Addiction can be to many things: legal and illegal substances, alcohol, food, exercise, gambling, sex and many other activities.
When addicted we often feel that we cannot go without this substance or activity. Our thinking and lives revolve around it. Getting it/avoiding it/doing it can become a central feature to our daily lives. This preoccupation and need to engage in the addictive behaviours can alienate us from others and cause disruptions in personal relationships, home, work and other areas of our lives. Being addicted might also take its toll on our finances and physical health. It can leave us feeling depressed and isolated and negative about ourselves and our future. We can experience conflicting feelings of hating and loving what the addiction gives us and find ourselves caught in a cycle of wanting to stop yet feeling helpless to do so, as we do not feel in control of the addiction.
The path to abstinence tends to involve both psychological input and behavioural changes. Sometimes when a physical dependency is present, as it is the case with some illicit and over-the-counter substances as well as alcohol – a staged reduction, or a (medical) withdrawal should go hand in hand with psychological interventions such as relapse prevention.
Yet ultimately, learning to understand ‘why’ we are addicted, letting go of this part of us, working through underlying reasons for our addiction and finding new coping strategies tend to be some of the major ways to creating and maintaining a life free of addiction.
Psychological therapy can help to look and explore the multifaceted nature of addiction. It can feel freeing to have someone to talk to when contemplating whether or not to stop, to create some insights as to why we are addicted, what role the addiction plays in our life and working out a plan for the more behavioural changes as well as to find strategies to prevent relapse.
Morency Therapy & Consulting Rooms provide addiction counselling for South Birmingham and Worcestershire, including Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Bromsgrove and Redditch.