How To Kick Addictions So That You Can Live A Life Without Shackles

And that is exactly what addictions do right?  They keep you shackled, they keep you bound, they keep you stuck, they stop you from reaching your true inner potential.    There are many kinds of addictions too. Maybe you’re addicted to sex but want to have a meaningful relationship, maybe you’re addicted to sugar but want to kick metabolic syndrome, maybe you’re addicted to work and lack friendships , maybe you’re addicted to your own ego but want to be more self less and kinder to others, maybe you’re addicted to drugs and alcohol but want to be free of all of that. 


In essence, the addiction will always block the potential.  Addictions keep you disempowered and small and they never work because they can never satiate you.  An addiction will never satisfy you that’s why you need more of it each time - that’s how they work, that’s how they have their power OVER you.  So, if an addiction was going to make you happy it would have done so by now!  True?  Yes!  An addiction can never really make you happy, an addiction can only do one thing and that is disempower you


So the definition of an addiction is something that takes you away from a bad feeling to a good feeling.  There are obvious addictions like drinking, smoking, drugs, sugar, sex, porn, gambling, work, phone use and not so obvious addictions like addiction to negativity, worry, anxiety, depression, mirror checking, OCD behaviours…. you might think well how can depression take you away from a bad feeling to a good feeling?But when you look at the rules of the mind, the mind LOVES and prefers what is familiar and if depression and anxiety have become familiar, you will naturally go there without even realising. So it becomes a preference of familiarity, of comfort that you are compelled to do over and over again. 


The good news is addictive personalities tend to be impulsive and spontaneous, they tend to be driven, tenacious and energetic so we can use those traits to become addicted to healthier habits like fasting in between meals, exercise, a great sleep routine, kindness, helping others, simplicity, friendliness and generally being a hero in our story (which ripples out into everyone else's life).  


So here are my 3 steps to kicking addictions and living life without those shackles. 


Step 1 - Understand

Underneath every addiction is the belief that “I am not enough therefore I need more”  and to heal it you’ve got to understand where they came from and the why it is there.  Without this understanding, there is no clarity, and clarity induces change. 


So understand who and what disrupted your normal relationship to the addiction.  What happened to you as a child?  Because babies are not born addicts, babies are born with a perfect relationship to food, they don’t even know what drugs are, they trust that all their needs are going to be met, they love themselves, they don’t think that anything is wrong with them, they believe they are wonderful but you can very quickly make them doubt that their personal feelings are valid  and this is what addictions are all about.  You can make them think that they are innately flawed or wrong just because they feel confused, angry, sad, upset, trapped and when our understanding about these feelings gets skewed, we feel wrong inside and that’s when we turn to the addiction, to help us feel better or to help us feel SOMETHING (especially if we've numbed out.)   


And you can show children, how to become addicted to things, just by being a living example (because children learn through observation).  You can also make them feel like the only way to connect with mum or dad is to have a drink with them or eat with them or worse still, the only way to connect with them is to shut down those inner feeling parts that don’t seem to please mum or dad and you can end up trying to become a different person altogether which again makes you feel innately wrong and that’s why you turn to the addiction (to take you away from that bad feeling).


A big part of the reason why people stay stuck in an addiction is this idea of learned helplessness.  When you’re a child of course, you ARE helpless because you’re at the mercy of the adults around you for your survival, but when you’re an adult you’re not, those days are gone.  You are not dependent on your caregivers to validate you, yet we still operate as if we are because we haven’t updated our brain wiring yet. This feeling of learned helplessness (that nothing’s going to change), makes us feel trapped and it’s that feeling of being trapped that makes us do the addictive behaviour because in that moment the addiction makes us feel free.


Perfectionism is another big reason why we become addicted or why we sabotage our recovery.  Shame around the possibility of things not turning out perfectly is a big driver for things staying the same.  Maybe you were teased or told off for getting something wrong and because the mind has to move you away from pain it makes sure that you never try anything new, so you think what’s the point?  But your soul knows different, you inner being, your soul, wants and needs to be creative and to expand and so blocking it or feeling shame around it is effectively lying to your soul…. nothing could be further from the truth…. mistakes are beautiful, failure is beautiful, perfection is ugly. 


So, I grab a journal, close your eyes, relax yourself and going back to scenes in your life where your relationship to the thing you become addicted to got disrupted, write down what you felt and let those feelings out. 


Which brings me to my next point….


You also need to understand what feeling are you trying to escape and what feeling are you trying to create?  I had a client who felt such shame around their circumstances because they felt like a looser that drinking was the only way to soothe it, it gave them temporary relief and also made them feel connected to others that drank, but of course it didn’t work in the end because drinking was compounding the shame.    I had another client who ate sugary foods to feel relaxed and in her own body because she was always thinking about other people and taking care of others and her energy was ‘out there’ rather than in here, so the food was grounding her.   Another client worked so hard because he wanted to feel accomplished and whenever he took a break he felt like a nobody.  But the ironic truth was, was that he felt like a nobody WITH the work addiction and he felt like a nobody when he stopped working.  


Usually an addiction promises to take you away from a bad feeling to a good feeling and understanding what that bad feeling is and what that good feeling is is part of your recovery because it gives you clarity.  it also shows you how it's NOT really working.  


You can’t go to step 2 without first doing step one.  So once you’ve done step one, you’re ready for step two. 


Step 2 - Accept.

Now that you know what these feelings are, it's your job to find a way of dealing with them in a way that is wholesome and life sustaining.  


Understand that there might have been some feelings that you experienced as a child that were made fun of, shunned, not expressed,  quashed or invalidated.   But even though the adults around you tried to do their best know this…..ALL YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID…. repeat after me…. ALL MY FEELINGS ARE VALID AND REAL and acceptable.    


Finding a way of dealing with shame, anger, overwhelm, stress, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt.


How do you deal with them?…. you must transmute them, you must transform them, you cannot deny them and push them down because you can never eradicate them.  Feelings are energy.   You must feel them but don’t feed them, because feeding those emotions leads to an addiction to the self, depression and perpetual negativity. 


Here are some suggestions how to transform feeling:

Talk them through….


Dance them out…



Punch and scream…..

Dynamic meditation…..

De cluttering…..

Singing & music (create a playlist) 

As you do all of this try to have compassion for yourself, like you would an innocent child.   


Step 3 - Decide.


Love yourself enough to unequivocally DECIDE, leaving no room for doubt, that you will dig so deep, deeper than you’ve ever dug before to get yourself out of the hole because even with the most supportive people around you, it’s still YOU and YOU alone that has to make the choice to not do the addiction



So decide that you won’t settle for anything less than wholesome habits that move you towards a feeling of flow, creativity, joy, balance and connection to others.  Decide that feeling good is your number one priority, because you deserve it. 


Decide that  you absolutely don’t want to experience the after math of guilt and shame that is inevitable if you do the addiction… like I said before “if the addiction was going to make you happy don’t you think it would have done so by now?”    Now, this requires you to be brave and a little vulnerable, but vulnerability is a good thing.  It connects you to others and it’s very humbling.  If you want to know more about vulnerability watch the Brene Brown documentary on Netflix. 


Recovering from an addiction requires commitment and consistency because it’s FOREVER!   So that means you’re going to have to replace it with something else and that something else, is SIMPLE AND SMALL PLEASURES.


The trouble with addictions is that it raises our tolerance for excitement and lowers our tolerance of boredom.   A walk on the beach seems boring, lighting a candle and doing some meditation seems boring (unless we have a spiritual experience), cooking a healthy meal seems boring, gazing at a loved one seems unappealing, sniffing a flower, doing some art… seems boring and pointless.  But if you start to see the beauty in these small things, you have a bigger chance of winning against this addiction.  My mantra is Small pleasure provide big wins.


And so those are my 3 steps but I have a bonus step for you too.


But if you’re still struggling with any kind of addiction I will be able to help you in an RTT session which can be done brilliantly online via Zoom or in person with me in Brighton. 


So RTT works by going deeper into the steps mentioned above and clearing all blocks with the help of the most powerful part of you, the sub conscious mind.  It basically gives you a massive upgrade.  For those of you who don’t know it was designed and developed by Marisa Peer and for many is replacing conventional talk therapy because it’s rapid and rooted in the science of neuro plasticity.   If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon because it’s becoming a household name. 


If you want more information on how the mind works, read my blog:  How the Mind Works When It Comes to Change


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