Beating addiction is not a process of being told what to do differently, or learning the tricks that you were possibly lacking, those secrets which people without an addiction surely must have. No, it doesn’t work like that.
Overcoming addiction is more to do with learning about yourself, learning how you tick, what beliefs you hold, some of which you might not even be aware of, which contribute to your problems.
Most of our behaviours are very automatic, we do things without thinking too deeply about the consequences, most of the time. We are animals, just like the rest of nature, and we respond in the same way they do. Like Pavlov’s famous dogs – if you show us something that we’ve seen before, we often respond to it in a pre-programmed or learnt way. If you smell some lovely fresh food being cooked, you’ll start to produce saliva. You will also probably think certain thoughts as a result, again often automatically (though they might not FEEL automatic). Some of these thoughts are so subtle and you have them so often, you might not even notice them.
With addiction the initial event can be anything – being bored, feeling lonely, angry, disappointed, frustrated, tired. From that thought you might think something like “I can’t stand feelings like this, I must change this feeling”. Again, this thought might not be a loud one in your head, its just a way of dealing with the world and your feelings that has become automatic.
So, in a situation like this, you’ll find something to get rid of this unpleasant feeling you’ve got – “I know what will change my mood, a drink…” or some cocaine, or whatever your problem is with (whereas someone without addiction problems might choose to accept that feeling for a while, or find a less destructive way to change the feeling).
So, to change your addictive habits, you firstly need to understand fully how they work, what you are doing to sustain them. Then you can slowly relearn some healthier ways to deal with life, with your unpleasant feelings.