One problem with addiction is that it can involve a seemingly endless cycle of repetitive behavior. If you have an addiction, you might have relapsed more than once. This can be extremely frustrating and devastating. But you can definitely learn to break the cycle of addiction.
What are the Steps of the Addiction Cycle?
Experts generally agree that the addiction cycle typically includes a few key steps. For one, one can experience emotional pain such as anxiety or stress. Or maybe a certain event serves as an emotional trigger. Then there’s a desire to relieve those emotions with a craving for alcohol or drugs. Next, a person can actually relieve oneself of the emotions with alcohol or drugs. The next step involves regular alcohol and drug use and loss of control. This can lead to feelings of guilt and make someone want to quit addictive behaviors and substance abuse for a time. But withdrawal symptoms can cause more emotional pain. And this can lead someone back to using drugs and alcohol to escape the pain once again.
Avoiding Potential Triggers
A trigger event can cause the addiction cycle to happen. For example, maybe you’re at a party with friends and everyone’s drinking or you could have had a stressful day at work. Or your trigger could be when you and your spouse get into fights. Another problem might be if you head to bars after work where many people are drinking and having fun. To prevent the addiction cycle from starting again, eliminating the trigger can work.
Replace the Trigger with Healthy Behaviors
For one, regular exercise can be a great substitute for a trigger since it affects the brain in almost the same way as addiction. You can play recreational tennis or basketball or join a gym and work out for 30 minutes after work. Further, practicing mindfulness can help you gain awareness so it’s easier to control your emotions and actions.
For instance, yoga and meditation can be easy to learn and you can practice on work breaks, upon waking, before bedtime, or whenever you feel stressed. Another healthy behavior is to be more religious or spiritual. You can do this by praying regularly, attending church, or volunteering online or locally. Volunteering has many benefits such as improved physical fitness and better mental health. Some other healthy behaviors are:
- Create a support network of friends and family who will help hold you accountable for avoiding substance abuse.
- Eat healthy so you can feel better about your body and mind.
- Seek treatment and talk to a therapist who you can trust to encourage you to stay on track.
- Do a hobby so you can focus on a worthwhile activity and not on addictive behavior.
Make Practicing Healthy Habits a Routine
Consistently practicing healthy habits can make them into a routine. For one thing, you can meditate or go for a 20-minute jog every morning. If you keep doing this, you’re more likely to keep doing it. You can write down your thoughts and keep track of your progress by keeping a daily journal. Journaling can also be useful for expressing your feelings in a healthy way. Besides this, when you feel like relapsing, you can repeat positive affirmations to yourself. Staying committed to having a routine of healthy habits and behaviors can help you prevent relapsing and hold yourself accountable more often.
If you want to defeat a monster, in this case, your addiction, you have to understand it. Talking to a professional at a treatment center can help you deal with unresolved issues and understand where your bad habits come from. You can also meet other people who’ve experienced similar problems and maybe even make some new friends. With all this in mind, breaking the cycle of addiction can seem like less of a challenge. After all, dealing with addiction means you have to face your fears and the truth. But it also means you have the chance to live a better life and be happier. Ready to get started? Call us today at 855-334-6120.