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Addiction is one of the most devastating social evils. It can destroy individuals, families and even whole communities. By its very nature, addiction can be targeted at any number of toxic things (drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc.).

One particular feature of addiction that makes it so harmful is that it keeps coming back. Once you think you have it under control, it rears its ugly head up again, promising to continue its dangerous rampage through your personal life.

In the words of one poet, ‘it is the curse of the addict that he is most in love with that which is mort harmful to him’. Ending a deadly but irresistible habit can be a difficult journey but it is one that must be taken. Here are 11 ways to kill the cycle of addiction.

Self-Determination

If any of the methods in this list are to work, the addict must have self-determination. This may seem difficult, as it was the lack of it in the first place that often leads many into addiction. However, having self-determination just means acknowledging that you deserve a better life and that it is in your power to bring that about. Admit this, and believe it, and you are ready to recover.

Planning

As much as we might hope otherwise, kicking a toxic habit is not as easy as snapping your fingers and one morning waking up without the craving. You need to plan it out. Even for something as simple as smoking, it is important to clearly state your goals for the day, the week, the month and longer term and then stick to them. A plan that does not compel you is just a list.

Courage

Anything that causes us fear requires courage to overcome. Courage is the antidote to fear. Letting go of an addiction (whether drugs, a bad relationship, pornography) often induces a very primal kind of fear within us. We do not know what our lives will be like without that thing. But as with anything worth having, an addiction-free life requires work. And the first step is to overcome the crippling fear associated with letting go of the addiction.

Help Others, be Social

As surprising as it may be, helping others can help you end your addiction. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, help a friend move into a new apartment. The social support you provide and the socializing may help reduce your anxiety. At the end of the day, it is anxiety that most often leads to addiction. Overcoming porn addiction, for example, could be as simple as taking a walk outside and talking to others.

Responsibility

If you will not overcome an addiction for yourself, then at least do it for the ones who love you and for society at large. You owe it to your family to live a happy, productive life, and by kicking a bad habit, you set an example for others.

Work Out

Working out does a number of things in relation to getting rid of an addiction. If you are playing a team sport, it makes you more social. If you are suffering from a chemical addiction, it can help remove toxins from your body through sweat. In general, exercise reduces anxiety as well, leading to lowered cravings.

Be Open

When it comes to addictions that affect those around you in profound ways (e.g. the way extreme porn addiction can affect a relationship), it is important to be open with the other person. Oftentimes, people are afraid to tell us exactly how our behavior affects them for fear that we would just continue behaving as we do. This is why it is important for the addict to make the first move. Once he or she does so, the brutal reality of how much they are hurting their loved ones may lead to them quitting altogether, or at least trying to seek help.

Lifestyle Changes

Many of us fall into addiction because they are habits and humans are creatures of habit. If you over drink every time you go out with a certain friend, then logic would dictate that if you stop hanging out with that friend, you will drink less. If you eat too much every time you encounter stress, learn to remove the stressful elements of your daily life.

Pray

If you are religious, the social and spiritual anchoring that church provides can be as powerful as any other item on this list in terms of ending the cycle of addiction. Even if you do not believe, some sense of higher purpose can help you kick a habit.

Meditate

Somewhat similar to prayer is meditation. This method can have benefits far outside the realm of drug addiction, as a method to improve your awareness and enjoyment of life generally. In terms of addiction, meditation helps you become fully aware of how your actions affect your life and the lives of those around you. The starkness of that realization may help to jar you into quitting.

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