Recognizing that you have a problem with addiction is the first hurdle that you have to overcome. Once you’ve admitted that you’ve got a problem, it’s time for you to think about quitting. You probably didn’t expect to become addicted when you first experienced an addictive substance or behavior for the first time. However, what started out as fun can quickly become something more serious. There are several different ways in which you can try quitting, but don’t be surprised if your first attempt is a difficult feat. If you’re left wondering why you found it so hard, here are some of the reasons why:
Conflict and Ambivalence
Alcohol, drug addiction, or some other type of addictive behavior that becomes excessive will create conflict in your life. It can be within yourself because you want to change, but also have stronger urges to repeat the addictive behavior. Conflict also occurs with other people because they either want you to quit or join them in the addictive behavior. These conflicts don’t go away, and your expectations only get higher. Ambivalence is the feeling of wanting to continue and wanting to quit at the same time.
Tolerance – a Key Symptom of Addiction:
Tolerance, together with withdrawal, are the two processes that resulted in your addiction in the first place. The two are interconnected and, without them, it would be easier to quit. Tolerance is a physical and psychological process. The first time you experience an addictive substance or behavior your tolerance is low and the effect you feel is very strong. The more you repeat the behavior or take a substance, the higher your tolerance is and the more you need to take or do the behavior to get the same effect.
Withdrawal is experienced when you aren’t able to do the addictive behavior. The symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Symptoms might include shaking, feeling unwell, upset stomach, and feeling anxious or depressed. This, in itself, can be a barrier from quitting.
Guilt and Justification:
Guilt about your behavior is a strong motivator to make changes, but it also works against you. You find yourself justifying your behavior, not just to yourself but to other people too. Examples are telling yourself it’s not a problem, saying you’ve already cut down, or using other people or situations to divert attention.
What Can You Do If You Really Want to Quit?
There are a variety of different types of treatment to help you if you really want to quit. Therapy, for example, helps you sort out and change the thoughts that are keeping you addicted. It’s not going to be an easy or straightforward journey, but the support of a good treatment program will help you move forward and eventually quit. Treatment will make the quitting process much easier, but there are strategies that you can follow if you want to try to quit your addiction on your own.
Overcoming an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or some kind of behavior doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world. Admitting that there is a problem is the first step, followed by withdrawal and detox. The recovery journey doesn’t always end there, and you may need professional support for many years to come.