Willpower to Overcome an Addiction
Critics aside, it is a recognized medical position that a lack of willpower is not the cause of an addiction. Years of studies by government organizations like the NIAAA, private researchers and medical doctors have shown that a problem with drugs and alcohol can occur in response to a traumatic experience, genetic predisposition, mental illness or environmental or social factors. A person may have poor levels of self esteem, self worth and lack the ability to resist, but this is not the only reason for an addiction developing. Some people try and stop their addiction by going “Cold Turkey” but this is an intense way of doing so and difficult for both the addict and others around him.
Willpower alone will not drive a person to overcome an addiction. Interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medical treatment, motivational enhancement therapy and family support are some of the known treatments for addiction. Resolve and commitment to give up a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol is required but it will not alone help a chronically addicted individual. An addict needs support from family, friends, employers, and skill development to help them to be able to know how to deal with triggers, education and also in some cases medical treatment. They need to deal with the major emotional or traumatic events that may have contributed to their addictive lifestyle in healthier ways. It is not simply a matter of giving up when they want to or breaking out of the addiction.
Strengthen your Willpower to Improve your Recovery
A recent study has identified some ways in which you can improve your willpower. You can use these methods to enhance your willpower:
- Encourage yourself to stick to your plan
- Set realistic goals
- Reject negative thoughts
- Get more sleep to help your brain manage energy better
- Postpone things for later to gain focus on what’s important right now
The belief in your own self is a powerful tool to manage your cravings. For recovery and avoiding relapse you are running a marathon rather than a sprint. To enhance your willpower you need to believe in your abilities to control your cravings, and also understand your limitations and realize that you need to take it one day at a time.