Quitting an Addiction
When preparing to give up smoking or drinking, caffeine, drugs, junk food, or any addiction, it is important to not only understand why the addiction exists, but to also address both the automatic habit of doing it, as well as the addiction itself.
Many people are not only tired of their addiction and the guilt they feel about it, but they are sick and tired of trying to give it up. It is time consuming, exhausting, and frustrating. The guilt and shame is made worse because they have been told their addiction is a disease.
Addiction is a habit
that has become a chronic dependence
Habit vs. Addiction vs. Disease
These days, everything is neatly labeled as a "disease" which can be conveniently treated with "medications" and other medical solutions (many of which have side effects that can be worse than the addiction itself). An addiction is a habit you develop for a variety of different reasons that, over a period of time, affects the brain chemistry to then create an addiction. Just like habits can be hard to break, and some more dangerous than others, so can addictions.
With some addictions (such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, and the chemicals in junk food), we alter the brain chemistry in ways that can last long after we stop taking the offending substance. You can reduce the time it takes to normalize your brain chemistry by not only kicking the habit, but by also healing your body (and your brain) with highly nutritious food and lifestyle habits - with this approach, you will much sooner return your body to a state of vibrant health.
Are You Ready?
When we decide we are ready to give up an addiction, before we do anything else, we need to recognize three fundamental truths.
Accept Yourself As You Are
The first step is to accept who you are, right now, exactly as you are. Regardless of your perceived shortcomings, successes and failures, your starting point always begins with self-acceptance at this moment in time.
Recognize that every single event in your life has happened for a reason. They have each served a purpose, which is to provide you with the opportunities you need to grow and learn. This is exactly what your habit has provided you with - an opportunity for growth and evolvement. It is here to help you recognize that an area of your life needs attention, and that with a little effort and understanding on your part, you can learn the growth lesson the habit is providing you with and free yourself from it.
- The Present is Your Point of Power
Kicking an addiction is about reclaiming your power. It is about recognizing that every moment of your life you are creating your life's experience with every choice you make and every action you take. Thoughts are very powerful things. They are backed by a life force energy that tirelessly creates every single event in our lives. Once you realize this truth, you will have the ability to completely transform your life because you will realize just how powerful you really are.
You ARE Pure Potential
As your future is a result of the choices you are making today, that puts you in an incredibly powerful position. You can choose to continue your addiction, or you can choose to give it up. It is entirely up to you. Just as you created the addiction you are now experiencing, you can choose to create something different, and much more self serving instead. You are far from helpless. Helplessness and powerlessness are simply illusions you have bought into because it was convenient. Believing you are helpless, or a victim of circumstance, is simply an excuse to remain stuck. You have created the life through the power and energy of your thoughts and actions, and if you don't like it, you are always able to create something different.
- It is About Personal Power, Not Force
Quitting an addiction is not about "force." If you try and force yourself to quit any habit, you will encounter a lot of resistance and make the job so much harder. It is about a recognition of your power to create anything you like in your life. Every problem contains its own solution, and you are the only solution you need. Once you make the decision to walk away from an addiction and make some important changes in your life that support this choice, you will put yourself in the mindset where success is your destination.
Walking Away From Addiction
Quitting an addiction is always a challenge worth taking, and following a good, solid plan has helped millions of people kick an unhealthy habit for good.
Let's take a look at 6 practical steps to take when it comes to saying goodbye to your addiction... for good!
STEP 1 - Set the date...
Make Day 1 a fanfare day - this is the beginning of a healthier way of life and should be celebrated... big time!
STEP 2 - Clean house...!
With junk food, clear it all out (and avoid junk food sections in the supermarket). With cigarettes, clean all ashtrays and put both them and the lighters away. Take your car to a car wash and have them steam clean the upholstery (it is not very expensive). Do the laundry and wash all clothes that smell like smoke. If you have the funds and have always smoked indoors, have the upholstery and curtains steam cleaned to remove the smoke odor. Many smokers cannot smell this odor until they stop smoking. They then realize just how pungent it can be to walk into a smoker's house. With drugs, throw them out and destroy or give away the paraphernalia. With alcohol, get rid of any traces of it.
Are you ready to experience an even bigger change and transform your home into a healthy haven free of unhealthy food, toxic household chemicals, and other things that are not in the best interest of your health?
The Body Healer Protocol...
STEP 3 - Get support...
For family members that DO smoke or do drugs, or who have the same addiction you are quitting, it is important for them to recognize your goal and take steps to help support you in your choice. This may mean that they smoke or do drugs outside the house instead of inside, or refrain from doing it in your presence. If they will not, then choose to walk away and give yourself space. Setting yourself up for success means removing yourself from the presence of addictive substances wherever possible, and being firm with yourself and others around you.
Support groups can be invaluable in providing you with emotional support. Check out local support groups in the area and sign up. Many who have recovered from alcohol and drug abuse credit the incredible support and inspiration they receive at groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These meetings are non-judgmental, never confrontational, and the support offered and stories of success shared at meetings are a source of motivation and inspiration. They can help serve as a continual reminder to those struggling with addiction of the success that is always within their grasp.
Be open to trying hypnosis, acupuncture, and other natural methods to support you. They have been used successfully by thousands of people, and can be a very helpful part of the cleansing process.
STEP 4 - Anticipate the habit & replace the cravings...
- Eat healthy foods
One of the most important things you can do during this time is to fill your diet with foods that are nutrient dense. Fruits and vegetables, dried fruit snacks, and other healthy treats will help your body heal faster from the effects of drugs, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, or other addiction by helping normalize brain chemistry. Have something healthy to put into your mouth such as a water bottle filled with water and squeezed lemon, or perhaps coconut water. Many Asian supermarkets sell sugarcane sticks. Slice them into 2-inch strips and suck out the natural sugars. Have healthy mints and other chewables available (make sure they are not filled with chemicals or unhealthy ingredients - there are many healthy snacks available at health food stores).
The healthier your snacks, the less of a chance you will gain weight. Realize that processed foods also contain addictive chemicals and by avoiding them, you are avoiding replacing one addictive habit with another.
- Develop healthy habits
Cultivate healthy habits such as reading and listening to music. Carry a book with you. A nook or electronic reading device can make a wonderful gift to yourself in support of your new, healthy lifestyle. Smart phones are a great way to have mobile books with you at all times. Being a book addict, the thought of trying to read a book on my phone was beyond ridiculous to me, but now, I am absolutely "addicted" to reading on my android phone. My amazon book library is now almost as big as my library at home!
- Exercise frequently & stay active
Take the dog for a walk or play ball, or do something fun with your children. Join a gym or yoga studio, or take up martial arts so that you can focus on a new hobby. How about emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up, or cleaning your car. When I gave up my addiction to junk food, my house and car were never more sparklier! Spend time doing things you enjoy but have been too busy or distracted to do - this is a great time to pamper yourself and show yourself just how much you love the body you are rebuilding.
- Connect more with those around you
Perhaps it is a friend or family member. Perhaps they could use some help, or advice, or guidance from you on other matters. Helping others is a great distraction. Join meetup groups that sound interesting to you, or the local community center, where you can meet people with similar interests.
- Have challenging & fun games available
Download challenging games on your android device or iPhone or computer. Word games, crossword puzzles, tetris, action games - choose ones that you enjoy and always have them within hands reach.
You are NOT at the mercy of anything or anyone when it comes to an addiction. You can make the conscious choice to walk away from it because you are the one in control, and you call the shots.
If you succumb to a craving, do NOT beat yourself up!
Simply get right back up & put yourself back on track.
STEP 5 - Get to know yourself. YOU are the power...
When we have a bad headache, we know that the pain from the headache will pass and we simply ride it out. It is the same with our habits. As the saying goes: "This too shall pass." The key is to ride through it, knowing that in a short period of time, you will come out the other end smelling like roses.
The mind is an incredibly powerful thing, and when you give it a focused goal, it will immediately go about fulfilling this goal. Because we have fallen out of touch with our bodies, it is easy to miss the subtle signals it gives us to help us fulfill our goal, but trust me when I say that they will be there - you just need to stop and listen. Perhaps you will suddenly feel inclined to take up a new hobby. Or develop strange cravings for tomatoes, or oranges, or other foods (don't substitute your habit for UNhealthy foods!). A need to join a gym may suddenly pull at us. The key is that the body will begin to call out for what it needs to help it through the transition, because the body NATURALLY GRAVITATES TO A STATE OF HEALTH. It does not need help from you to restore itself. It simply needs the right tools so that it can go about getting the job done.
The single best thing you can do at this time is to listen to yourself, to your body, and honor how you feel. Talk to yourself about your goal, and about how much you are looking forward to new and healthier habits. Making friends with yourself and reconnecting with your inner voice is a very important part of this process.
STEP 6 - Use affirmations...
The Coué Method
Developing empowering affirmations to repeat on a regular basis can help you deal with cravings and empower you. The French physician Dr. Émile Coué developed the following affirmation for his patients and achieved significant success with the power of autosuggestion. Coined the "Coué method," it involves repetition of an affirmation throughout the day of the goal you are focused on achieving.
For example, the general affirmation that Coué used was:
"Every day, in every way, I am getting better & better"
By consciously using autosuggestion, Coué observed that his patients could cure themselves more efficiently by replacing thoughts of their illness with thoughts of being cured. According to Coué, repeating words or visualizing images enough times causes the subconscious to absorb them, and the cured condition follows. When you continually saturate your mind with an idea - a specific goal - instead of thinking about the habit or illness you no longer want, the mind will always work towards turning that goal into a reality.
The words of this affirmation can be changed to suit your individual needs to be much more personalized for you, for example:
"Every day, in every way, I am healthier & stronger"
"Every day, in every way, I am calmer & more relaxed"
"Every day, in every way, my mind is clearer, sharper, & focused"
Understanding How Affirmations Work
When we create an affirmation, we repeat specific words that represent what we are trying to accomplish. We can also visualize the end result along with our affirmation, which gives it so much more power. The mind hears the words and sees the pictures we give it, and the more we saturate our minds with these words and pictures, the more it focuses its energy and attention on these words and pictures. Instead of the mind focusing its energy and attention on the problem, it instead focuses on the solution.
Thoughts and words are incredibly powerful - they are what shape the life that we experience each and every day. When the mind focuses on a goal, the energy behind the though forms begin creating the necessary circumstances, events, and people necessary to help us achieve this goal. All we need to do is remain expectant, and know that change is coming... and NOT think about the habit we are giving up.
Do NOT use words in your affirmation that are associated with what you are giving up, for example, "I now give up my addiction to caffeine." Do you see why? Two key words in this sentence are "addiction" and "caffeine."
- When you make the statement "I now give up my addiction to caffeine," images of caffeine and the thought of addiction immediately come to mind, and it is these images the unconscious mind responds to, and uses to tirelessly create every moment of your existence.
- The unconscious mind does not rationalize the meaning of the entire statement - it simply focuses on the individual words and their meaning. It will zone in on the words "addiction" and "caffeine" and create more of these things for you.
Always use positive statements that reflect the successful goal you want to achieve, and always use them in the present tense. For example:
"I am powerful, confident, and in control of my actions"
"I now reclaim my power"
"I eat only when my body needs nutrition"
"I AM the creator of my own reality"
"My body is now firm, toned, and in fantastic shape"
"I always have everything I need to be successful"
"I am always in the right place at the right time"
Addictions are related to our response to stress, therefore anti-stress affirmations are a very good idea. For example:
"I am calm, confident, and relaxed"
"I feel relaxed, content, and fulfilled"
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat... and Repeat Again!
Repeat your affirmations often throughout the day; when you are in the bathroom, making lunch, going for a walk, as you are waking up and as you are falling asleep... look for every excuse you can to fully saturate your mind with these important words. The more you say them and think about them, the more energy they generate, and the quicker they will produce change.
Feel free to print copies of the affirmation and paste them around the house. If the affirmation is food-related affirmation, put it in the refrigerator. Stick it on mirrors, in the corner of your computer screen and on the back of doors. If the addiction is to food, add a picture to the affirmation of the body you want to achieve.
Recognize the IMMEDIATE Benefits
The GREAT news is that your health improves the MOMENT you stop smoking, drop drinking, stop eating junk, stop doing drugs, or stop any habit that negatively affects your health. That's right... every moment you are not engaging in that bad habit, you are changing the chemistry of your body.
For example, within hours of not smoking, blood pressure begins to normalize. Blood levels of nicotine and carbon monoxide fall and the heart and lungs are able to begin healing the toxic tissues. Within days, the lost sense of taste and smell from smoking are regained, and breathing becomes easier. Not only are you improving your own health, but also the air around you. As an added bonus, health insurance rates are lower for non-smokers than for smokers.
Just because changes may not be immediately noticeable, that does not mean they are not happening inside of your body. They most definitely are, and that is something to feel fantastic about.
Celebrate EVERY Success!
Every single time you overcome a craving, celebrate by congratulating yourself and sharing it with friends and family. Share it with the dog or your children by doing something fun! Do something wild and whacky and lose yourself in the feeling of personal success! Feelings of triumph over your cravings will serve to reinforce how in control you are and substantially help to increase your motivation.
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