Peak effectiveness means you are in control of your actions and your future. Imagine that you were suddenly incarcerated and had to try to accomplish everything that you do each day from behind bars. How would you take care of your family? How would you get your work done? What would happen to your productivity? This is an extreme example, but it illustrates how difficult it is to work when you are not in control.
Today, millions of people walk around incarcerated in their own personal jails called addictions. These people are addicted to substances (such as alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, or even caffeine) or to behaviors (such as gambling, porn, overeating, or too much TV) which rob them of time, money, and control. While these activities might be legal, they can be just as captivating and debilitating as an addiction to illegal drugs. Those involved have unintentionally relinquished control of their lives to these habits and substances. In most cases, they cannot quit on their own. They have lost the ability to determine their thoughts, their actions, and their future.
If you are in this situation, if you have activities that you know you should give up but don’t think you can live without, I urge you to take action today to release yourself from the bondage of addictions.
Here are my 10 steps to freedom from addictions:
- Realize that you cannot lick this without help.
- Know that God loves you and seek his help. You don’t have to be religious to believe in a higher power and develop a relationship with God as you understand him.
- Talk to your family and friends and ask them to help you dump the behavior which is limiting your quality of life. Have a designated friend or family member that you can call for support at any time, and to whom you must regularly report.
- When the urge comes, say “NO.” Then do something to interrupt the thought pattern. Giving in to addictive behavior is not inevitable. Replace addictive thoughts with something else that is interesting, exciting and enjoyable (but not addictive).
- Take care of your health: eat right, exercise, take a vitamin supplement, etc.
- Focus on other people. It’s easier to stay clean when you are serving others.
- Evaluate each day’s successes and failures in a daily journal and show it to your designated friend regularly. If you know that you will have to report how you did, you will be more likely to succeed.
- Avoid places or situations where you will be tempted to indulge in your addiction. Be particularly vigilant in times of boredom, anxiety, or fatigue.
- If the addiction is seriously affecting your quality of life, and you can’t stop, contact your local addiction-recovery chapter (Alcoholics Anonymous or comparable group dealing with your addiction) for support or enroll in addiction counseling.
- Believe that you will be addiction free. Between your personal commitment, and the help of family, friends, and God, you can and will free yourself from the prison of addiction.
If you are already free from addictions, congratulations! Make sure you avoid potentially addictive substances and behaviors in the future as you would a contagious disease. What may seem harmless or exciting at first can become a raging fire which burns out of control.
Freedom from addictions means more time for the important things in your life. It means increased productivity, more money in the bank, improved relationships, enhanced creativity, more energy, and better control. The key to success in life is to take charge of your thoughts and your actions. The more you free yourself from addictive substances or behaviors, the more freedom and power you will have to determine your success.
Take action today to take charge of your life.