Free Yourself from Addiction’s Sticky Hold

anemone-tentacles

The bottle calls you. The voice starts out quietly. The call grows louder, until you feel like you can’t say no. You can’t wait until your next hit, your next shot.

You can’t imagine having fun without pills or cocktails. You worry that no one will like you. Or, that you’ll be angry all the time. That you won’t have any energy. An addiction can have a sticky hold on you.

How do you free yourself from an addiction? Some quit in one day and never pick up their “drug” again. Others check themselves into rehab. While some decrease their intake of the substance, slowly letting go of the hold it has on them. There isn’t a right or wrong way to free an addiction, just find which way works for you.

You’ve tried cutting back with little success. Others ask you, “Why can’t you just let it go?” The more criticism you hear, the more you turn to the bottle, your fix. It’s almost as if the bottle is who you relate to best. It keeps you distant, cut off.

If you are tired of your addiction, and tired of the isolation and fear it brings. The short term relief is no longer worth the long term costs to your life and your relationships. But, how do you quit? Free yourself from the strongholds of addiction by delaying your response to discomfort.

Triggers

Substance use is one of many ways that a person tries to comfort themselves. It is not a character flaw. We all have vices that we use to check out from time to time.

Know your triggers. Nothing drives someone to use more than a disruption in a relationship. The disruption can be real or it can be feared.

What triggers an increase in your use of substances? An argument with your partner. Fear of conflict with your significant other. Loss of a loved one or job. The possibilities are endless.

Sureness

Cultivate sureness in yourself, and in your ability to increasingly tolerate life sober. Spend less time focusing on your fear, the panic of going without your “drug.”

Shift your focus to what you can do. How long can you wait until your next hit or drink? Hours, days, weeks.

As you delay your usual response to life’s discomfort, your confidence in yourself will start to build. Before you know it, you will be freeing yourself from the sticky tentacles of addiction, step by step.

Direction

You may be surprised by your tenacity. The fears of facing life sober will get smaller. And, all the energy that you put into your fears and addiction will be freed up. You may find a renewed sense of direction in life.

Energy can now be redirected to life goals. Maybe you want to return to school. Change careers. Start dating. Develop friendships. Stop letting your loved one’s comments get under your skin. Connect with family members more often.

Embrace your renewed passion and direction. Cultivate sureness in yourself. Expect triggers. Take steps to liberate yourself from the tentacles of addiction.

What helps you embrace the ups and downs of life?

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for direct consultation with a mental health professional. If you think you need to detox under medical supervision, please seek a medical consultation first.

Photo Credit: Anemone by Matt Clark

2 responses to “Free Yourself from Addiction’s Sticky Hold

  1. This is such a big subject and a tough battle to win for some people. It’s such a big step just to acknowledge that one has an addiction problem. Do you find that those who have an addiction can voluntarily free themselves from it (through willpower and determination) or would seeking professional help be the best way to get started to getback on track?

    • Belinda, Thank you for always joining the conversation on my blog.

      And, to your question…I have had lots of folks in my office who have decided to quit their drug one day and never picked it up again. I don’t think it was willpower, as much as they were tired of the hassles. The payoff to getting high no longer outweighed all the consequences.

      I’d say seek help when you’ve tried to quit and want to quit but are stuck. Substances are another way to get distance in relationships. So, is work, food, internet use, another person. Quitting isn’t the issue as much as finding another way to either tolerate discomfort or getting emotional space without distancing. That is, to manage the worry, anxiety, or tension that is under the overuse of substances, work, internet, etc. At least that’s how I see it.