Is it Possible to Break an Addiction?

For some, the answer is no. Addiction is a deadly, progressive disease that cannot be fought alone. And for those who come to understand that, find a way out of the addiction merry-go-round. Only by knowing deep down that they need help and then taking action to ask for it is it then possible, to break the chains of addiction. That is where real recovery begins.

From there, significant changes need to be made. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Consider an easy way to think about it when wondering how to start. Remember the “Three C’s”:

  • Choices
  • Chances
  • Changes

In breaking out of the addiction cycle, a choice must be made to take a chance, or life will never change.

Making a choice to break an addiction is a powerful first step, but one must go further to live a better life. First, it demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and healing. Changes must then be made to break the cycle of addictive behaviors and thinking. Addiction/alcoholism is said to be a “thinking disease.”

One of the most effective changes is to develop a healthy support system. There are many recovery Twelve Step groups out there waiting to be of service and help the next incoming sufferer. Having a fellowship of people to turn to when the thoughts of escaping or running strike are essential.

Support could also include family, friends, mental health professionals, and even online support networks. However, if the family and friends are also addicts or alcoholics, it is best to “love them from a distance” until a strong recovery foundation is built.

The next step is making the necessary lifestyle changes focusing on physical, spiritual, and emotional health. This could include incorporating easy, low-key exercises, learning mindful meditation, volunteering, or even taking up a new hobby. These activities can help to reduce stress, provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose, and refocus energy on something more positive.

Identify and become aware of how to relearn “normal” responses to life on life’s terms and develop strategies for managing emotions. Recovery groups and rehabilitation centers are great for mentoring the addict through the self-discovery process it takes to relearn the emotional management of self, which creates real change within.

Once emotional triggers are identified, coping strategies can be developed to manage the situations that historically have driven emotions to extremely high levels of stress. This could include finding a distraction, such as going for a walk, calling a friend, or using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. Move a muscle, change a thought!

Finally, it is essential to remember that addiction recovery is a process, and taking it one day at a time is ok—progress, not perfection.

Always consult a healthcare professional or a trusted person with a strong recovery first. This article is for entertainment purposes and is meant to be suggestive only.

What are the six major characteristics of addictive behavior?

The addiction components model operationally defines addictive activity as any behavior that features the six core components of addiction:

  1. Salience
  2. Mood modification
  3. Tolerance
  4. Withdrawal symptoms
  5. Conflict
  6. Relapse

(Rinse and repeat!)

Let’s go a little deeper into the with some examples:

Salience is the tendency of a behavior to become the primary focus of an individual’s life. When a person is addicted to a substance, it becomes the main focus of their day-to-day life, overshadowing all other activities. For example, a person addicted to alcohol will eventually prioritize drinking over work, family, and other obligations.

Mood modification refers to how a behavior can change a person’s emotional state. When engaging in addictive behavior, a person may experience a surge of pleasure or euphoria. This is often followed by decreasing levels of pleasure or a “come down.” For example, an individual addicted to gambling experiences a high when winning but an intense low when losing.

Tolerance is the need for an increasingly larger amount to achieve the same effect. As an individual’s addiction progresses, they may need to increase the amount or frequency of the behavior/use to experience the same level of pleasure. For instance, an individual addicted to opioids needs to take increasingly larger doses to achieve the same level of euphoria.

Withdrawal symptoms refer to the unpleasant physical, mental, and emotional effects accompanying a behavior cessation. For example, someone addicted to opioids may experience flu-like symptoms, nausea, and anxiety when they attempt to quit.

Conflict is the discord that arises between a person and their loved ones, friends, or colleagues due to their addictive behaviors. This can include arguments, physical violence, and even estrangement. For instance, a person addicted to gambling may experience increased tension with their family as they struggle to pay debts.

Relapse is the return to addictive behavior after a period of abstinence. It is common for people to experience a lapse in their recovery, and relapse can occur even after years of sobriety. For example, an individual who has been sober for many years will relapse after simply being exposed to a trigger or an old thought process if they are not continuing with a daily routine of recovery behaviors.

What are 3 personality traits that are closely related to addiction?

No single personality type sets someone up for addiction, but there are a few personality traits common among people who have a substance use disorder:

  1. An inability to handle stress: People with an inability to handle stress may turn to substances to temporarily alleviate their emotional distress.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsivity can lead to making decisions without considering the consequences, including using substances to cope
  • Unaccountability: A lack of responsibility for one’s actions can contribute to continued substance use.
  • Lack of empathy
  • Selfishness

A lack of empathy and selfishness can lead to a disregard for how one’s behavior affects others and a desire to prioritize one’s needs over those of others.

  • Self-centeredness: can lead to a lack of understanding of others’ feelings, which can contribute to substance use.
Is it possible to break an addiction?

Breaking an addiction requires replacing unhealthy patterns with healthy ones and finding activities that can provide pleasure or reward as drugs or alcohol, without the negative consequences.

Participating in a support group or therapy works if you work it. With honesty, an open mind, willingness, and courage to ask for help, followed up by strenuous action, is it possible to break an addiction and regain control of life by living sober, one day at a time.

Always consult a healthcare professional or a trusted person with a strong recovery first. This article is for entertainment purposes and is meant to be suggestive only.

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