This sounds reasonable, does it not? Fighting addiction. Mustering up all the willpower we have, fighting it, and being strong. This is what we have to do to overcome an addiction, isn’t it? To be honest, to me, this does not make sense because addiction is always there for a reason. It has a job to do. It plays a role in your life and this is often a very important one.
As weird as it might sound, the addiction wants to help you. Have you heard people saying ‘Alcohol is my friend’ or maybe you have said or thought this yourself? People don’t just say that. It is the truth at the time.
An addictive substance or behavior is like a set of crutches when you have an injured leg. The crutches give you stability and help you to walk. Now imagine you take the crutches away before the leg is healed. That would not make sense. You would not be able to magically walk just because you put the crutches away. This is obvious with the crutches of course, but it’s often not so obvious if we apply this same logic to addictions. We cannot just take the addictive substance away and expect to feel better. Taking the crutches away will leave an empty space which is often straight away filled with another addictive substance. If you do not heal the injuries and let go of the old beliefs that started the addiction in the first place, it becomes a constant fight.
The driving forces behind addiction are beliefs that are usually subconscious. Your mind always looks for solutions to problems because it really wants to help and protect you. For reasons that usually go back to your childhood and early youth, your mind formed beliefs. For example, it formed the belief that alcohol is a good tool to get you out of a certain problem or to move you from a bad feeling towards a good one. Your mind noticed that this substance worked a couple of times for you to feel better. It made the world softer, less harsh, and somehow more bearable, at least for a little while. So the alcohol did the job, or at least this is what your mind concluded. But then, step-by-step it got out of hand and slipped into an addiction. Your mind did not have this on the radar at the time. It did not consider the consequences and the fact that addictive substances are never the right tool to sustainably overcome a problem or to move from a bad towards a good feeling in the long-term.
Now, what can you do to change the old beliefs, the old conclusions that your mind took? You need to become a detective and shed some light on your subconscious beliefs. This is easier than you might think. You can do this by finding out what the addiction does for you. What is the role it plays in your life? What is its job and what does it help you with? Be honest with yourself. It does something for you. It’s not all negative. Maybe it makes the world feel softer, maybe it gives you some peace and quiet, maybe it saves you from communicating with the outside world. Your mind selected the addictive substance to help you with this very problem. So what is it for you?
Now that you have discovered what addiction does for you, let’s go back to our story with the crutches. You need to become the crutches. Yes, I mean it. You need to become the crutches, but crutches 2.0. For the addiction to go away and become obsolete, you need to help yourself walk until your ‘leg’ has healed again.
Let’s have a look at some examples. If the addiction helps you to get your space and some peace and quiet, you need to make sure you get this space and peace and quiet. You need to learn to communicate with your family and let them know that you need some space for yourself, maybe something you have avoided for a long time.
Another example, the addiction makes you feel good and confident about yourself. Take over this job yourself. Fall in love with yourself. Be a good, kind and patient friend to yourself. Praise yourself and say every day that you are enough. Look after yourself. You are so worth it.
A third example, if the addictive substance is ‘your friend’ you can always rely on, you need to find real friends to take its place. Get out and meet people, also something you have probably avoided for a long time. And most importantly, be your own best friend. Never let yourself down again.
Do the things the addition did for you. Take over its role and make it jobless. Take action and move. This will not be unnoticed by your subconscious mind and step-by-step the addiction will loosen its grip over your life because it is not needed any longer. It has become obsolete because you are now there for you.
Does that sound scary? It might be because it needs you to become completely honest. But what awaits you on the other side is worth it all, a life full of joy, authenticity, and feeling alive.
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