On Fighting Addiction

Do you sometimes feel like there are more than one of you inside?

To me it seems like we are a bundle of personalities at times.
Sometimes one that is more courageous and disciplined takes over. and it’s making commitments and resolutions about how to change the life for the better.

And then the next day I struggle with that commitment, don’t see it as clearly, “in the same way” as the other day, as if I’m not the same person who made those commitments.

We go to sleep full of knowledge, with new ideas and commitments to change ourselves, knowing what we want and how to fight our addictions, just to wake up as a different person, struggling to remember the state of mind we were in, the night before.

How do we then go about making those vital changes we commit to? How do we overcome this?

The Decision

I think the one thing that could help us  is to remember than whenever we say:

I’m giving up [smoking / drinking / sweets / porn] tomorrow…

We’re just fooling ourselves.
We’re not really making a decision, but rather lying to ourselves and push the decision away, for tomorrow.
We’re telling ourselves that today, we’ll still indulge but tomorrow

It takes strength and courage to say: I stop this destructive behavior NOW, right this second. No more…

We need to make the decision NOW.

I think this is crucial when trying to fight an addiction.

The Habit

It is also important recognize that every addiction, every destructive behavior is a habit. Throughout the day we operate through the habitual patterns of thought and behavior. That’s just how our brain works.

This is why it’s hard to stick to a habit. Because the new pattern is very weak while the old, destructive one strongly entrenched, pulling us downwards.

I find myself caught up in a habit loop that I destroy my dreams and aspirations with. It’s the way I procrastinate and avoid discomfort.

For example, I want to create something whether it’s writing a blog post or building a web app right? The moment I feel the discomfort, whether it’s because I face the difficult task, need to solve a difficult problem, I find myself automatically looking for a distraction.

It could be wanting to do something easy like checking email, or something more destructing like watching porn in search for instant gratification.

I admit openly that Pornography addiction is something I struggle with. Although I have not watched any porn for over 4 months or so, I still find my brain seeking the instant gratification at times of difficulty, discomfort, especially when working on my laptop.

We need to remember that the Habit Loop can be broken up and that the new beneficial habits can be formed. I refer you to Zen Habits post on Two Ways to Form Habits Effortlessly to get some insights about forming new habits.

Self Acceptance

The last but possibly the most important thing to remember is Self Acceptance. It is crucial to overcoming any addiction, undergoing change.

Whenever we want to change something about ourselves we need to recognize what is the sentiment we are proceeding from. If we want start eating healthy because we care about ourselves, and we feel we deserve to take care of our body then that’s a healthy. If we want to loose weight because we feel ugly, not adequate and we don’t accept the way we look (which is a strongly induced feeling by our media/culture) we probably won’t succeed.

Whenever we don’t accept our body, or a part of ourselves, this creates a situation in which one part of ourselves wants to win over the other part. This creates conflict within. We can only proceed forward when we are whole. We can’t grow while spending energy being conflicted within.

Once we accept ourselves as we are, we can start changing ourselves because we care about ourselves, because we love ourselves, because we want to be healthy and we recognize that the habit, behavior is detrimental to our self.

 

Any addiction can be overcome. You’re stronger than you give yourself the credit for.

You can do it.

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