How To Fight and Beat Addiction

Recognising that you have a problem can be the toughest step towards recovery, so in many ways, the fact that you are here now, reading this is a great start. You may already have tried to cut back on your addictive behaviour but have found it difficult to keep the momentum going.

But don’t give up – no matter how many times you have tried before there is always hope – with the right approach and support, change is possible.

No matter what substance or activity you find yourself ‘addicted’ to, we believe that the key to recovery is to focus NOT on the addiction, but rather on what life could and should be like for the non-addicted you. Without wanting to trivialise it, you beat addiction when you make your urge to use or to act on your addiction a secondary (and diminishing) factor in your life – by clarifying, recognising, honoring and living by your true values that make you who you are.

7 Tools to Beat Addiction

In brief, you need to know how to do seven things to fight addiction and win:

  1. Check into your values, what’s important to you – the things that mean more to you than remaining addicted;
  2. Develop and practice the skills you need to manage your life without relying on addiction;
  3. Learn how to control addictive urges through mind management techniques;
  4. Find and appreciate the rewards that come from a “sober” (by which I mean a non-addicted) lifestyle;
  5. Build and appreciate personal relationships and turn to positive communities for support and companionship;
  6. Find your purpose and plan a future that leads to accomplishing your life goals;
  7. Mature into a new, non-addicted you — a person who simply and naturally rejects addiction in all forms.

The importance of values

Values play a critical role in addiction—and your values are likely to be the key to your beating addiction. This is a matter of both considering what your values are and sometimes refocusing on dormant values or even developing new ones. When you can truly experience how a habit is damaging what is most important to you, the steps out of your destructive habit often fall readily into place.

Some values directly contradict addictions. If you have these values, they help you to fight addiction. And if you don’t, developing such values is potentially a critical therapeutic tool. Values can be expressed by statements about what you think is right and wrong, or about your preferences, such as:

  • “I value our relationship”
  • “I value my health”
  • “I believe in hard work”
  • “Nothing is more important to me than my children”
  •  “It is embarrassing to be out of control of yourself”

All of these values oppose addiction. Other values, or an absence of values, can reinforce addiction. For example, if you don’t think that it’s wrong to be intoxicated or high, if it’s not important to you to fulfill your obligations to other people, or if you don’t care whether you succeed at work, then you are more likely to sustain an addiction.

Values that can help Fight Addiction:

  • ACHIEVEMENT —accomplishing constructive and socially valued goals, such as participating in athletics, running for office, getting an education, succeeding at work, or providing for your family
  • CONSCIOUSNESS —being alert, awake, and aware of your surroundings; using your mind to make sense out of your life and experience
  • ACTIVITY —being energetic in daily life and engaged in the world around you
  • HEALTH —eating well, exercising, getting health care, and choosing an overall healthy lifestyle
  • RESPONSIBILITY —fulfilling your commitments as well as doing what the law obliges you to do
  • SELF-RESPECT —caring for and about yourself and, by extension, all people
  • COMMUNITY —being involved in the communities of which you are part (your town, school, work organization, religious group, neighborhood, political party) and contributing to the welfare of these groups—and the larger world

How Do Values Fight Addiction?

To say that your values influence your desire and ability to fight addiction is to say that you act in line with what you believe in and what you care about. Such values can be remarkably potent. For example, I heard a woman say, “I used to smoke, and sometimes I think of going back to it. However, now that I have small children, I would sooner cut my fingers off with a kitchen knife then start smoking again.” Even if this woman fell to temptation and smoked one cigarette, it is highly unlikely that she would relapse entirely.

In her memoir, Room to Grow actress Tracey Gold described her life-threatening anorexia. When she appeared on the Today show to discuss the book, host Matt Lauer asked her the standard disease question:was she over the disease, or was it still with her? “It’s my Achilles’ heel,” she said, “but I have two small children, and I could never fall all the way back.”

As a society, and as individuals, we need to grasp that there is no more important facilitator or antidote to addiction than our values. For example, people who value clear thinking will shy away from regular intoxication. Likewise, a responsible person highly concerned for his family’s well-being would not allow himself to shop or gamble away his family’s money. People who are focused on their health will be reluctant, or refuse, to drink excessively or to take drugs.

Identifying your Values

To further assist you in identifying your core values, list the three worst losses you could suffer in life, such as:

  • Your health
  • Your family or life partner (or their approval)
  • Your appearance
  • Your relationship to God
  • Your intelligence
  • Your standing in the community
  • Your self-respect
  • Your job/profession/work skills
  • Your friends
  • Your ethical standards
  • Something not mentioned above

Make a list of how your worst habit is affecting these three things. Now describe a way that you can keep focused on each of these values as leverage to change your addiction.

Read more about values

Self-help guide to beating addiction

Do you want a life without addiction?

The Life Process Program is a systematic, proven methodology for beating addiction. Whether you are battling an addiction to drugs, alcohol, food, porn, sex, or gambling, our program is a hands-on, practical guide to overcoming addiction of any kind. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction we can help. Based on years of research and clinical study and grounded in science, the Life Process Program builds on the proven methods that people have actually used to fight and beat addiction. The Life Process Program offers in-depth, interactive exercises that show you how to outgrow destructive habits by putting together the building blocks for a balanced, fulfilling, responsible life founded on the following tools:

  • Values
  • Motivation
  • Rewards
  • Resources
  • Support
  • Maturity
  • Higher Goals

I originally developed the Life Process Program as a residential program involving intense experiential learning, including exercises and feedback from counselors whom I personally trained.  The treatment program was licensed, welcomed by insurers, and awarded the highest commendation for addiction treatment programs. I have now worked with leading experts to convert the LPP into an on-line learning experience that will reach out to more people who need help. Most people obviously cannot afford the time and expense of participating in a residential treatment program.  My on-line LPP provides the same learning experience as the residential LPP program, but in an affordable, convenient package you can access on a home computer,laptop or mobile device.

A significant part of the on-line Life Process Program experience is your having access to coaches – all of whom I have trained. Your dedicated coach will provide feedback to you on your exercises, and support you on your path to recovery. In fact, I believe that this on-line Life Process Program is better tailored for individuals than was my residential program, where economics dictated that people only meet in groups with the counselors.  The on-line Life Process Program allows you to proceed at your own pace, follow your own direction, and focus on your greatest personal needs.

So, please, explore the Life Process Program here and embark on your personal path to recovery.  I believe you will never regret doing so.

Dr. Stanton Peele, Ph.D

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts by The Fix, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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