The last blog I wrote was about defining substance and addictive behaviours.
I am aware that addiction can often lead us to make mistakes which impact negatively on our relationships with family and friends. Being connected to family, friends and your community is highly important for growth, development and also builds a sense of self.
Below are some strategies you can use if you have noticed that an addiction has severely impacted on your relationships.
1. Keeping a record
The first approach to making a positive change in your life is recognising that it is or has become a problem. The best way to do this is to keep a diary and record how often you engage in that activity (shopping, playing video games, going to the gym or over eating) or how many times you take a substance to help you cope with stress (cigarettes, prescribed and non prescribed medications, alcohol and energy drinks).
- Predict your weak spots
If for example you want to quit smoking, it is best to be aware of particular people or places that trigger you to have that smoke. It is also best to jot these down in your diary and over time, come up with activities or suggestions to replace this.
- Start a project
Basically, the idea here is that by keeping busy, changing your environment or trying something new is a good way to beat any addiction. This can include joining a gym, knitting a blanket, joining a sporting group and volunteering at the local youth centre.
- Get some buddies
Having someone to share your thoughts and feeling with is important to beating your addiction. This can be a friend, a teacher or a youth worker that can support you throughout the process. Also remember that books can be buddies too especially in times when the person is unavailable.
- Reward yourself
Keep in mind that change is a difficult process and it takes time. So remember to reward yourself for the times you get it right. And at the times that you are not able to, don’t beat yourself about it – give it another try!