It’s no secret that addiction has become an epidemic in our world. Most addictions are born out of innocence. In some cases, what started as a casual social encounter at one time has completely taken over someone’s life. For other addicts, a non-life-threatening injury has now put them at the threshold of death by prescription medication. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, prescription pills, sex, shopping, codependency, food …Whatever the addiction may be, it is an ugly, terrifying, and relationship-breaking experience.
However, the beauty of it all is that, as powerful as addiction may be, it is absolutely possible to be victorious over whatever stronghold consumes your life.
This month, I celebrate 10 years as a non-smoker. Like many others who are just “trying it out”, the addiction snuck up on me, and before I knew it, I was using my lunch money to buy packs of cigarettes. Smoking also eventually led me to a world of other unhealthy and illegal habits. I smoked for 8 years with the invincible mindset that I was too young to worry about any long-term effects of smoking. Fortunately, as I matured, so did my beliefs on becoming a healthy person, and I knew what I had to do.
I’d like to say it was actually kind of “easy” for me to quit, but in all reality, all I did was switch one vice for another. Bring on the food addiction. I easily gained 40 pounds in just a few months after tossing out my smoking habit. Over the next 7 years, I succumbed to weekly (sometimes nightly) binges on whatever food I could get my hands on. Consumed by my habit doesn’t even begin to explain the depths of the physical, mental, and emotional abuse I caused myself. I needed help, and I found it in a group of strangers who turned into my Impulse Family back in 2013.
Fast forward a few years, and I am grateful to say that, thanks to a lot of hard work, I don’t smoke, I’ve lost a ton of weight, and I’ve got a decent hold on my relationship with food. It wasn’t easy (trust me; not even close to easy), but there were some key factors that played a role in overcoming addiction. If you struggle with any sort of addiction, consider the following:
- Be willing to get help. This might seem like such an obvious necessity, but it’s often an overlooked step in the process. People are ready and willing to help you. But if you aren’t receptive to that help, you will remain stagnant in your addiction.
- Expect setbacks. We all want to get the answer right on the first try, but life doesn’t always happen that way. Brace yourself for curveballs, and know that step number one is to get right back on track the moment you realize you’ve been hit.
- Depend on others. While your actions are your choice, tell someone you trust what you are struggling with. In times of weakness, let the rationality of a friend guide your decisions.
- Pray. This should be a first resort, but when worse comes to worst, get on your knees and pray. God does some powerful things when you’re at rock bottom and you start putting your trust in Him.
- Know you’re not alone. When you are drowning in addiction, just know that there are others gasping for air, too. There are professionals and resources available to help you keep your head above water.
- Find an alternative. Without becoming an addiction in itself, pursue an activity, hobby, or other option to fill in place of those times when you feel led to relapse. Replace the negative with a positive.
Above all else, firmly believe that you can overcome addiction, even if it means starting over every single day. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Having just the slightest glimmer of hope is all the light you need to conquer the darkness in your life. When you think you’ve worked hard, work harder. It’s in you.
If you are battling an addiction, please know that the Impulse staff is ready to fight with you. We are always available to discuss your struggles and help you with a game plan to victory in your battle. We believe in you.
**The Impulse Staff is not certified to give out medical advice regarding addiction; rather, they are available for emotional support. Please contact professional assistance if you feel you need medical attention.**