alternative ways to think about ending addiction

alternative ways to think about ending addiction

Step One: Pick Up A Book on Addiction and Read It

Maybe you think the fact that you gravitated towards this book and picked it up to look at it isn't that big of a deal. But it was and is a big deal. It shows that you have an interest in self-help. And if you create a personal library of books that will help you become a better person, that's huge.

We really need to get input from teachers. We want to hear from people who have a lot of knowledge about the things that we struggle with, whether they are individuals who've struggled with the same things, individuals who've become experts regarding the issues, or both. Sometimes we don't have access to such people except through their writing. And sometimes we're very deep in the struggle for self-improvement and the only thing keeping us on a path might be a good book. Reading on how to overcome, whether we read a little bit of a book or read a book in its entirety, is a positive action.

Addictions are complicated. Years of problems are intertwined with addiction-related behaviors that we have. The feelings that trigger our addictions are powerful, and our resistance is low at times. We need things that will give us positive and compassionate empowerment. This book will give you that, and reading it should be the first of a series of steps that you will take to overcome your addiction.

Be encouraged that you've taken the step of picking up this book. And be aware that there are many different ways to approach the problem of addiction. Some take less energy than others, and some entail a shorter metaphorical distance to travel to arrive at peace and tranquility.

How quickly you overcome your addiction will depend on several factors—how deep your mental troubles are, how much effort you put forth, the specific work you commit to, and durability to absorb and comprehend new information, among other things.

Step Two: List All of The Substances That You Think You Are Dependent On

Do not only list things along the lines of tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. Also list things such as coffee, refined and processed sugar, and certain foods (foods that you eat in excess, foods that you realize are very unhealthy, or both). You must overcome the fear of surrendering the things that you’re attached to. If you're not willing to write down your list of dependencies, it's an indication that you might be “stuck.”

The list is a starting point. There will be a lot more work for you to do, but if you're able to make your list then it means that you're prepared to face up to your own demons. And that's huge.

If you are beginning recovery from an addiction, it will likely take time to engage in the deep self-examination that will be required of you. But self-examination and self-awareness are two of the most positive things about the human species.

It's absolutely necessary to reflect not only on things that you’re presently dependent on, but also to reflect on past events that are linked to your dependencies in some way. It's also crucial to realize that substance dependency is not unusual. In fact, we’re all dependent on things such as oxygen, water, and legitimate nutrients in food. But when we become overly dependent on things that create psychological entanglements for us, we have to take actions to free ourselves from those entanglements. And I applaud you for taking such an action as you engage in reading this book.

Step 3: Break Through Mental Blocks or Hesitancies About Surrendering Dependencies or Seeking Help.

Successfully recovering from addiction entails becoming mentally and psychologically prepared to do so. It's about becoming ready, thinking through things, writing about your own feelings and processes, and speaking with others about your troubles.

What I just said is a conceptual overview of mental and psychological ideas about the first steps of recovery. Putting them into practice is more difficult. But under no circumstances should a person understate the importance or efficacy of preparations for beginning recovery work steps.

Our minds are incredibly complex entities. For that reason the work of recovery takes time. We must study our own behavior patterns, learn about feelings that are lost or trapped in memory, and determine the new behaviors that we’ll need to engage in. That could be a lifelong process, and it could be something we begin when we're very young, very old, or somewhere in between. We have to accept the fact that we'll make mistakes as we go about recovery. But we have to start, and we have to start in earnest.

We might start just by picking up a self-help book and reading it (as you're doing at this moment). We might start by discussing generalities about self-help, development of character, or basic principles of modern psychology and/or ancient philosophy with others who are knowledgeable about such things.

When studying philosophy or discussing it with others, it's crucial to differentiate between philosophical ideas pertaining to self-help and philosophical ideas regarding the nature of man. Contemplating ideas about man’s nature can be helpful and edifying, but it's important to not get carried away by expending mental energy on things that are not related to recovery measures.

Getting ready to aggressively pursue recovery and then actually doing so will entail heavy reliance on psychology. Much that will be done will entail digging into the subconscious mind. There are a number of ways of doing that. One is through observing art and having experiences connected with the observations. Another is through romantic relationships, which cause us to dive deep into our subconscious minds and reveal our most intimate cravings. And another is to work with trained professionals who can help us get to the levels of understanding and awareness at which we need to be.

What's the general purpose of intense study of our own minds? It's to fix the broken parts of ourselves. It's to get to the bottom of what's behind our dysfunctions, our worries, our anxieties, our apathy, our tendency towards violence, and a great many other things that cause negative behavior: Such things are the drivers of our addictions.

Specifics about conflicts with self and difficulties achieving happiness will vary greatly among individuals. We are all different in our “programming.” That being the case, the ways of uncovering the most prevalent thoughts and emotions that drive addictions and anxieties will differ to some degree from one person to the next.

In the process of breaking through mental blocks and hesitancies regarding addictions and anxieties, various questions that are basically metaphysical in nature may arise. At what point are we breaking away from feeling connected with all things? What is the difference between the ego and the higher consciousness? What is consciousness in the first place? Who is observing my thoughts? Have other cultures gotten answers to such mysteries? If they have, then how can we modify our behaviors in accordance with the answers that they’ve arrived at?

Step 4: Realize That There Are Many More Steps on the Self-Help Journey Toward Freedom From Addiction and Anxiety and Improvement of Mental Health.

There are no quick fixes or surprisingly simple answers regarding achieving lasting and irreversible gains pertaining to mental and psychological self-help and happiness. Making such progress takes time, hard work, persistence, and creative thinking. We will have to make changes to our thinking patterns and physical life habits, and doing so won't always be easy.

Following is a summary of the sequence of things we need to do if we want to free ourselves of anxieties and addictions and improve our overall quality of life:

  1. Face up to whatever negativity is happening in our lives.

We must become aware of what we're doing and break through any denials we might have. And we must understand that our thinking drives our actions: When our thinking is faulty, our actions aren’t in our best interest.

  1. Become willing to change.

Perhaps surprisingly, having the willingness to change is a huge step towards self-improvement. This sounds simple, but it isn’t, really. It can be difficult for people who feel hopeless and defeated to resolve that they are going to make the changes that they need to. But once they do resolve to change, then through courage, persistence, positive thinking, and appropriate reaching out to others they will make their resolutions become realities.

  1. Take actions to improve.

This is something else that sounds simple but is not as simple as it sounds. And the instruction itself sounds vague. But that general instruction has to be vague, because the specific actions that will be required will differ from one person to the next. And one of the factors that will account for such differences will be the intensity of whatever problem behaviors exist in a person's life. Those who are engaged in life-threatening behaviors need to seek professional help immediately. And they should realize that options for affordable professional help are available (if finances are an issue).

Others might not be involved in behaviors that threaten their lives in the short run but still have problems that they need to address before they do become life-dominating (or even life-threatening). Such people can begin to get a grip on things that are troubling them by reading books on addiction, books on childhood trauma, books on psychology, and books on philosophy.

Prayer should be a crucial component of the lifestyle of anyone who is committed to self-improvement. Such prayer can be to God if one believes in God, or it can be independent of religious belief as such. Prayer is empowering, in large part because it is an action that entails willingness.

The above items are some concrete actions that one can take and be confident of their efficacy in helping to bring about self-improvement. And there are a great many more, including the following:

  • Talk to people (not just mental health professionals) about your struggles
  • Engage in writing through journaling and other avenues
  • Exercise frequently (preferably daily)
  • Be of service to those who need assistance
  • Attend twelve-step recovery meetings
  • Listen to lectures focused on psychology and philosophy (particularly ancient philosophy)
  • Practice not reacting negatively to things
  • Listen to music that is soothing and healing
  • Do breathing exercises to help yourself relax.
  • Find times and places in which you can “check in with yourself” to realize and understand your feelings at given moments.
  • Perform acts of kindness regularly.
  • Apologize whenever and wherever you need to.
  • Tell those you love that you love them.
  • Look for positive things that occur in the world and in your life: Don’t see your doing so as being denial, but as seeing all sides of things, people, and situations.

In closing, I'd like to comment on both the nature of addiction and some concepts pertaining to consciousness.

What is addiction? It's a negative thought process that leads to negative behaviors, some such behaviors being more destructive than others. There are an infinite number of addictions in existence, but the one thing that all addictions have in common is that they keep us from being happy, joyous, and free—the way we were designed to be.

Some people are so overcome with negative thoughts and circumstances that happiness, joy, and freedom are fictional concepts to them. Others are happy with certain things, but deep inside they still have issues that they need to work out. Many such people are seemingly happy most of the time, but still act out impulsively and compulsively. They still have work they need to do. In fact, all of us probably have work that we will need to do within ourselves for the rest of our lives.

Self-discovery is an infinite journey. It's limited only by the length of our lives. If we lived for 10,000 years as exactly the people we are, we would keep discovering things about ourselves and keep working more things out. But we don't have that kind of time. So we need to begin doing our self-help work today, and we have to do it diligently.

A place to begin is with breathing. We need to remind ourselves that we are breathing, and if that’s the case then we have a lot of hope. Breathe, and as you do, practice focusing your mind on your breathing, instead of letting your mind control and distract you.

Keep in mind that you are not your mind. Your mind occupies space in your body. Your mind shares experiences and chemistry with your body. And you are not your body, either. Your body is a vehicle. You inhabit it, and you feel things through it, but you are not the things that you feel.

So, if we are not our minds or our bodies, what are we? We are consciousness. As such, we can think about our thoughts as rolling through our minds into a metaphorical stream. And I believe that we can make it so that our consciousness taps into the collective consciousness. As individuals we can tap into universally understood knowledge. But to do so we must clear our paths of distractions that hinder us.

I seek to find my way out of self-centered obsessions that make me miserable and cause me to experience suffering. To do so, I practice controlling my mind to lead it to better subjects and better thoughts to ponder. And at the same time I have to relieve the mind of its potential traps and troubles.

This is hard work at times. But it's work that I love. It's so much fun—it's a mental adventure that encompasses excitement and drama. I love the process, and I love life itself. I have passion, and I seek higher consciousness. But I believe that the highest consciousness in me, which is unnamable and of an origin that is unknown to me, has very little passion. That’s because it's higher than judgment and unencumbered by mortal man’s views of life, death, and opposites.

I'm grateful that I have a body and a thinking (but naïve) mind to balance the super consciousness. If I didn't, I might just lie in a field and merge back into the cosmos. If I did, I might disappear without my obsessions. Maybe I create my struggles to figure them out. I might still have time to resolve such things, and you might still have time to get a refund for this book.

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