Hi everyone! This video is going to be about addictions and substance abuse, as well as what you can do about it if you know someone that is an addict or are struggling with it yourself. Just what is an addiction? Well essentially it is a habit. Usually a coping mechanism, or something that we have conditioned to help us relieve stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. However, this is a negative way of handing those emotions as it often makes us feel good in the moment, like an impulse, but is often associated with shame. We would need to do it more and more, harder and harder, to be happy with the addiction since it loses its appeal after a while. I did a video about the conditioned response that may offer more insight in this area, so there will be an annotation and a link in the description to that video. [Conditioned Response]
Some common addictions include drug and alcohol, cigarettes or smoking, sex, self-injury or mutilation, shopping or even gambling, video games, food, and one we often do not even think about is Internet or social media. That one warrants a separate video at a later date. There will also be a video on eating disorders so be on the look out for both of these. There will be annotations and links in the description to those videos when they have been published. [Internet Addiction | Eating Disorders]
Anyway, with some of these common types of addictions, specifically drug, alcohol, and smoking, there is also a chemical addiction. However, when you really think about it, any kind of addiction incorporates elements of chemical addiction as well since there will be a release of endorphins and good feelings that one is essentially addicted to. It is not the behavior itself, but rather the result of the behavior, the euphoria induced by acting on these impulses, that creates the addiction. The release of the negative emotions so one feels relief and is in a more positive space is what is the true addiction.
The thing to note about addiction is that it’s simply a way of releasing negativity. Everyone has different coping mechanisms. So, someone may spend a lot of money to escape their depressing life at home or at the job, maybe another drinks heavily, another plays video games for hours on end. All of this is an escape from how they were feeling, which was negative, to feel better with themselves, which would be positive. But, the methods by which they are achieving this are unhealthy for them. So, what can be done? I’ll discuss that now.
In order to overcome an addiction you need to first and foremost, recognize the behavior and want to change. In other words, admit to yourself you have an addiction. That is the core principal of any trait or behavior you have that you want to change or work on. You have to be willing to help yourself, be dedicated, and most importantly, believe in yourself and want to change. You have to admit to yourself that you have an addiction. You have to know why you are engaging in the behavior. You have to know how it’s making you feel, before, during, and after partaking in said addiction. And you have to want to change this and want to help yourself move forward.
Relatedly, if you know someone who is an addict, talk with them and be understanding to why they are partaking in the behavior. Realize that you cannot change their behavior. Do not try and force them to do anything because ultimately it’s up to them. Instead, you can discuss with them your concerns and allow them to discuss with you where they want to be. You can help them by getting them to where they want to be, positively, at a pace that is right for them, instead of where you envision them to be since it’s not about you.
Likewise, you need to recognize where you are and where you want to be. This is imperative since if you can realize and admit to yourself that you have an addiction and want to change, you can then think about and prepare yourself for where you want to be. Where are you now in regards to your life? Where do you want to be with your life? How will you overcome the addiction? How will you let go of those negative emotions or stress that is causing you to be involved with the addiction you have? If it’s a chemical addiction, the process may be a bit different as you have to go through withdrawal symptoms. You have to be prepared for that and continue to push through regardless of how difficult it may be.
It may seem impossible, but it’s not when you find methods that work for you and go at your own pace. Initially and even during the reconditioning phase there will be times that it may seem like you are going nowhere, perhaps even moments of regression where you go back to the behavior. But, the moment you realize that it was only temporary and that when you look at your goals and continue making steps to get there and achieve what you want, then you will get to that stage given enough time.
Next, one needs to learn to find an alternative outlet to let go of the negative emotions and focus on future goals. We all want to feel good, happy, and with positive emotions. So some of us when we are feeling negative try to make ourselves feel good, but not so much in a positive way. We may feel better in the short term when we give in and feel a release of the negativity, but ultimately it’s not helping us since we are not aligning our perspective with that of where we want to be, but rather where we already are, or more likely, the past.
So essentially then you would find things that will put you into alignment with where you want to be and not where you are or were. This will allow you to get to the stage of overcoming it because you are associating those positive ways of handling the behavior with releasing the negativity and ultimately moving past and letting go of those old addictions that are preventing you from recovering. When you associate with people, places, things that are part of your addiction or your past, eliminating these things from your life and resonating with people and places that will be able to help guide you through and get you to where you want to be will allow you to move past this and where you currently find yourself, which is an addict.
So for example, let’s say someone is addicted to shopping as a form of letting go of anxiety and stress. They are letting those negative emotions out by purchasing tons of items, spending tons of money. It is a thrill for them and they feel better as a result. That is the positive. They are doing something to let go of the the negativity. But, the action they are partaking in is destructive for them. As a result, there comes a time when it gets out of hand and they are spending more money than they have. They then resort to stealing their family and friend’s money and then eventually theft which becomes an even bigger thrill for them because an addict can only settle with one particular level of thrill at a time, it has to get bigger and better. So in that case, this person initially was spending their own money, then they where stealing from their family and friends, then resorted to just stealing the items directly.
There comes a point when they want to stop. They realize it’s not helping them and they want to be in a better place. They realize they have an addiction. They realize it’s because they are feeling stressed. They don’t know how to cope with that stress so they shop. They need to study and analyzing it and it will always be that they are feeling negative, devoid of something in their life, so they spend or steal to make them feel good again. In essence, they cannot control their negative emotions, cannot let go of them in a healthy way so they release it by shopping. They’ve found a way of letting go of it in a negative way, and are working against the natural healing process of letting go and going with the flow.
After they realize this, then they can change. The first thing they would need to do then is realized where they want to be. They need to think about their future and how they will get there. They don’t want to do this anymore, but they want to continue shopping. Initially they will need to cut out shops and stores. They cannot go back there since their addiction would kick in. This person would associate with people that would help them and not encourage the behavior. People who would not judge them for their past behavior. People that can help lessen the stress and anxiety that is causing the person to spend and shoplift.
When the person is determined and knows where they want to be and continues to push through, then they will find alternative outlets to let go of stress and anxiety. This can take many forms, but ultimately the person will be learning to positively cope with and handle stress and anxiety, and most importantly have a sense of release and thrill from doing something positive and beneficial for them. They then may enter back into stores and shops and the desire to steal or spend outrageous amount of money would not be an issue since they will not be doing it to combat stress, to resist negativity, but rather as just an enjoyable activity which is positive.
So in conclusion, overcoming an addiction can be tricky but not impossible. By admitting you have an addiction and realizing why you are doing it, as well as wanting to change, believing you can change, and aligning yourself with things that will be part of your future and not your past, then you can make changes at letting go of negativity and finding a positive way of relief and release. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!