Addiction is (or becomes) a chemical disorder in the brain. Those who struggle with addiction have lower levels of norepinephrine than others. Norepinephrine is a chemical secreted under stress, arousal, or thrill. The more habits and behaviors lower the level of norepinephrine, the harder the person has to work to get those levels raised. The only way to do this is by using more and more of the substance to get the same effect. Addictions that cause this chemical response include, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, misuse of prescription drugs, pornography, and gambling. Here are 5 tips for beating addiction:
1. Ask for help
Admitting there is a problem is a good beginning, but you also need help from an outside source – family, friends, a group, online program, and/or a workbook – because the addiction is inside of you. Using these resources can really help by holding you accountable, and providing much needed support and encouragement. Candeo is an excellent online resource that uses addiction science to confidentially coach people through daily recovery from sexual addictions.
2. Break habits
Obviously, breaking an addiction is a challenge, but you can reinforce your efforts by consciously abandoning your everyday routine and establishing new ones. Change the furniture. Start going to the gym. Go to bed earlier. Change the route you use to drive home.
3. Do something else
Think of 3 activities you can do before choosing addictive behavior. Call or text 3 people you can ask for help at a moment’s notice. Write 3 reasons why you are strong enough to empower yourself to do something else. Make a list of 3 things you are feeling, instead of hiding those feelings behind addiction.
4. Know Thyself
Identify both your weak spots and triggers that set the addiction cycle in motion. Identify specific coping skills to help with each trigger, and develop strategies for improving the weaknesses. Be honest with yourself and those trying to help you.
5. Focus on the good
Make a list of the positive things you are doing right. Look for the reasons you have to do well, like your spouse or children. Develop an attitude of gratitude, finding small ways to sincerely thank those around you for the ways they contribute to your life. Recognize the good ways you contribute to the lives of others. Do the things you enjoy when your life isn’t revolving around addiction.
Giving in to addiction is the process of surrendering your ability to make good choices. Beating an addiction will help reclaim your freedom, empower you to make good choices, and increase your ability to enjoy and appreciate those who care about you.
Emily Christensen, PhD, lives with her husband Nathan in Owasso, Oklahoma. Her blog is www.housewifeclass.com, and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.