From the start of the Pandemic and quarantine, many people have turned to substances as a coping mechanism to face the incredible amounts of stress. Addictions are on the rise, now more than ever before. Addiction is a behavior and like any other learned behavior, it CAN be unlearned, through awareness and accountability. It HAS to be the individual’s choice.
Compulsive behaviors have been in our society since the beginning of time. They’re sneaky, and not always easy to have personal awareness around. From the start of the Pandemic and quarantine, many people have turned to substances as a coping mechanism to face the incredible amounts of stress. Addictions are on the rise, now more than ever before. Addiction is a behavior and like any other learned behavior, it CAN be unlearned, through awareness and accountability. It HAS to be the individual’s choice.
Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive behavior. I define compulsive behaviors as repeating the same action even when it is detrimental for your physical health or your emotional sanity. I have helped to coach many addicts to full sobriety. When I hear my clients say “l need” instead of “l want”, I know there is a compulsive behavior happening. I’ve come to understand when addiction happens at an early age, people get stuck at that emotional age, making it really difficult to take responsibility for perpetuating addiction.
Almost a decade ago, I was married to my son’s father for 10 years. He was an alcoholic and an abusive man. He was who he was and he did what he did but the worst part was that I allowed myself to be treated that way for way too long. This kind of unhealthy dynamic brought me to accept this self-destructive behavior onto myself. He was horrible, no question about that, but I stayed in it for far too long. His abusive and self-destructive behavior drove me into self-destructive codependent behavior. That was on me, I chose to stay in the cycle. When I finally did leave the situation, I was able to see clearly the damage I had done to myself, and my family. That one pattern interrupt changed my whole trajectory for the better.
Addiction is also tricky when it is socially accepted.
- “l only drink during the weekends”
- “l only smoke pot at night to relax”
- “l am sore all the time and this pill helps me to get through the day”
- “I know my husband is abusive but I can’t leave him, my children need us both”
- “l have to weigh myself everyday twice”
When you see yourself making excuses to quit something potentially harmful, you are an addict in one way or another. Even though some of the affirmations I listed seem harmless. Compulsive behaviors point to addiction to some degree. Not all addictions are physical addictions either, it is good to find the right support for whatever you are going through.
Responsibility is the key and Awareness is the door to freedom. In order to make these two happen you need to take the first step: to make a decision about the one thing that is holding you back.
Believe me, your addiction is holding you back whether you are aware or not. At some point, if you don’t see it, something or someone will show you your pattern in a severe way. Most alcoholics think they are fine until they get a DUI or are involved in a car accident. Only after damage is done do they realize that a severe lifestyle change needs to be made.
A physical addiction scars the brain and the body. You need to take extraordinary measures to restore the damage you caused over the years. I suggest my clients make healthy behavioral shifts such as:
- A healthy diet shift
- Superfoods – fats, protein, minerals, vitamins
- Cutting out sugar
- Healthy Sleep routines
- Finding a spiritual practice
- Drinking Water, Sparkling water, or coconut water
- Stay away from the people that reinforce this behavior, this is a hard decision for most clients
- Create new supportive connections to the life you wish to be living
The decision to commit to sobriety has to come from you and it is for YOU. September is Suicide Awareness Month, if you are having a difficult time do not hesitate to reach out to a friend, family member, or schedule an appointment with me. I am always here for a conversation, and to offer support.
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