Whenever we decide to make a healthy change in our lives, the struggle that ensues has its root in an unhealthy attachment.
A few years ago, I developed a crippling dependence on pain pills. It was absolutely the most terrifying time of my life, and I don’t know about other addicts but I was fully aware that I was indulging in self-destructive behaviour. Even so, I was unable to stop until I had a physical breakdown in the middle of a lonely road and woke-up scared out of my mind. I got myself into a detox program and willingly committed to the pain and struggle of overcoming the addiction.
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My story had a happy ending. In fact, I am glad that it happened because that one unhealthy habit forced me to take a good hard look at my life and triggered a whole series of change. Today, I am ridiculously healthy with enough willpower to say NO to anything that even remotely threatens my mental, emotional, or physical health.
Unfortunately, not everyone can say the same about the addictions or the attachments that are weighing them down. In view of that, I am sharing this article that might help you find your way to a healthier life.
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1. Let go of the guilt
It could be something as inconsequential as an extra spoon of sugar in the coffee and you could be feeling the guilt of a criminal. Trust me, I do that all the time. Whenever I slip up and add a little extra sugar, I call myself a whole bunch of awful names.
How much worse would the guilt be if you’re addicted to something truly destructive to your health and emotions? It could be drugs, alcohol, or even the wrong person.
Just saying the word ‘addict’ is so difficult for most people. It has a lot of shame attached to it. People may act sympathetic to the plight of those struggling with addiction but they’re also suspicious and condescending. This may send you into hiding, desperately trying to hide your feelings behind sad attempts at normalcy and as long as you do that, there is no possibility of you building a healthier life.
If the guilt keeps you from dragging the issue out in the open, you’ll never be able to resolve the issue.
2. Seek to Understand
There is always something that keeps the attachment alive and strong. You need to understand your motivation for indulging in behaviour that you know is unhealthy. The moment you figure out what pushed you into developing the attachment, you’ll find yourself closer to the solution.
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Think about people who indulge in comfort eating. The food is their security blanket. Every embarrassment, self-doubt, emotional issue gets handled with a fistful of fat and carbohydrates. It gives you a temporary reprieve from your reality and before you know it, you’re coming back to that jar of cookies every time things go wrong.
3. Incentivise yourself to let go
Why would you want to give up something that makes you feel good? Sure, consciously you know that you are treading a dangerous path, but the feeling of relief with every hit is also strong. See, our brain isn’t wired to help us build a better life. It’s wired to protect us from discomfort and to help us survive.
If your toxic attachment has you convinced that it’s the only thing getting you through the day, you won’t be able to walk away from it. A sense of helplessness will always overwhelm good judgment.
So, here’s what you do –
1) Think about what this attachment has turned you into
Till a few years ago, my life was full of toxic relationships and I was just letting these people walk all over me. I strongly avoid confrontations so I allowed the situation to continue.
Fortunately, when I sought help for my dependence on pain pills, I was forced to review my whole life. When the choice was reduced to one between having some sense of self-respect or playing it safe with my family, the choice became really easy.
2. Think about your goals and everything you want to achieve in your life.
What kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be someone hiding a shameful secret or someone who boldly confronts her issues and lives life with grace and dignity?
3. Think about those who care about you
Love can be a pretty strong incentive. The people we love can be our weakness or they can be our strength. Think about all those who care about you; people who care about us don’t like to see us suffer. They are willing to show up and hold our hands through every difficult moment. Allow them to help you. Make them a reason to do better.
4. Put all of this down on a piece of paper. Read it whenever you find yourself weakening.
4. Come up with a plan
Unhealthy attachments leave us weak and vulnerable. It’s not something that you can resolve with just the strength of your determination. This is especially true in the case of dependence on alcohol, narcotics, sex, and unhealthy, dangerous relationships.
Understand your addiction and with all the information at your disposal, chalk out a plan. Draft a strong strategy with micro-goals. Change of this nature is best made in increments. So, give yourself mini-wins and make sure to celebrate every milestone you cross as positive reinforcement.
5. Find a healthy replacement
6. Try Spiritual Exercises
Hypnotherapy has been known to treat even the strongest addictions and many psychological issues. Meditation and visualization may also bring you comfort.
I strongly believe that having faith in a higher power can help us overcome insurmountable challenges. This higher power could be anything – god, energy, the universe. You simply have to believe for it to help you build mental strength and reserve that can carry you through the struggle.
7. Seek Help
There are certain addiction and attachments that amount to a sickness. We are not equipped to deal with them on our own so, it’s best to approach a professional. Joining a support group helps a lot. You can share your journey with others going through something similar, and these are people who will really understand your struggle. They can even be your accountability partners.
If you want to have the life you deserve, you need to let go of anything and everything that keeps you small. This means that you must learn to end all your unhealthy attachments and move past the feeling of shame and guilt.
Your past doesn’t define your today, and you have the power to change your life to the one you actually want. Please, don’t play a victim to circumstances. Recognise your own strengths and fight for a better tomorrow.