Some addictions are harder to let go of than others are, and some people have more difficulty than others in letting go of their particular addictions.
If we're struggling to overcome an addiction even though we're working hard at trying to, then we may need to rethink the work that we are doing. If we're not finding strength, it’s likely that we're not working on the right things to achieve it.
Many think that the terms “recovery” and “self-help” are synonymous. That's not really true. We have to be willing to seek help, and that's a function of the self. Others can help us, and we need to be willing to receive their help. We have to be willing to both receive others’ help and take actions in and of ourselves.
When I find myself entangled in a negative attachment, I think about how I first give safe harbor to that attachment and then engage in negative behavior through my actions. I'll find myself thinking in a way that leads to anxiety, or I'll find myself making excuses about why I need to stimulate myself with something such as dark chocolate. I set up mental traps for myself and then fall into them.
It's necessary for all of us to determine if we might be harboring addictive behaviors and faulty belief systems that keep us from getting inner peace. Speaking for myself, I protect my own negative behaviors. I do so because I'm not ready to let go of them because of my fear of discomfort and fear of change.
When I can't let go of negative behaviors, they become habits that are very hard to break. I become overwhelmed and anxious thinking about the magnitude of my behavior problems. But I find it helpful to attempt to change smaller things for the better while still focusing on the necessary larger-scale issues.
You may be having difficulty quitting an addiction such as smoking. And it might be the case that you're harboring things other than physical cravings. Perhaps you're not reaching out to others who could help you quit because you don't want to be accountable to them. You might be afraid of the judgment and shame that might result if you told others of your relapses.
Another example pertains to processed food. You might be trying to stop eating processed food items that you know are making you sick. But you’re not willing to clean such garbage out of your cupboards because you think your kids might want to eat them. If you're doing that, you're harboring.
You may have problems with relationship addictions. If you have a desire to break your addictions to unhealthy relationships but find yourself drifting to places that trigger you to act out or have negative feelings, then you're harboring your addiction.
Our harboring of addictions constitutes one roadblock. And there are others. We may not have bottomed out. We may have insufficient development of basic life skills. Or we may have mental and/or emotional troubles outside of addictive behavior itself that need attention.
One difficulty that some face concerns access to needed help. People recovering from drug and alcohol addictions seem to have more options for recovery involvement than do people such as smokers, spending addicts, and gamblers. For example, there's no 12-step group (that I'm aware of) for those who are addicted to their cell phones. This might be the case because minor addictions get minimized in the minds of many people.
We blow off minor addictions and come up with excuses such as “everything in moderation” to help us do so. We don't find it necessary to rid ourselves of addictions that don't seem to have grave consequences.
But those of us with major addictions and minor addictions have one thing in common. It is that if we are unable to stop our behavior, we must reach out for help. The first highly recommended thing to do is to find an excellent therapist. You might have to do some research and engage in dialogue with potential therapists to ensure that you will identify one that will really help you. You need the help of others. Having said that, it bears repeating again and again that you need to help yourself.
Consider AA’s slogan, “Keep coming back.” It means that if you show up physically and mentally for your recovery, then your recovery will happen. The question is, how quickly will it happen? That largely depends on how much effort you will be willing to put into it. If you come to meetings and other functions and just “spectate,” then recovery will most definitely not happen quickly.
Also consider that if you're having difficulty with pervasive addiction that you may not be facing up to the fact that you have a problem. You must admit your problem if you want to overcome it. Only then can you access the needed power to change and amplify it to the degree necessary for you to achieve true happiness.
I'd like to wrap this up with a quick discussion about the two most powerful tools I know of to help one solve problems such as addiction. They are prayer and meditation. They're both things that you can do without needing to become a master of either. You don't have to be a minister or understand the Bible deeply to pray. And you don't have to become an expert in eastern philosophy to meditate. You just need to do the two things.
As far as meditation is concerned, it will take a while to get to the point of deriving considerable benefit from it. Many get discouraged because it takes time, and some conclude that they’re doing something wrong if they don’t get immediate results. But it will pay off if you persist at it—I promise. You might not get to the point of really connecting with the cosmos within a short period of time, but then again you might. At the very least, though, if you persist in meditation then your consciousness will be heightened and your awareness of what's happening in your mind will benefit you tremendously.
Regarding prayer, I don't believe that it's always necessary to have religious faith in connection with it. For those who feel otherwise, that's fine. But I believe that prayer can be a form of communion/communication with yourself, your highest aspirations, and your best consciousness. You can beg in prayer for that aspect of your higher self to give you the strength to improve.
As I see it, if I'm lost in the desert without water and I'm ready to die, I will not be too stubborn to beg the universe to give me a drop of water. I will beg the universe to give me strength, even if I feel like I'm only praying to the sand beneath my feet.
Do you have pervasive issues regarding addiction? Don't be discouraged. Just maintain a positive attitude, do the work, connect with others, pray, and meditate. Do all of those things with wholehearted persistence and you absolutely will overcome your problem.