Breaking the cycle of addiction requires a complete change in the thoughts, behaviors, and actions that enable it. It requires a complete overhaul to the way you may be used to operating, which can make the whole process feel overwhelming. Coping with triggers, stressors, the risk of relapse, and other challenges in recovery can be difficult to manage, but there are changes you can make that can empower your growth throughout the process. It is important to keep in mind that not all changes will stick overnight and they often require a person to make long-term changes to support sobriety.
Ways to Break the Addiction Cycle
There are a number of ways you can begin to break the cycle of addiction. Trying to evoke too much change at once can make the process seem daunting and may make it difficult for you to even imagine moving forward. Instead, consider the process of overcoming addiction as a series of steps that happen over time. Addiction does not develop overnight, and recovery does not occur immediately either.
- Take small steps: While you may be tempted to do a cold turkey approach, it may not be the most effective way to break addiction habits. Instead, practicing a pattern of new behaviors to break old habits is more effective. It is often easier and more effective to begin by setting small goals. This way, you can track your progress and achieve milestones that motivate you to continue pushing forward.
- Remove the influence of temptation: While it may feel impossible to avoid triggers or temptation, it can be easier than you think to avoid people or places that enable addiction. Keeping your goal in perspective is important when you struggle with letting go of familiar places or old friends. Instead of allowing those influences to continue enabling your addiction, creating space away from them allows you room to grow and progress. There are plenty of fun activities you can engage in and new, healthy relationships you can nurture instead.
- Develop new habits: It is often the case that bad habits develop as a means of coping with stress. One way to break these habits is to replace them with a new, somewhat similar behavior. Picking something similar can help ensure it still relieves stress, but it serves a purpose. For example, if you choose alcohol as a means of coping, you can replace it with a non-alcoholic beverage instead. Having something in your hand that tastes good can help make the pattern feel similar, but the effects of the drink do not produce the same negative outcome. Over time, making these swaps becomes easier and you will begin to perform new, healthy habits without a second thought.
- Make it your new identity: Changing the way you view yourself in relation to your addiction can help you make long-term changes. Instead of viewing yourself as a person who struggles with a particular problem, reframing it to viewing yourself as a person overcoming it can help you feel empowered. It is important to keep in mind that changing your identity does not happen overnight either. Taking it day-by-day and allowing yourself time to break patterns of addiction is critical to your journey.
- Forgiveness: One of the most important things to keep in mind when breaking a bad habit is the idea of forgiveness. It can be easy to fixate on what you could have or should have done, but it does not change the past. Instead, focus on the future and what you can do to become the person you want to be. Learning from the mistakes of the past and coming to terms with them can make it easier to let go and focus on the future instead.
Breaking addiction and developing healthy habits to replace old ones is not always easy, but it is possible, no matter where you are in your recovery journey. Instead of focusing your energy on the negatives and giving them attention that strengthens them, focus on your future and the new things you want to achieve so that you can avoid fueling negative energy. Once you begin focusing more on the things that contribute positively to your life, bad habits will slowly begin to fade.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.