Be sure to read through the specific addictions. Some build on others or may be related. Even if you don’t have one, review the steps as you may one day be asked to help someone with their addiction.
1. Document your journey.
Create a way to track your ups and downs through this journey. You can do an online blog, diary or even art journal. Don’t feel like writing? Start a video blog or vlog instead. Record your thoughts with an audio diary. Use an application to track your progress. Don’t be limited by this list. Find a way that works for you.
This document will give you something to look back on so you can see what you struggled through to overcome your addiction as well as how far you have come.
2. What’s your addiction?
Write down what you are addicted to as the first step in your journey. What do you want to overcome? You might have one addiction, perhaps more. If you have more than one, determine if you want to overcome your addictions one at a time or group them if they support each other.
3. Where did you start?
Look back at when you started your addiction. What triggers will start it again? You need to not only overcome your addiction, you need to make sure you don’t start back down that path. By documenting your triggers, you will have a reference point when you question yourself later.
4. Ask others their opinions.
Let them know you want them to be honest. If they want to protect you, ask them to write you a letter or record a small video clip explaining how they view your addiction. This will give you a more objective view. It will also let you know if you’re being too hard on yourself . . . or not hard enough.
5. Make your first list — what’s stopping you.
Why are you in this destructive behavior? What’s keeping you here? This might be a list of things you need to avoid, situations you need to be aware of or triggers. You must be aware of what is keeping you from moving away from your addiction.
6. Make your second list — what are you missing?
Your second list is the list of things you want to do but can’t because of your addiction. It might be the time lost is causing you to miss things with your kids. It might be the inability to participate in activities you truly enjoy. As you work through your addiction, refer to this list often.
If you manage to do one of those items that you want to do, make sure to document it in your journal. These stories will offer inspiration as well as the knowledge that you *can* do it.
7. Locating support groups or programs.
Doing it yourself isn’t always the answer. Find a local or online support group or program. Join it. Use it for support, don’t just sign up and “forget” to attend.
8. Including your family and friends.
Your friends and family will be happy that you are trying to take control of your life. You might ask for general support or specific items from someone. Keep track of what you ask for. Make sure to thank everyone for their help.
9. Professional help.
You may find that you need professional help. Do not shy away from this option because of the cost or inconvenience of finding someone who can help you. Ask your support group for recommendations.
Make a list of things that you can do that you enjoy to distract you form your addiction. Often, a distraction can get you over your initial desire. Keep a copy of your list in the place(s) you’re most likely to need it.
11. Develop new habits.
It takes six months to develop a new habit, so realize this is going to take some time. Your habits might include spending leisure time at new locations that don’t trigger your addiction, learning to choose healthier alternatives or even taking an evening stroll with a friend to discuss the day and get the stress out of your system.
12. Visualize a new you.
Visualize yourself as the person you want to be without your addictions. Do this every morning before you get out of bed and every night before you fall asleep. By seeing yourself as the person you want to be, it’s easier to look backward at the steps you had to take to get to your final you.
13. Share your triumphs!
If you can move away from your addiction for one day, it’s good. Even if you just minimize its impact on your life, you’ve taken a step forward. Document these in your journal.
14. Offer support.
As others connect with you, offer support to them. Share phone numbers so you can talk. Plan activities together. Find other ways to interact that avoid your addiction.
15. Share your journey.
This is much more than sharing your triumphs. Share your entire journey through your support group, interactions with family and friends, as a series of YouTube videos, through an ebook, etc. Let others see that they are not alone.
16. Weight issues.
It might be that you eat too much or too little. Food is one of the hardest things to “stop.”
Track your food consumption and reactions for a week to help review where your addiction lies.
Drink too much? How much is too much? Track your alcohol intake. Compare it with the amounts you need to be considered legally drunk. Ask others about your interactions with them before and while you’re drinking to get an objective opinion of what the alcohol is doing to you. Find if there is a trigger such as stress, unreasonable demands, etc. that makes you drink.
Write or record some of your worst moments when you were intoxicated and include this in your documentation.
18. Drug use and smoking.
Drugs can take your money, your time and your life — the same as many other addictions. Keep track of your drug usage. This includes prescription drugs if your are addicted to them. How much time do you spend thinking about drugs when you’re not using them? What happens before you take them? How much are you spending on them? What are you willing to do to get the drugs you need?
Make a budget for you and your family. How much money do you bring into the household? What is left after you’ve met your obligations? Does the amount of money you spend on gambling exceed your excess income? If so, track where and when you gamble as well as how much you spend. Make a list of all the things you could spend the money on instead.
20. Sex and pornography.
While these badge programs are designed for any age, sex and pornography are a mainly addictions for adults. Explore the damage that can happen to your body, your reputation and your freedom as a result of unprotected sex and / or being convicted of a sex crime.
From the Internet to watching television to your favorite video game, you can miss a lot of your life with this addiction. This can also affect your physical well-being through lack of exercise. Track the time you spend attached to some type of technology for a week as well as the time away from all technical devices. Document how you feel when you get away from your technical devices and do something simple like taking a walk or talking with friends.
From being the best and expecting your own way to low-esteem and depression, there is huge impact of how you feel about yourself and how others respond to you. Create a questionnaire to share with people who know you. Have them pick a number describing you from one extreme being self-centered to the other extreme. When you’ve determined where you fit on the spectrum, explore ways to move to the center — confident and modest — which tends to attract people to you.
This goes hand-in-hand with many other addictions. You miss out on many things and use other addictions to fill the void. Find out how much physical activity is recommended by your doctor or other medical authority. Track your activity levels for a week and find out if you meet it.
24. Many other addictions.
There are too many to list here. Explore your own addictions. Track the times you are engaged in the addiction and times you are not. Look at activities that you miss because of your addiction. Try one or two of those and see how you feel.
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