Take Away Distractions and Hurdles

When I was a chocoholic, I could not resist eating a whole chocolate bar once I opened it. It was the same when I shifted my addiction to ice cream. Before I could come to my now very-easily-controlled quantities of sweets, I had to simply not have them available. If I was at home and I did not have chocolate, I did not eat it. If it was there, I did. So I started by taking away this distraction and temptation from being too readily available.

When your willpower is not as strong as you would like it to be, don’t try to challenge it! Some of the things we may be addicted to are fine in small doses but are not good for us in excess. Since it is not easy to simply decrease the amount of whatever it may be we do too much of (eating, watching TV, sex, smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.), we may need to take stronger measures for a while, to help reduce temptation.

You may decide to clean out all the sweets from your home, hide the cable of the TV (or place a blanket over it), encourage drinking buddies to engage in healthy activities with you, or avoid going to certain places where you know the temptation will just be too strong. Over time—once the addiction isn’t controlling your life as much—you may reintroduce some of these things back into your life consciously, with awareness and moderation. Learn to say no.

It is sometimes easier to please friends or people and say yes to foods, activities, or actions you don’t really want to consume or be part of. Why do you do this? Many of our actions come from habits or past conditioning. It may be that as a child you wanted to please your parents, so that they would let you stay up late to watch a show, or give you a treat or money. Now this habit transforms and pushes you to please other people for the wrong reasons. Find the source of the habit, recognize it, and then practice acting differently instead.

This is the practice of reconditioning. Sometimes it is easier to simply remove the distraction or source of addiction from our lives, and other times we need to plant a new seed—a new habit—to replace the old one. For example, if you are used to wanting a treat in the afternoon, and you are used to opening a specific cupboard because that is where you store your sweets or your potato chips, try replacing this food with healthy snacks.

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