I come from a past where addictions ruled my life – whether it was drugs, alcohol, women, or affirmation. I was addicted to most anything and everything, and for some reason, it was always easy for me.
Someone recently asked me how I seemed so in control, given my history of multiple addictions. This really challenged me, because I’ve never really given much thought to it. I was aware of it, of course, but never really obsessed about it. I began to think of three major things that I did to combat addictions. I’m not saying all of these will necessarily work for you, but they certainly helped me.
1. Be confident in yourself
I found myself relapsing sometimes because I was never confident in who I was. It was really tough for me to be in control of my feelings, because I simply wasn’t confident in who I was as a man; a person; a being. This may seem trivial, but for a year every morning, I would get up, look in the mirror, and tell myself: “I’m confident”. Over time, my mindset changed without me even knowing it. Five years later, I still do it from time to time.
2. Set healthy boundaries
One of my biggest challenges was sex – I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, sex isn’t a bad thing – it’s the longing and craving for it in the wrong context that is bad. I currently have a girlfriend and we have been together for one year, and we have never had sex or been sexually physical. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the hardest thing in the world not to do anything, but one way I prevent myself from falling back is by setting boundaries. For example, one of my boundaries is that I won’t stay at her house later than 10:30 pm, because we all know nothing good happens after that! Of course my boundaries will look a lot different to yours, but the moment you discover them, they should be the most important thing in your life. It’s the difference between you becoming great, or falling back into a shallow life.
3. Surround yourself with great people
This is probably the hardest of all three. Often, it’s hard to leave what you know and step into something completely different and new. For me that looked like changing countries for three years and making new friends. It was the hardest decision to make because I knew when I came back things wouldn’t be the same with everyone. However, looking at how far I’ve come, there is no doubt that the journey I’m on is the right one. I’m not saying leave your friends and ignore them forever; all I’m saying is seek out people who will do this journey with you. I still talk to some of my old friends, but the influence I value is from friends that I know will influence me to grow and not fall.
I hope these pointers help you. They worked for me – if you knew me then, and looked at me now, you would know!
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