The cycle of addiction can be a dangerous and a scary one for the person in it and also for the family and friends that are witnessing it. In order to break this cycle, a joint effort is needed, both from the person who is in the addiction cycle and those around him or her. With both parties in agreement, the habit can be kicked and a healthier lifestyle can resume. Below you will find the steps for making that happen.
Step 1: Knowing the Addiction Cycle
Step one in breaking an addiction of any kind is knowing the cycle of addiction that your loved one is currently going through. The first step in the addiction cycle is experiencing a challenge or some type of pain that leads the person to have an increased level of anxiety. The second step is fantasizing that the pain felt will be relieved through the use of an outside substance. The third step is the acting out of the fantasy that was created in the second step.
The fourth step is the loss of control. The person becomes officially addicted when their life is controlled by the thing they are addicted to. This loss of control will also cause the person to have a change in behavior because their addiction now dictates what they do and say.
The fifth step is feeling guilty for even becoming addicted in the first place. The sixth step is making the promise to yourself that you will never use or partake in the drug or activity every again. The seventh step is stopping what you are partaking in. This cycle will often begin again once another difficult or stressful thing happens in your life.
Step 2: Recognizing the Purpose
Allowing yourself to answer the question “why you do it?” while acknowledging your addiction is very important. Being aware of your addiction will show that you are able to really think about and identify the cause of that which you are addicted to. Once you are able to recognize the cause, you can then move on to the other steps that will help you to address this underlying issue in a healthier way.
Step 3: Think Positively
Now that you know the purpose your addiction is serving you, it is time to combat it. This will is easier when you replace the negative, self-defeating thoughts with positive thoughts. Instead of telling yourself that you are worthless and that the only thing that will help is your addiction, try lifting yourself up.
Tell yourself that you do not need your addiction to cope with the issues in your life. You can and will overcome the addiction. Your life will change for the better once you make a conscious effort. It will be difficult to do this in the beginning, but with conscious practice it will get easier.
Step 4: Find Alternative Coping Mechanisms
The addiction that you have is a coping mechanism that you use to deal with the the stresses and anxieties that you feel in your life. In order to break through this addiction, you have to find other healthier ways of coping.
These healthier coping methods can include many things. One example would be to practice certain breathing techniques. These will help you as you while you are in the middle of experiencing stress. Breathing techniques are also a great way to relax yourself when you feel as if stress is about to rise up.
Another healthy and positive coping mechanism is exercising. When you exercise, you not only release toxins from our body through your sweat, but also the metaphorical toxins that may be occupying your mind. A word of caution is due here, because you want to make sure that an addiction is not made from what ever new coping mechanism you decide to implement.
Step 5: Identify Your Danger Zones
Your danger zones are going to be the times and places where you feel most vulnerable. This will all depend on what you are addicted to and the situations that make you feel stressed.
For example, you may feel as if you are not coping well with the stresses of your job so every day after work you go to a bar to drink. In this example you will be able to identify that your danger zone is the bar that is right across from your job. The time that you are most vulnerable would be immediately after work. This is just an example to help you to pinpoint when your specific addiction plagues you.
Step 6: Change the Way You Live
In order to get out of your addiction cycle, you will have to get change your lifestyle. This is going to be a difficult task that will probably take time. You can start with little changes that ultimately lead to large changes.
One of these changes may be not hanging out with people who encourage your addiction, or it could be taking a less stressful job. Another example would be to remove all the alcohol from the house so you will not be tempted. These little steps will make all the difference in your journey toward breaking the cycle.
Step 7: Have a Support System to Hold You Accountable
The last and most important step is to have a support system in place that will be there when you are feeling weak as well as when you are feeling great. With the right type of support system in place, you will find it easier to remain accountable to yourself and to them.
A large support system is always great, but you should identify one or two specific people who will ultimately hold you accountable. When you are beginning to feel as if things are taking a turn for the worst, then these accountability partners will be there to ensure you get the straight and stern talk you need.It is also possible to find your support from rehabilitation center such as ARC, to help you when you begin to feel low again.
It is an amazing first step to take when you decide that enough is enough and it is time to break the habits that feed into your addiction. However, it is only the first step, so it is important to follow through. These steps will help you on your journey to living healthier and stopping the cycle for good.