Regardless of what you want to stop doing, be it drink alcohol, take drugs, self-harm, shop way over your budget, the path to recovery does not just involve avoiding the action or substance. While it can be beneficial to avoid areas where you will be more likely to relapse, going back to the action or substance will only be a matter of time if the only thing you are doing is avoiding it.
So how can someone really recover or overcome an addiction?
The ideal path for recovery includes enriching your life to the point where you no longer search for this action or substance to feel better. This is easier said than done. When someone spends a long time using a substance or doing an activity to feel better, it is hard to remember or think of other activities which can also make us feel better.
This means that we need to move away from the idea that as long as we’re not touching a substance or doing an activity, then it’s ok to just be ok. This is short-term thinking which will lead us to live an unsatisfactory life, or which will lead us back to that bad habit.
Instead of just avoiding the substance, think about how you can make your life better. Do you need to join some groups for support, make new friends, change your job, start a hobby, do some volunteering? There are many things which can make our life more full and satisfactory, you just have to find what works best for you!
Naturally, looking for the support of professionals can be important as well in order to move away from just ‘being okay’.
Mel McElhatton holds a degree in Social Work from the University of Malta. With Willingness, Mel does life coaching and is one of the facilitators in the IRL – In Real Life team. They are also the producer of the radio show Niddiskutu s-Sess. They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.