a fear of social stigma because in many cases they risk encountering a variety of legal restrictions many of which stem from a misunderstanding of addiction. People fear the label of “recovered addict” more than they fear the hardship of going “cold turkey” and this consists of a huge psychological and emotional burden.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the highest percentage of admissions to publicly funded substance abuse treatment programs in 2008 goes to alcohol only: 23.1%. In addition, Jaffe states that 75% of alcoholics recover without treatment based on data from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.
These figures should give hope to the addicts and to the society. Addicts and their community should work hand in hand to help them overcome their addiction. Addicts should start by having the will to undergo positive changes in their lives and the community should play a supportive and proactive role in helping those in need to feel less marginalized and better integrated.
Here are some ways to beat addiction.
1. Be social, reach out to your family and friends
Build and value personal relationships. Turn to positive communities for support, help and companionship. Don’t close up in your shell, your buddies are the six numbers saved on your speed dial so call them!
2. Distract yourself
Distract your mind! Books can be the buddies as well, they can take you places and make you use your imagination. Watch a movie, walk the dog- pets are amazing and improve mental health, learn how to cook and cook with friends, play board games, do gardening, listen to music, and this is a great website that turns your mood into music …
3. Be accountable to someone
In the professional world this is the strongest motivator for peak performance. Give and receive, find someone in a greater pain than yours and help him. Fake it till you make it, you’re the expert and the quickest way to learn something is to teach it. You always feel rewarded when you help someone. Practice makes perfect!
4. Review your values
Set your priorities and things that mean more to you than remaining addicted. Incentivize yourself, and if you don’t have an incentive yet, find one! Find your purpose and plan your future that leads to accomplishing your long-term goals. Consider the things that are important to you such as your kids, your partner, your career or your health. "You beat addiction when you make your urge to use or to act on your addiction a secondary or minor and diminishing factor in your life" says Dr. Stanton Peele.
Working out is a positive addiction! Get a jumping rope, run, run, run, walk around the bloc. This is a great booster and the endorphins released in your brain have a great effect on your emotional well-being. After all they say a healthy mind in a healthy body!
6. Practice yoga and meditation
This will help you control cravings through mind management techniques and breathing techniques. You’ll learn to appreciate the rewards that come from a sober, non-addicted lifestyle.
7. Be positive, optimistic, and disciplined
List the pros and cons of quitting, the costs and benefits of addiction, follow a schedule and replace your old habits by a constructive daily routine. Always remind yourself that tomorrow is another day and it can only get better!
Dr. Phil says “remember, you don’t even break a habit. If you want to get rid of a bad behavior, you have to replace it with something positive, something that will make you stronger instead of weaker. Work on identifying positive behaviors that would make good replacements for your addictions.”