I became addicted to a lot of things and it’s safe to say that I have what they refer to as an ‘addictive behaviour’. Over the years, I have been addicted to cocaine, gambling, smoking, shit foods and used many things like alcohol to fill the void when not using the substances I had become so used to devouring.
I had become so used to the cycle of giving up one thing, lasting a few days then for some reason (despite all the convincing talk I gave myself that this was it – I was going to go clean), I still ended up going back to my usual ways and either losing my entire bank through gambling or being wired on my couch alone, wanting more. Or both!
So why couldn’t I do it? Why, despite what I told myself over and over again that I had had enough of doing what I despised, is sometimes a matter of hours, I would be doing the same again but on a much larger scale?
The problem for me is the term ‘addictive behaviour’. I always thought that this is what I had as that is what society and many blogs tell you. But there is more to it than that. In fact, there are many factors which are often not referenced as the cause.
I find it a total cop-out to simply say that someone has an addictive personality and in essence, rather than allowing people to come to terms with the root causes, instead give an excuse to continue the cycle of addiction because, hey, you simply have an addictive personality – defining that as part of your persona.
What utter bollocks!
I had to find out WHY I was stuck in this cycle
WHY couldn’t I quit for good?
What was stopping me from say, drinking alcohol socially and not wanting to go on an absolute bender after just a few drinks?
Like anything, there are multiple factors. Not to mention that some drugs are extremely addictive. So why is it that some can beat addiction while others struggle repeatedly to break the cycle?
For me, the answer lies in why we are seeking to become unmatched from reality. Why are we seeking to escape?
Knowledge is power and once you know what it is you are running away from, you can begin the process to own it and begin the process of building yourself up.
We are always a work in progress no matter who you are, where you’ve come from, what shit you’ve had in your life and how successful you perceive yourself to be.
When we become addicted to running away from everything, we stop working on ourselves and become stuck in a cycle of problems, rather than solutions.
Rather than putting all your thought and effort into not doing what you are addicted to, instead, concentrate your efforts on building on the following:
- This is where you begin to own who you are, what makes you tick and what you want from life. What are your goals in life? Where do you want to be in 1, 3,5,10 years? Once you have this, then you have a basis to work on daily to achieve.
- Loneliness / inner & outer circle / ownership
- This was a big one for me. I had friends that were very close to me and would do anything for me who I would avoid and push away. Then there were people who were negative, addictive like me and blamed every one of their problems (as did I) on other people instead of taking ownership for where they were at that given time in their life. The negativity spreads and unless you surround yourself with positive and driven people, you will be stuck in the cycle of addiction.
- The Main Pillars Of Life
- Get your health in order. Simple as that. Start exercising daily, stretching and sort your diet out. Otherwise, you will not feel great in yourself and we all know where that leads to.
- A big one for me here was meditation. Look, I’m a ‘tough guy’ and thought meditation was a load of crap. However, once I started looking at the science behind it, I simply couldn’t ignore it any longer and began doing it. The only problem was, as with most things, you have to do it regularly and for a long (inevitable) period of time in order to get the benefits of it. Long story short, it allows me to notice the triggers of addiction as they occur, take a moment and then move past them.
- Being broke all the time is shite for your mindset. Trust me, I know. Trouble was for me that the more broke I was, the more I spent. Sort this area out and curb your spending, tied in with everything else and you simply become unstoppable in your everyday decisions.
- Business / income
- We spend most of our living day working so why not get yourself in a job that you like with people you enjoy being around. Look, it’s a big fucking task to move jobs. Chances are, you’ll have to spend your spare time training for something before you apply, then you have to apply constantly and doing countless interviews. The alternative, spending the next ten years waking up for something you can’t fucking stand. The quicker you sort it out the better.
- Family & Friends
- This kind of ties in with my circle of influence and you have to be honest here in that some of our friends and family are toxic. Others are fucking fantastic. Limit the time with those that hold you back and make plenty of time for friends and family that support you, you have fun with and help you grow.
- Learning / Reading
- Reading like anything is a habit and the more you spend doing it, the more you benefit by learning how to manoeuvre through life and it’s obstacles. I made the mistake by thinking that I had to read one book before I went onto the next and this simply isn’t true (for non-fiction anyhow). Try and read a chapter a day of one book. Buy a new book every week (you can do this with spending no more than £20 per month and compared to what we spent on our addictions, is as unsubstantial as they come) and build up your knowledge.
- Joy/hobbies/ facing fears
- It’s important that we take to do what we enjoy. The trouble is, finding a hobby when we are used to doing nothing else but being addicted to something, it’s hard to work out what we like to do. So this is where it gets fun (and great for our confidence). Over the next 12 weeks, spend one or two evenings (or daytimes) doing a different activity. Go and visit every activity club possible from art to exercise to music to self-defence. Struggling for activities, go volunteer. Trust me, after 12 weeks, you’ll have a good understanding of what is fun for you and what isn’t. If you find something you like but then get bored with it, repeat the process all-over.
- I would advise doing something you are petrified of on a regular basis. For bigger fears, work on a 6-month cycle. Scared of heights, build up to jump out of a plane, Scared of spiders, go to a centre and hold one. Does public speaking scares the shit out of you? Plan to do a talk on what has helped you overcome something like addiction or one of your fears. Constantly face your fears and own them!
- Lastly… Get some fucking rest!
- You will struggle with everything I have mentioned if you are not getting the rest your body and mind needs. Start going to bed at a time that allows you to reset yourself so that each morning you wake ready for the next day. Honestly, I would get this part nailed before anything else – that’s how important it is!
Instead of trying to not be addicted to something which is the way we are taught to overcome addiction, put all your efforts into the above and believe me, shit will start to get good for you… I promise!
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