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July 5, 2008

Break Your Addiction

By Alicia Socorro

From coffee to cigarettes and shoe shopping to Blackberrys, it seems that every woman is trying to overcome an addiction to something. Of course, there are some addictions that are way more serious than others, but if you want to break your addiction yourself, it is possible. And no, you don’t need a hypnotist.

Giving up a habit that has become an integral part of your routine may feel almost impossible, but with a little help and self-realization, you can do anything you set your mind to. Yes, even break your addiction.

Break your addiction tip #1
Understand why you’re addicted
Before you can even begin to break your addiction, you need to understand why it’s become a part of your life. You have to decide what the reason is, whether it’s because you need it to deal with anxiety or stressors in your life.

And you also need to figure out how it helps you, or, rather, how you perceive it helps you. This is a very difficult step and facing the facts may be more difficult than you imagine.

For example, if you drink to excess, admitting that you’re self-medicating to numb yourself of pain is a lot harder than believing that you drink because “everyone around me encourages it.”

Break your addiction tip #2
Admit it rather than deny it
Whether you smoke or dig yourself into debt by shopping like a madwoman, at some level, you are well aware that what you’re doing is not good for you in any capacity. What’s conflicting is that you know this, yet can’t stop yourself. Or can you?

If you can admit to yourself that you do it because you’re trying to cover up something within, then you can move on to break your addiction. But if you continue to play the victim or trivialize the issue, you won’t be able to overcome your vice.

Break your addiction tip #3
Avoid the triggers

If hanging out with all your smoker friends will definitely get you into the cigarette mode, perhaps it’s best to steer clear of them until you’re confident that you kicked the habit.

As well, if a certain time of day triggers your need for a drink or a cigarette, you have to recognize these situations and overcome them. It only takes a few minutes to get through it. Remember; you can break your addiction by focusing on the present and not the future. Take things one day at a time.

Break your addiction tip #4
Make the change now

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say “Oh, I plant to quit when I’m 30.” That’s a crock. If you really want to quit, you’ll quit starting now. There is no right time in the future; the time is now.

If you do procrastinate, it’s because you refuse to face and break your addiction. You will not be successful until you’re prepared and resolve to give it up for good.

Break your addiction tip #5
Take responsibility for setbacks

If you managed to break your addiction for 5 weeks and ended up falling off the wagon once, that doesn’t mean that you should throw all your efforts out the window and fall back into your old habits.

Own your mistake and move on. It’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake, so long as it’s the exception and not the rule.

Break your addiction tip #6
Reward your accomplishment
Breaking an addiction is a huge feat and you should reward yourself for accomplishing your goal. Whether you head out on vacation or buy yourself a box of chocolates, a small reward for your efforts is worthwhile.

Every day you go without is another step closer to breaking your addiction for good. And that is definitely something to be proud of.

Break your addiction tip #7
Create a support system
Going through this alone is never easy, so it would serve you best to enlist the help of friends and family. First, tell this support system about your plans to break your addiction. This way, you’ll feel obligated to follow through even more so.

Second, in your moments of weakness, you’ll have someone to rely on. Your support system will encourage you to keep going and help you through those weak points in your mission to break your addiction.

Break your addiction tip #8
Create a new coping mechanism
A girlfriend of mine used to smoke a full pack of cigarettes a day, and did so for 12 years. But after her mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, she made a promise to quit. The problem was that she took away something that helped calm her down and didn’t replace it with anything.

If you’re going to quit something cold turkey, you can’t expect to move on without a hitch. You need to replace your old habit with a new one. That’s not to suggest that you quit smoking and take up alcohol; no, you need to replace your bad addiction with a good habit.

For example, if you quit smoking, take up fitness or even something as simple as breathing exercises. Your objective is to move into a better, healthier direction.

Break your addiction forever

With a little programming and a lot of willpower, you can definitely kick the habit and break your addiction for good. You’re best bet is to look at things from the immediate and not overwhelm yourself with the idea that you will quitting “forever.”

Take things one day at a time and before you know it, years will have passed and your addiction will be nothing but a distant memory.

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