Many kinds of addictions can develop and eventually take over someone's life. From alcohol to work, too much of anything is often harmful. Not only is the addict at risk for physical or psychological damage, but loved ones may also be affected. However, trying to beat an addiction isn't easy. It will require time and possibly professional treatment. Here are four strategies that can help to overcome whatever has a stranglehold in your life.
The first step to dealing with addiction is to admit you have one. Making excuses or denying its effects will only hinder the process of recovery. Even downplaying its harmfulness will likely postpone recovery and further entangle the addict in the compulsive behavior. The ability to acknowledge a serious problem and its impact on others can empower the addict to begin the recovery process.
Behavioral experts believe that simply eliminating a bad habit, like an addiction, is not enough. Stopping a certain action will leave a gap that may be filled with something just as bad, or worse. For example, a drinker who gives up alcohol may turn to drugs to self-medicate. Instead, a more successful approach when surrendering an addiction is to start a good habit in its place. One that has worked for many is when smokers replace cigarettes with chewing gum or hard candy.
Sometimes addicts can overcome their problem behaviors on their own. But often, the help of a professional is needed. This may be as little as one or two counseling sessions to begin recognizing the full scope of the addiction. For others, ongoing individual and group therapy may be a more effective approach. In serious cases, family members may accompany the addict to treatment or provide a family network of support. When getting help, make sure you go to a qualified professional who has the appropriate degrees and training to be able to help you, like an online master of social work program.
Whether going it alone or with a partner, being accountable plays a critical role. Answering to another person who is willing to ask questions and offer help may mean the difference between success and failure. The accountability partner could be a spouse, a friend, or a professional therapist or sponsor. Being connected to a caring person often makes the recovery journey a little easier and more meaningful.
Giving up an addiction is not easy, or there wouldn't be so many addicts. Using strategies like these may mean the difference between failure and success. Recovery begins with a personal commitment and often succeeds with the help of others.