Ways to Stop Addiction Before It’s Too Late
Addiction can be like riding a rollercoaster you can never get off, at least not without leaping while it’s traveling at 100 mph. No matter the addiction, drugs, alcohol, eating, gambling, and so on, if you get in too deep, there may be nothing you can do about it before your addiction wreaks havoc on both your personal and professional life.
The key? Gaining control over your addiction before it takes control of you. Here are a few ways to stop an addiction before it’s too late, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.
Know If You’re at Increased Risk of Addiction
They say that knowledge is power, so it’s vital to know if you’re displaying signs of an addiction or at an increased risk of developing an addiction. According to the Center on Addiction, there is a multitude of risk factors of addiction for people at various stages of the lifecycle. For mid- to late-twenties adulthood, the stress of balancing work with having a family can put them at risk of developing an addiction. Middle-aged individuals may also be at risk of addiction if they have financial or social stress in their lives, such as a divorce or having to care for an aging parent. You should also know that substance abuse, including drinking and smoking, is more common if tried before the age of 18.
Understanding that you may be at a higher risk of developing an addiction can be the first step in getting ahead of your problem and overcoming it.
Don’t Put Your Career First
If you feel yourself slipping into an addiction that’s slowly starting to control your life, you need to make fighting that addiction a priority over your career. You’ve no doubt worked hard to get to where you are, so you’ll be understandably hesitant to put it on the back burner. You may also have a family to support, and we all have bills to pay, both of which make it difficult to set everything aside to seek inpatient treatment for your addition. But if you don’t make your health a priority, your addiction will eventually have a negative impact on your career (if it doesn’t already). Laws exist specific to protect people who get treatment for addiction from termination.
You may also be able to find an alcohol rehab clinic or drug treatment centre that will allow you to continue working while receiving treatment.
Be Honest with Yourself
For most people, maintaining an addiction is an exercise in lying, and not just to other people, but to oneself as well. If you get deep enough into your addiction, you’ll do things you might later regret just to keep it from being interrupted.
Part of getting a hold of your addiction is turning over a new leaf of honesty, first with yourself and then with everyone around you. In an effort to be more honest, try keeping a journal of your thoughts. Don’t think too much about it: just put a pen in your hand and let your stream of consciousness take over as you describe your daily activities and actions. After a few entries, read and reflect on what you wrote; it should help give you an honest look at the state of your life and how your addiction is playing a role. The point of honesty is helping you realize you have a problem so you can seek help for it.
But before any of that can happen, you need to be honest with yourself about your problem.
Have a Firm Plan in Place
It’s not enough to say that you’re going to stop your addiction; if it were, it wouldn’t be an addiction. If you’re going to break it, you need to have a concrete plan for what you’re going to do instead of indulging your addiction. When you feel that urge to drink or smoke or gamble, what exactly are you going to do? Is there a specific place for you to go or a particular activity for you to do that will help you relax and fight off your urges? Do you need to call someone to help you?
When that addiction part of your brain kicks in and tells you to give in, you need to have an exact plan for how to handle it and get through your addictive craving without slipping. It’s not easy, but the short-, medium-, and long-term benefits are substantial.