You may choose to call it a craving, a fancy or a bit of a dependence. Yet anyone who overly relies upon an activity – alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, gambling, sex, etc. – hopes to fill a void or block something out that is missing in their lives. When critical emotional needs remain insufficiently met, addiction can arise. Perhaps due to loss, caused by the death of someone close, a relationship ending, redundancy or illness, or by dissatisfaction stemming from boredom or feeling trapped.
Such circumstances may first lead to depression and addiction. Whatever the activity, it’s often an attempt at solving or removing (temporarily, at least) a problem. However, anyone caught up in addiction will intuitively know that it’s a fool’s gold. The experience involved long ceased to deliver on its promises. An activity that once appeared enabling (e.g. a means of reward, connecting with others, or decompressing from stressful events) has become disabling. As such, you might feel distressed and concerned at its current power over your choices and subsequent freedom.
To get away from addictive behaviour, it is necessary to understand two things: the way our natural reward mechanisms work, and the way life should be constructed in order to receive the natural rewards that make addictive activities less attractive. Our work together will support you to:
- Understand what causes and fuels addictive behaviour
- Isolate destructive impulses that keep you locked in on autopilot
- Ensure important emotional needs are constructively met
- Develop new expectations for your life and the future
- Find pleasure and fulfilment in new and meaningful ways
- Develop practical skills for dealing with withdrawal symptoms
- Learn to deal with stress or temptations that might lie ahead
- Have a solid plan for relapse prevention