When we engage ourselves in a pleasurable activity, the line between activity and addiction can be difficult to draw. While an activity is positive or neutral, it takes a negative turn when it becomes an addiction. All activities have a line that crosses into negative territory. In order to understand if you have an addiction to something, you need to ask yourself the impact and level of importance that this behaviour is having on your sense of self and the way you live your life. You can determine importance not only by how much you’re doing it, but also by how much you’re not doing other things. When you prioritise something, you are giving importance to it. Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.
There are lots of reasons why you can become addicted to something. Depending on your type of addiction, it can affect the way you feel, both physically and mentally. These feelings can be enjoyable and create a powerful urge to do it again. Anything that can change your emotional state or give you a mental “high” can be followed by a strong urge to try again and recreate that feeling. This can develop into a habit that becomes very hard to stop. An addiction can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and relationship troubles can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
Stopping addictive behaviour takes determination but it is possible. Addiction is a treatable condition. You already have the necessary tools, skills and abilities to break free from even the strongest addiction. You were born with them, but you might not have learnt or realised how to use them yet. In order to gain motivation to let go of your addiction you need to find the reason why you should stop, and most important, you should find out what you will gain by freeing yourself from an addictive behaviour. Your list can include:
-I’ve decided to quit because I want to have energy to live life to the fullest again;
-I’ve decided to quit because I am running out of money to support my habit.
-I’ve decided to quit because I want to be a better person to my family.
-I’ve decided to quit because I am determined to meet my grandchildren one day.
It is also important to identify your triggers when you have an addiction and you want to quit. Everyone has a certain set of triggers that make them automatically want to indulge their habits. Knowing your triggers will help you face them down when the time comes to quit. Remember that:
-Your environment may contain objects or other things that can be triggers;
-Stress is often a trigger for all kinds of addictions;
-Social situations like parties and meetings might act as triggers;
-Some people can be triggers;
You need all the support you can get during your journey to overcome addiction. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help you to overcome addiction, as during meditation, you learn to take control of your thoughts and emotions. It can be a way for you to control cravings and urges and to make wiser choices rather than giving in to the immediate pleasure of the addiction. With meditation you will realise that rather than focusing on the cause, you can also learn to focus on changing your perception and your reaction to what triggers your addiction. It is also helpful to find people in your life that can serve as support system, helping you stay motivated, providing tips for success, and encouraging you to try again if you have a false start. Get your environment ready for a fresh start. Remove reminders of your addiction from your home, car and workplace. Get rid of all the objects that goes along with the habit. Get items that help you feel positive and calm.
Be aware of the physical and mental impact of addiction withdrawal will be worth it in the end. Remember that letting go of an addiction may be challenging, but nothing is more dissatisfying than being stuck in a place that you do not belong.