12 Tips to Beat Addiction

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People often find that overcoming an addiction is more challenging than they expected. Where drugs and alcohol are concerned, people often think that they are in control and can quit at any time. Addictions come in many forms, not just drugs and alcohol.  For example, excessive shopping, eating, gambling, sex, exercise, along with using a variety of mind-altering chemicals and substances. Here are 12 tips to helping you beat addiction.

Step 1.     See your healthcare provider. Have a complete examination with laboratory studies. Seek to discover any disease processes or nutritional deficiencies that have developed and discuss methods that can help address any concerning areas.

Step 2.     Change your diet.  Many addicts suffer some form of malnutrition. Their bodily functions are impaired due to nutrient deficiency. For example, some alcoholics drink rather than eat, which have predictable nutritional consequences. Ensure you are eating a diet rich in quality nutrients, like protein, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Avoid refined or processed foods and excess sugar.

Step 3.      Make exercise a priority.  Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that relieve stress and depression, and can reduce cravings. Ensure you engage in exercise that is sufficient enough to elevate your heart rate. A good workout also promotes the release of healthy brain substance called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF helps the brain repair and regenerate.

Step 4.      Modify your behavior.  Much of alcohol and drug dependence mechanisms are controlled by repetitive behavior and physiological “rewards.” Thus, you can seek therapy to help identify and modify these thoughts and behaviors. The best type of therapy to achieve this is a form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy or (CBT), which helps to train a patient’s brain to learn new behaviors.  The therapy has been shown to be extremely effective.

Step 5.      Take one day at a time.  Try not to think about abstaining forever. Sure, that’s your goal. But the road ahead can seem insurmountable. Take life one day at a time. Looking ahead to the next year, or even the next month, can seem daunting. Living in the now also helps you to better appreciate the blessings you already have.

Step 6.      Get busy.  Find new hobbies and activities to participate in that do not involve the addictive behaviors. Think about activities you loved to do as a child, like swimming, bike riding, reading, and painting. Find new ways to pass your free time and set new goals.

Step 7.      Get educated.  Fine out how the addiction affects your body and your brain. Once you understand its negative effects, you can become instrumental in helping to heal your own body and brain.

Step 8.      Seek counseling and support.  The nature of recovery is an ongoing process. To avoid relapse, and help minimize cravings, get individual counseling or attend regular support groups. You can also join online recovery forums where you can participate anonymously.

Step 9.      Get relaxed and stay focused.  A contemplative practice is a wonderful way to assist healing and to take your mind off of the craving. Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, Yoga, Biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, and other forms of relaxation help tremendously. When your mind and body are in a relaxed state, you’re more likely to heal and remain hopeful and less likely to experience relapses.

Step 10.   Create a call list.  When you’re alone and feeling down, depressed or having cravings, call a designated support person. This could be a friend, minister, relative, or someone else. Have a call list, a series of names you can call. Keep calling until you reach someone that has the time or is available to help.  They will be happy you call on them.

Step 11.   Be thankful.  It helps to be grateful and thank God—or whatever higher power you believe in—for your continued ability to abstain, heal, overcome, and enjoy life.

Step 12.   Never ever give up. Countless people have conquered addictions and are thriving. If this article speaks to you, then you are already a survivor, living and breathing beyond all of life’s challenges. Never, ever give up!