We know that addiction is a disease. Treating it isn’t as simple as saying, “No more for me, thanks.” Drug and alcohol abuse changes your prefrontal cortex, which makes it difficult for you to make rational decisions, even basic ones like “No, I don’t want to use today.”
We also know the pitfalls, perils, and problems associated with addiction. Maybe you, like many others, have lost out on friends, missed opportunities, experiences, and money chasing a bit of relief from pain. While addiction can be challenging to deal with, what if there was such a thing as a positive addiction?
The Science Behind Saying “No”
Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, states, “When the frontal cortex isn’t working properly, people can’t make the decision to stop taking the drug—even if they realize the price of taking that drug may be extremely high, and they might lose custody of their children or end up in jail. Nonetheless, they take it.”
Couple this with an addictive personality, and you can see why it can be challenging for people to kick bad habits. However, what if we could replace bad habits with good habits? Kick the harmful addictions out and replace them with positive addictions?
Is There Such a Thing as a Positive Addiction?
William Glasser was an American Philosopher and Psychiatrist who wrote about the mind and its inner machinations. Glasser wrote heavily on the nature of addictions and addictive personalities. Addictions are chemical habits that, over time, stop being unconscious choices you make and start becoming psychological and physiological needs. There are steps that you can take when working on overcoming your addiction that can allow you to create, as Dr. Glasser describes them, “positive addictions.”
Positive addictions are more than just things you enjoy doing. Having a hobby that makes you happy and allows you to spend your time in healthy, productive ways is good for the human body and psyche. To turn your addictive personality into something that can benefit you requires some essential steps.
Creating “Positive Addictions”
There are four steps to help yourself create positive addictions:
#1. First, think of something that you love doing. Something that maybe, as time an addiction wore on, you lost interest in.
#2. Refamiliarization is the second step. In the same way that you familiarized yourself with drugs, alcohol, and the lifestyle associated with those things, you’re going to want to refamiliarize yourself with that hobby. Meditation, art, sports, music, writing, etc. What made you fall in love with it? If you can answer that question, you are well on your way to building a new, positive addiction.
#3. Once you’ve rekindled your love for that old hobby or found a new one, you will need to set aside time each week to engage in that hobby. As someone who struggles with addiction, you set aside time to use. However, setting a time to engage in your new healthy habit satisfies that “ritual” part of the brain that is often associated with addiction processes.
#4. Once you’ve gotten your new, healthy habit settled, keep at it. Many activities such as yoga have been proven to have calming, endorphin-rushing side effects that don’t come at the cost of your mental and physical health.
Healthy Habits for Someone in Recovery
There are many healthy habits you can create for yourself in recovery. Some of these may include:
- Good sleeping habits: A good night’s sleep can help your body heal from the damage caused by addiction. Good sleeping habits can also help reduce the possibility of relapse.
- Self-care habits: Creating a life without drugs or alcohol involves re-establishing even the simplest self-care routines, such as taking a shower, going for a jog or a run, meditating, or putting on makeup. When creating healthy habits, do anything that can make you feel better and take your mind off the pressure of maintaining sobriety.
- Active habits: Being physically active has positive outcomes for your physical health and can also benefit your mental health by serving as a way for you to release stress and depression. Exercise can also help you focus on something more worthwhile than your cravings.
The Benefits of Positive Habits
Addiction doesn’t always have to exist as a pejorative. We can become obsessed with wonderful things. Building healthy habits is a great way to ease the burdens that come with kicking unhealthy habits. By practicing healthy habits and building positive addictions, you are not only keeping yourself occupied with something you love, but you are also investing in both your present and future self.
Treat yourself with kindness. The world can be an unforgiving place at times. It helps to forgive yourself and treat yourself with compassion, love, and adoration. When you find yourself shackled with harmful addictions and you want to free yourself from them, building positive addictions is a great way to start.
Many people struggle with substance use disorder. When you’re in the throes of addiction or a mental health emergency, it can feel as though there is no way out. At Achieve Concierge, we take a comprehensive approach to substance use disorder and mental health issues. Our team of caring professionals wants to help you defeat your addictions and build healthy habits. Our members have access to a variety of services, from cognitive-behavioral therapy to recommended medications. If you have COVID-19 concerns, we offer telemedicine services that can be scheduled and arranged in the comfort of your home. If you or someone you know is struggling and needs immediate help, we offer same-day services as well. Don’t wait or hesitate. Achieve Concierge is here to help you build the better life that you deserve, free from the shackles of addiction. Call us today for more information on the programs we offer at (858) 221-0344.