The addictions that are hardest to deal with are those that we can’t avoid on a daily basis. These are what some people consider the soft addictions, things like texting, internet use and shopping. But, in the strictest terms, these behaviors have all the hallmarks of an addiction just like drugs or alcohol. While they may not lead to death by overdose or disease, they certainly negatively impact on relationships and lead to breakdowns in the family, loss of jobs, loss of friends and absolute personal devastation.
So, how do you deal with daily activities that have crossed the line into addictions? This certainly isn’t a simple question and it doesn’t get a simple answer. There are some things you can do to create boundaries around the activities and start to take control.
1. Schedule and Track
One way to begin to bring addictions under control when you can’t stop the activity for practical purposes is to schedule the activity and track your time, dollars spent or use. For example, if you have an addiction to being online set a timer for 1 hour and then, when the timer goes off, step away and shut off the computer.
Shopping addictions can be limited by time and money combinations. Allocate X amount of money and bring cash. Do not bring credit cards, debit cards or other sources of money. Then schedule a set amount of time in a store to spend that amount of money. When you reach either the time limit or the dollar amount you agree to stop shopping and move on to another very different activity. Try to make this activity very rewarding to you personally. It needs to be enjoyable to motivate you to leave one activity for another.
2. Be Accountable
Get a spouse, friend, family member or coworker you trust involved to help you stay accountable. You need to find someone you trust that will keep your goals and plans confidential if that is your wish. The more people that you have to be accountable for and the more those relationships mean the more support and encouragement you should find.
3. Reward Yourself
Set goals in your addiction recovery. I have provided lots of examples of goal setting in my book “The Law of Sobriety” which can provide concrete steps. Then, plan a reward for yourself when you reach those goals. The key is that the reward you choose cannot be more time doing the problem behavior. You have to choose something that is not the source of the addiction and not similar in nature.
Working through these types of addictions is tough. Working with a professional coach or counselor will provide you with ideas and insight to help you be successful in your goal to be addiction free.
Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your free E books at www.sherrygaba.com Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. Listen to Sherry on “A Moment of Change with Sherry Gaba”on CBS Radio. Are you a Love Addict? Take Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction.