In the United States, one in every ten people has a drug addiction. This means that if you’re trying to figure out how to beat addiction, you’re not alone.
Addiction happens for all kinds of reasons. Some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. While it’s easy to assume that an addict simply lacks willpower, or has a moral failing, this is simply not true.
In this post, you’ll learn why some top tips to help you beat your addiction and enjoy a happy life.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Why Are Some People Prone to Addiction?
When you compare the dopamine systems in addicts and non-addicts, addicts have underactive systems which means they don’t experience as much pleasure in their everyday lives compared to non-addicts.
Researchers have found that people with addictive tendencies have genetic abnormalities which demonstrate that they have addictive tendencies even before they develop an addiction.
This basically means that some people are more likely to become addicts because they get less pleasure from friendships, romantic relationships, work, and free time.
It’s important to recognize that some aspects of addiction are completely out of your control. Blame, self-loathing, and guilt are unlikely to help you learn how to fight addiction.
Instead, they’re likely to do the opposite. By recognizing that 10 to 15% of Americans have an addictive personality, and addiction is a disease, you can work on your recovery.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t take responsibility for your actions and the people that you hurt. But it does mean that instead of living in the past, you can focus on the future.
How to Beat Addiction
If you’re suffering from addiction, it may seem like you’ll never beat it. But studies show that most people overcome their addictions.
Here are 7 tips that will help you succeed and learn how to quit an addiction:
1. Accept That Addiction is a Disease
You wouldn’t blame someone for having cancer, would you? No matter what led to your addiction, the first step is to accept that addiction is a disease.
50-60% of addiction can be linked to your genes. If you were the child of an addict, you’re 8 times more likely to also become an addict.
Once you begin abusing alcohol or drugs, your brain begins to permanently rewire itself. As the abuse continues, the wiring associated with drinking or drug use is strengthened, and you begin to enjoy the buzz even more.
Think about heart disease, which is the developed world’s leading cause of death. Whether you end up with heart disease is partly due to your genetic predisposition and partly due to poor lifestyle choices like smoking, a bad diet, and lack of exercise.
The same can be said for adult-onset diabetes. If you were diagnosed with either of these diseases, you wouldn’t begin beating yourself up. Instead, you’d look at how you could tackle the disease. This is exactly how addiction should be approached.
2. Make the Decision to Quit
Making the decision to quit is a key step. Grab a pen and write down how your impact has had a harmful impact on your life and the lives of your friend and family members.
Consider what your addiction is preventing you from doing, and the type of life it’s preventing you from living. Think about how your physical health has been impacted, and how your addiction has hurt you mentally.
Write down how addiction has affected your key relationships. Has it prevented you from having time to meet your future spouse? Do you no longer talk to people who you have hurt?
Calculate how much money you spend on your addiction each week. What would you put this money toward if you quit? Consider if your addiction has had an impact on your job or career.
Now, make another list. These are the positive changes you’d like to introduce to your life. Imagine what your life looks like after you’ve beaten your addiction.
Maybe you’ll have more time and money to spend on your hobbies. You’ll likely have a greater sense of freedom, and you’ll probably feel much more physically healthy.
Stick these lists somewhere you can see them every day. Quitting an addiction can be mentally and physically challenging, and your reasons for quitting will help you get through the rough times.
3. Make Your Plan
Set a date in the next couple of weeks when you will quit your addiction. This will give you a bit of time to become physically and mentally prepared. Tell the people close to you about this date so you’ll have a firm commitment.
It’s important to consider any physical or medical support that you’ll need during this process. Some addictions need proper management during this period or they can be life-threatening.
Seek support from your loved ones. Talk to them about how determined you are to beat your addiction, and ask them to be by your side during this time.
4. Identify Danger Zones
Make a list of your potential danger zones or triggers. These are the things that are most likely to make you want to continue your addictive behaviors.
For example, if you’re addicted to alcohol, visiting the Mexican restaurant which has your favorite margaritas probably isn’t a good idea. If you have a certain friend who is also addicted to drugs and isn’t planning to quit, it may be smart to limit your time around them. If you have a problem with gambling, driving past the casino after a long day of work may be difficult.
When you know your triggers, you can avoid them whenever possible. You’ll also be prepared for them so you can have a strategy in place to deal with them. Stress can be a big trigger for many different addictions.
Social gatherings like parties can be difficult, particularly if you struggle with alcohol addiction. And sometimes certain individuals can trigger your addiction.
For each trigger, write down a solution that will help you when you encounter that situation, so you can be prepared.
5. Distract Yourself
Now that you’ve removed your addiction from your life, it’s likely that you have some free time on your hands. If your life has been consumed by your addiction, you may not know what to do with this extra time.
This is a chance to find some new hobbies, friends, and other distractions. For many people, exercise is a hugely powerful way to bust depression and enjoy some natural endorphins.
You may want to think about joining a gym, signing up for a 5km, or going along with your friend to her soul cycle class.
When you’re at home and you’re not sure how to distract yourself, try a few of these things:
- Crossword puzzles
- Walking a dog
- Card games
Another good option? Start that project you’ve been wanting to do for years. Maybe you’d like to take a writing course, learn to knit, coach Little League, take a tennis class, or learn a new language.
6. Look After Yourself
Prioritizing self-care is hugely important when you’re dealing with addiction. This means getting enough sleep, eating healthily, getting regular medical and dental checkups, and avoiding people who don’t make you feel good about yourself.
When you’re looking after yourself, you’re in a position to better manage your emotions. Huge emotional reactions can make it more difficult to stay sober, which is why self-care will help you beat your addiction.
7. Consult the Professionals
Now’s the time to find both professional and personal support. Because so many other people are struggling and have struggled with addictions, there are many rehabilitation centers, support groups, and therapists available to help you.
Research has proven that a combination of behavioral therapy and treatment medications gives addicts the best chance of beating their addiction. But it’s important that treatment is tailored for each person’s alcohol or drug use patterns, social problems, psychiatric issues, and medical history.
Many medications can help treat withdrawal, and can actually impact the center of the brain that craves drugs or alcohol. And behavioral treatments can help you increase your life skills and modify behaviors and attitudes.
This allows you to better handle your triggers and stressful situations and prevent a relapse. Whether you choose Muse Treatment or another type of treatment, you’ll be much more successful in overcoming your addiction if you consult the professionals.
Addiction doesn’t need to be your whole story. If you’ve been wondering how to beat addiction for good, the above tips will help you kickstart your new sober life.
It’s key to write down why you don’t want to be an addict and accept the impact your addiction has on your life and your friends. When you can see this every day, you’ll be better able to avoid relapsing, even when it’s difficult.
It’s also important that you speak to a professional so you know how you’ll handle your recovery. If your addiction has impacted your relationships, check out some of our family and relationships blog posts today.