It’s time to put in the work, gentleman. It won’t be easy and it won’t be pleasant, but it needs to get done.
Addiction is everywhere. It comes in many forms, manipulates people in many ways, and harms them in just as much variety. But, you can fight back! It won’t be an easy fight, but it isn’t impossible. But what are the first few steps to fighting off an addiction? Recognition and reprogramming.
First, you have to realize there’s a problem in the first place. So what is an addiction? It’s a developed habit that compels you to consume a drug, substance, or activity (watching pornography, gambling, etc). Doing so often causes psychological or physical harm and/or can harm your personal pursuit of happiness.
Or more specifically, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions.
So if you are wondering whether or not you have an addiction, you have to first ask yourself? Can you easily stop whatever you think is harming you? Also, how is it harming you or your life? Your answers could be telling.
Addiction Warning Signs
To help you with recognizing whether or not you are addicted to something, here’s a list of some possible signs, according to Healthline.
- Your Personality Has Changed Due To Usage (Substance or Behavioral)
- Your Health Has Changed Due To Usage
- You Keep Doing It Despite These & Other Negative Consequences
- You Miss Social Events Because Of It
- You Suffer Withdrawal When Trying To Stop
- You Hide The Use From Others
- Your Tolerance Is Growing
- You Don’t Like It When Others Intervene/Question It
If you think you do have an addiction, you should seek assistance. If it’s a substance or behavioral addiction and you live in the USA, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). In addition, family members of individuals with addiction can also reach out to health organizations when seeking help. As Dr. Andrew Saxon told the American Psychiatric Association:
“Al-Anon and Alateen are widely available and free resources for family members. These organizations offer mutual help groups. Members do not give direction or advice to other members. Instead, they share their personal experiences and stories, and invite other members to ‘take what they like and leave the rest' — that is, to determine for themselves what lesson they could apply to their own lives. The best place to learn how Al-Anon and Alateen work is at a meeting in your local community. Most professional treatment programs also offer family groups to help families support their loved ones struggling with addiction.”
As Dr. Saxon establishes with his quote, the key to change is establishing lessons on what areas of life need to change. When you do seek help, the first steps you’ll take with that help is to address and analyze the addiction. Why have you become attached to the substance or behavior? What do you receive from it? How can you counteract that plus and find a positive way to receive it.
Along the lines of that last note, you’ll then start working on ways to live without that addictive substance or behavior. In order to do that, you have to reprogram the way that you interact with the world. For instance, if you find yourself watching adult content in the morning, you should plan to do something different before going to bed.
Plan the beginning of your day with exercise or meditation. Then, you can get ready for work. By reprogramming how you live and schedule your life, you can start to work towards a world without that addiction.
Of course, this is just a beginner's guide on this issue. If you DO feel like you might have an addiction, we recommend you seek help from a professional. Consider calling the helpline included above or going to your regular doctor to see if they can connect you with proper assistance.
Once you do that, you can start yourself on your personal journey toward recognition, reprogramming, and healthier living.
h/t: ASAM, Healtline, American Psychiatric Association, SAMHSA