Is will power enough to overcome addictions? Is it just a behavioral issue? Can exercise , meditation, and good personal care play a role?
The traditional approach to addiction is that it may be due to emotional stress or character issues and, therefore, the primary way to overcome any kind of addiction is through willpower. Decades of demonstrating the limitation at using just willpower against addiction have had little effect on the thinking of many people who would prefer to take a judgmental rather than practical attitude toward the problem of addiction.
What is willpower and what are some alternatives?
Willpower is the ability to deny yourself something you want. People who rely on willpower alone to stop smoking, drinking, overeating or practicing any other undesirable behavior may fail because being in a constant state of want is extremely uncomfortable.
One approach to addiction that has had quite a bit of success is the behavioral approach of substitution. With this method, the person seeking to end an addiction does some soul searching to determine why the addiction exists in the first place. What is gained from the addiction, and how can that be substituted in appropriate ways?
Exercise and meditation provide relaxation and a welcome escape
For example, people struggling with alcoholism are often seeking relaxation and escape. Developing the good habits of meditation and regular, enjoyable exercise is an excellent way to provide substitutions for drinking. In addition, it is smart to seek out the advice of a counselor or trusted friend or member of clergy to explore these options. Set up a regular schedule of exercise and meditation. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just going for regular walks or bike rides and taking a few moments at the beginning and end of each day to think and reflect can have a very positive effect.
Smoking is a complex addiction
Addiction to cigarettes and other tobacco products is a complex addiction. There are physical, cultural and emotional aspects to be addressed. In addition to physical addiction to nicotine, many people are dependent upon the hand-to-mouth action of smoking, the oral gratification, the built-in breaks and the self-image aspects that are often inherent in this addiction. Using willpower alone to stop smoking may not be enough. Smoking cessation treatments include prescription drugs, nicotine patches and gum may have some side effects. Prescription drugs may contain additional additives or chemicals besides those targeting addiction to nicotine.
Many smokers have found that substituting electronic cigarettes for tobacco cigarettes is a successful and positive way to end addiction to tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes contain simple, food grade ingredients and give smokers control over the amount of nicotine consumed. Smokers can continue to enjoy the hand-to-mouth action of smoking while gradually reducing nicotine consumption to zero.
How do you know you are ready to quit your addiction?
Generally speaking, when you are really ready to quit your addiction you will know. You will arrive at a point at which you have a tremendous desire to stop. Ideally, this is when you should begin your efforts because this is when you will be most successful. Of course, if your addiction presents a clear and present danger to yourself and others, intervention by friends, family members and even law enforcement may be necessary. However, if you truly desire an end to your addiction and you have positive, workable substitution tactics to use, you will probably not need any intervention.
How can I prepare to address my addiction?
It is a good idea to begin your preparations by getting into the best mental and physical condition possible. Look at your diet and work toward replacing all processed and unnatural foods with natural, whole foods. Turn to pure, filtered water to quench your thirst as often as possible. Take up gentle, relaxing physical activities such as walking, biking, practicing yoga and swimming. Be sure to take your multivitamins and other supplements as needed. When you focus on these good habits, you will find that you have less time and less desire to practice your addiction.
Make an effort to engage others. You may or may not wish to tell friends and family members that you are attempting to conquer your addiction. Only you will know whether doing so will help or sabotage your efforts. Either way, you should associate with positive people who will bring happiness into your life and steer clear of those who tend to cause you to feel bad about yourself and your situation.
Take Good Care Of Yourself!
Don’t ever allow yourself to become excessively hungry, angry, lonely or tired. When you eat and sleep well, exercise regularly, maintain positive associations and develop and engage in good habits that fulfill whatever gap your addiction formerly occupied, you have an excellent chance of overcoming your addictions.