In this article I will discuss:
- What addiction looks like
- My experience with addiction
- Ways to beat the urge
Everyone loves to write about the fun side of life and typically stay away from hard topics. I want people to talk and tell their story because we all are struggling and sometimes we feel alone. Talking and supporting each other will help us feel less alone.
I am putting this article under the mental health category of my blog because addiction is physical but it is also a mental health issue. Many times we turn to addiction in hopes that our depression or anxiety will go away. In reality, addiction only makes these things worse.
Myth – You can tell who has an addiction problem.
Truth – Addiction looks different on everyone.
For me, I am a mom and wife. I work hard at my job and rarely miss days for being sick. I am addicted to alcohol and food. Although you would not be able to tell because I hide things really well.
A lot of us do. I don’t drink anymore but that doesn’t mean it is easy. It is a daily battle that only someone with an addictive personality can understand.
As far as food, I put myself on Weight Watchers and that helps me so much. When I was younger I would binge eat and then go eliminate it in the bathroom. I never told a soul and nobody ever would have known.
For those of you who are reading this who have never gone through this, it can be hard to understand. I often hear the following:
- Just stop drinking it’s not that hard.
- Only drink two beers and be done.
- Stop drinking and get a hobby.
- Just exercise when you want to drink.
Really? For those with addictive personalities, I cannot express how hard it is just to stop. It is even hard to stop at two drinks!
I love the analogy my therapist told me to tell my husband (who is completely opposite of me!). Pretend your nose itches, you also have a couple of mosquito bites on your leg that itch, and you need to itch your scalp. Now with all the places you need to itch, DON’T. REFRAIN. STOP. DON’T ITCH. The itch is getting so bad. Your legs burn from the mosquito bites – BUT WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T ITCH! EVER!
In fact, you can never ITCH again. Could you do it? That is what addiction feels like – a really bad itch that never goes away. It is there for the rest of your life and if you itch there are consequences.
The first part is admitting you have a problem. For years I told myself I would be fine and just have a couple of drinks. Well, that never happened and generally, I would do something stupid or blackout and not remember. WOW, that is scary.
To me, it is really scary because addiction runs in my family. My dad passed away five years ago from an alcohol overdose. He drank himself to death and this was a wake-up call. Every time I blacked out I could have stopped breathing and ended up just like my dad. This was why I stopped to be there for my family.
I am not perfect and have had slip-ups but here are the top things that have helped me in the darkest of times:
Find a friend to help you through the tough moments
Cravings – We all have them. For those who are not familiar with cravings, they are tough! You see a beer commercial and the saliva glands start salivating.
For me, I can actually remember the taste and feel of the first drink. It is tough but does ease up over time. It is still never easy being around others who partake in social gatherings where cocktails are involved.
This is where you need a friend. If you go to a party you need another person there with you who are not going to drink and ensure you don’t either. A general rule of thumb is I stay away from happy hour events but we still have people over for poker night that drink. You can’t run from every event so find a friend!
Get a hobby
I love photography and can spend hours taking and editing photos. This helps my anxiety as well as taking my mind off toxic thoughts. Other hobbies including knitting, pick up a craft, wood working, to start a blog and tell your story.
Take a walk outside
Being outside surrounded by nature can help improve your mood and surprisingly takes away my cravings. Too cold or too hot, do it anyway! Trust me you will feel great.
Join a volunteer group and give back to your community
You can call your local Chamber of Commerce and they can tell you about volunteer organizations in your community.
Read a book
If you are a book lover, head to the library and pick up a good book! Most libraries will have a recommended section or you look at these resources:
- Ask your Facebook friends.
- Head over to Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine and see what books have been recommended.
- Brene Brown has some great book recommendations on her Facebook page. Not familiar with Brene Brown you should be and she has experience in the addiction area.
- Check out books by Rachel Hollis! She is the best and will inspire you to reach for your dreams.
- Look at bookstore websites and see if they have a recommended list.
Here are some books I love! CLICK THE LINK TO PURCHASE ON AMAZON.
- Party girl is a good pool side or by the cozy fire book.
- Where The Crawdads Sign takes place in New Orleans and is a murder mystery
- The other books will inspire you to live your dreams!
Spend time with your family
- Go on a nature hike
- Check out free attractions in your area
- Have a picnic
- Go to a water park or indoor trampoline park
- Have a family photoshoot.
Organize your space
Stress is my trigger. Having a messy house stresses me out. If you find yourself stressed out a clean and organized home can help you escape whatever other things are stressing you out. Remove clutter and donate it to a local charity.
Meditate to clear your head
Meditation is a powerful tool. Here are a couple apps I love:
- Relax melodies
- Peloton app – I love their meditations!
Join classes at your local community college
We have a community college nearby that offers classes like photography, cooking, pet care, and much more! This can help you find a hobby if you do not already have one.
Whatever you do don’t find yourself alone and bored. This is a disaster!
Do it scared but do something!
Leave a comment for what you do to beat addition.