How to Overcome Addiction – The Definitive Guide

“Addiction is the killer of all dreams.”

How to Overcome Addiction – Intro

Addiction is bad. Like really bad. Like so bad that it can basically control your entire life if you leave it unchecked. What I find surprising about such a serious issue is that it’s kind of swept under the rug by a large portion of society. When it is talked about, the severity of it is often downplayed and it’s made to be less of an issue than it actually it is. I have often heard people talk about addiction like like it’s some minor problem on the same level as catching a cold. In actuality, the problem is much worse. Every addict knows that deep down.

We may live in a free world, but you’re essentially a slave if you’re a addict. When you have an addiction, your entire life will revolve around it. Let’s use smoker/vapers as an example. Smokers (this applies to vapers too) are nicotine addicts. When they go a prolonged period of time without taking a hit, they suffer from withdrawals. These withdrawals are followed by symptoms such as: cravings, restlessness, concentration issues, trouble sleeping, an increase in appetite and weight gain (Better Health Channel). These symptoms make many smokers end up taking another hit just so they can go away. See what I mean now? Their entire life is being dictated by these withdrawals, they’re slaves to their addiction.

You cannot let your life end up like this, you can’t let yourself become a slave to whatever addiction you may be suffering from. If you feel like your life is headed that way, then you first need to calm down and take a deep breath. You can still turn this around, that’s why you’re here right? Just be aware that overcoming addiction isn’t an easy process. You’ll struggle a lot but NEVER BACK DOWN. You cannot afford to give up. If you do, then you’ll just be accepting life as a slave. Is that seriously the life you want to live?

Understanding Addiction

As I commonly state on here, the first step in overcoming something is understanding it. This isn’t just being aware of what addiction is though, you need to deeply understand it. This involves knowing about how someone gets addicted, how an addiction operates and what different types of addiction exist. You need to know all of this to properly understand addiction and we will be going over all of it in this section. However, there’s one thing you need to do first…

Acknowledge The Problem

Have you ever seen a smoker or vaper say something along the lines of: “I’m not addicted, I can quit whenever I want.”? I know I personally have, almost every smoker I’ve spoken to has repeated those exact words. It’s like they think that they’re special, that they’re somehow immune to getting addicted. The thing about addiction is that when you can stop you don’t want to, and when you want to stop you can’t. See where I’m going with this? The reality is that these people are not special and they’re already addicted, they may still in the honeymoon phase of their addiction (more on that later).

Let’s move a little later down the line though. Now all these people who could supposedly “quit whenever,” are suffering from a crippling addiction. They feel like they can’t stop, even if they want to deep down. By the time they actually realized that there was a problem, it was already too late. All this happened because they refused to admit they were addicted.

The very first thing that you have to do in your quest to beat addiction is own up to it. You HAVE to admit to yourself that you’re addicted. Admit it to yourself, it’s the only way to move forward. Don’t try and be indirect with it either and say stuff like “I may have a minor addiction,” or “I may have a slight problem here.” Just be straight up. I’m not gonna tell you what to say because you already know the answer deep down. Just know that if you don’t own up to it, you’ll never get over it.

The Addiction Process – The Slippery Slope

Now that you have faced yourself, it’s time to learn a bit more about addiction. A great way to start doing that would be to learn the process of how exactly someone gets addicted. By learning this, you’ll hopefully be able to reflect on your own addiction and identify what stage you’re in and where everything went wrong.

Phase 1 – The Experimentation Phase

This is the stage where one is first exposed to the substance or behavior that you’re addicted to. They may have tried it purely out of curiosity, peer pressure, or maybe just the desire to seek new experiences. Regardless of why the addict was first exposed to their addiction, there is one feeling that defines every addicts first interaction: pleasure. This is the feeling that defines the start of every single addiction, it’s a high unlike any other. The effects soon wear off though and the soon-to-be addict starts to want to replicate the pleasure, so they indulge in the behavior/substance again and feel the pleasure for a second time.

Not every experimentation phase goes like this though, there’s an alternative set of events. In this alternate reality or whatever you want to call it, the addict knows that indulging in this behavior is bad and they actively try to avoid it. However, they decide to indulge in it once in a moment of weakness and they get the same sense of pleasure that I previously described. The addict then backpedals though, telling themselves that they will never do it again as it’s not worth it. A bit of time then passes and the next moment of weakness arrives, leading to the addict indulging in the behavior again.

Throughout this phase, usage/indulgance levels will slowly become more and more regular. Levels will leisurely go from once every 2 weeks, to once a week, to a few times a week, leading to our next phase…

Phase 2 – The Honeymoon Phase

This phase is divided into multiple stages of its own (confusing. I know), so let’s take a look at them:

  • Stage 1: This stage starts right where the experimentation phase left off. Usage is slowly getting more and more regular, now being at at least once per day. The pleasure levels are still there and life feels amazing for this person, the constant release dopamine (keep dopamine in mind, it’ll be important later) in their brain allows this person to live on cruise control, experiencing the highest of highs. Because of this pleasure, the addict further increases their usage.
  • Stage 2: Up until now, the addict has been increasing usage levels purely out of a desire to feel more pleasure. This is about to change. Things are about to take a serious turn for the worse. The addict’s brain is getting used to this high exposure and the pleasure levels are starting to dip, the effects are wearing off faster. The addict (either consciously or subconsciously) notices this and decides to up their exposure even more, now at multiple times per day.
  • Stage 3: The pleasure levels are now back up to what they were before and things are proceeding similar to how they were back in stage 1. This lasts for as little while, until pleasure levels start to dip again and exposure is then increased by the addict again. From there, things keep spiraling downward…

Phase 3 – The Dependence Phase

This phase is where the addict starts to become physically and psychologically dependent on the substance or behavior that they’re addicted to. it’s also where their personal life starts to deteriorate. Friends and family have started to notice an addiction forming and have reached out to help, however the addict lashes out at them and accuses them of trying to rob their happiness, leaving to many people abandoning them thanks to their new attitude.

The addict’s mental health also starts to decline as well. This goes double if they’re addicted to alcohol or substances, since those substances can mess with your brain chemistry and cause depression (Crest View Recovery Center). Due to the decline in mental health, they become more socially withdrawn (Free By The Sea) and that only makes the even more sad.

Withdrawals also make their grand entrance here, with the the addict starting to feel discomfort and cravings after nor engaging in their addiction for a little while. This discomfort is something that the addict absolutely hates, so they increase their exposure even more.

To address this sadness, the addict turns to their addiction and indulges in it even more. The belief that this substance or behavior is the only thing that makes them happy is then adopted. An extra belief related to this may or may not also be adopted there – the belief that anyone trying to get them to give it up is trying to take their happiness away.

All of this combined creates an unhealthy scenario of dependence, where the addict feels like they need the substance or behavior to feel happy. There’s something important you must take into consideration though. Keep in mind that this exact process doesn’t happen to every addict. They all experience a process similar to this, but they don’t experience every single step word for word.

Phase 4 – The Denial Phase

People will start to confront the addict more and more about their addictive behavior. These people will also call out the fact that the they have been socially distancing themselves. The addict will not like this and will deny all of these claims. They’ll go on a rant about how all these “accusers” are “exaggerating” the situation. The addict will then drop the infamous “I’m not addicted, I can quit whenever I want.” My guess as too why every single addict says this is because in their mind, their addiction makes them happy. So they think that they can just quit when they no longer need it to feel happy.

While all this is going on, the issues from the previous phase are getting worse and worse thanks to the continued denial. The addict is becoming more and more dependent on their addiction, they’re becoming more and more distant. A new behavior is also added to the mix, the addict starts to become extremely impulsive and erratic. That leads to our final phase…

Phase 5 – Compulsion

By this point, addiction has the addict’s life in a choke-hold. They no longer indulge in their addiction for pleasure, it’s more like a compulsion that they feel powerless to stop. Usage levels are at an all time high during this stage, with the addict partaking in their addiction purely out of impulsive reactions. The impulsive reactions come from the addict subconsciously feeling that they need to indulge in their addiction. It’s no longer about them wanting to do it, it’s about them feeling powerless and not being able to stop doing it.

Withdrawals are also getting worse with the increased consumption levels. Symptoms are no longer mild, they have gotten significantly worse. Cravings are now more intense, discomfort levels are even higher and are now leading to erratic behavior, symptoms like dizziness sand tiredness are now getting involved and some addicts even have full-blown panic attacks. Intense withdrawals like this only make it that much harder for the addict to quit. When they kick in, the addict quickly indulges once more in their addiction out of compulsion.

The cycle then continues, only getting worse with time. To give you an idea of how it gets, vape addicts who buy a new on every day in the UK (one of the worst countries for vaping) spend around £2700 per year on vapes. Even if they buy one every other day or every few days that’s still well over £1000 every single year. Over £1000 just to feel a little pleasure is crazy to me. Don’t let your life end like this.

Types of Addiction

Now that we have gone over the process of how one’s life can be totally wrecked by addiction, let’s have a look at the different types of addiction. There are 3 main categories that we’re going to look over: Substance addiction, Behavioral addiction and psychological addiction. Each category has many different addictions associated with it, so let’s take a deeper dive into them.

Substance addiction

Substance addiction involves a compulsive use of substances despite the drawbacks of using those substances. This type of addiction is arguably the most dangerous type thanks to the dependence it generates. Addicts are unable to let go of substances because they believe that they need them to feel good. Let’s take a look at some of those substance addictiosn:

  • Alcoholism: Alcohol addiction is an extremely common addiction. I’m willing to bet that it’s at least top 3 most common addictions, maybe even top 2. So many people drink, with many drinkers at least having a minor alcohol addiction. I want to focus on the more severe addictions to alcohol though. Sever addicts are heavily dependent on alcohol. Whenever they feel sad or something doesn’t go their way, they turn to drinking as a coping mechanism. This cause many physical and psychological issues that’ll harm addicts in the long run.
  • Drugs/Nicotine addiction: I decided to lump smoking, vaping and more serious drugs all into the same section due to how similar these addictions are. They all involve addicts getting hooked on these substances and using them either as an escape or to feel pleasure (probably a bit of both). Addicts then become fixated on the belief that they need the substance to be happy. This ends up ruining their life since they end up getting severe health and mental issues thanks to the amount of substances they have taken.

With substances, there’s only two types of addictions. That obviously doesn’t make them any less dangerous though, they’re still highly dangerous. you can get addicted to them so easily it’s almost shocking. And by the time you even realize that you’re addicted it’s already too late, it’s quite a dangerous cycle to get caught in.

Behavioral addiction

Behavioral addiction is the addiction to compulsive behaviors that provide instant gratification. However, these behaviors also come with negative consequences. As you would guess, these behaviors don’t relate to the use of any substances that’ll physically harm you. The damage caused is mainly psychological. Don’t think that this means your physical health is safe if you have one of these addictions. the psychological damage they cause can indirectly lead to unhealthier lifestyles to be adopted. Just like any other addiction, a behavioral addiction can ruin your life. Let’s have a look at some of these addictions:

  • Gambling Addiction: Gambling addiction can lead to utter ruin in your life. Addicts crave the thrill of gambling, so much so that they become erratic and unstable when things don’t go their way. They always tell themselves that this is their last time and they’ll never do it again, but that never is the case . Gambling addiction is also tied to other addicts, with about 60% of addicts and 26% being alcoholics (QuitGamble). This addiction can often get so bad that many gamblers will sit for hours in a dark room gambling their savings away, binge drinking whenever things go wrong.
  • Internet/Technology Addiction: By far the most common addiction there is these days. This addiction is infamous for absolutely frying people’s attention spans and turning people dopamine craving husks who give into their impulsive desires way too easily. I refer to people like this as “Internet Zombies”. You can spot one from a mile away since they’ll be on their phone pretty much any chance they get. When they’re not on their phone though, you can spot one by the way they talk and act. Many internet zombies will randomly blurt out TikTok audios out of nowhere. They’ll do it every few seconds and it will get on your nerves let me tell you. Some even do it mid sentence, it just shows how much of a zombie internet addiction makes you.
  • Food Addiction: Food addiction functions very similar to substance addictions. I say this because it’s mainly used as a coping mechanism. Food addicts binge eat to cope whenever something goes wrong in their life. Whenever they feel sad, they eat and eat without thinking otherwise. It’s kind of sad really. This binge eating leads to obesity and many other problems.

There are many other behavioral addictions but it would take ages to list them and I would just be repeating the same points over and over So now let’s move onto the final type of addiction.

Psychological Addiction

Psychological addictions are like behavioral addictions that aren’t quite behavioral addictions. They are addictions to psychological experiences, addictions to certain feelings. You’ll know what I mean when you see the examples:

  • Pornography Addiction: This addiction is annoyingly common, it’s actually kinda frustrating. If you watch porn every day, you’re an addict. It’ll ruin your entire perception of relationships and will only lead you to becoming even more lonelier. Kind of ironic isn’t it? Something used as cope for loneliness only adds to the problem. An addiction to porn will also lead to erectile dysfunction. If you don’t know what that is, the let’s just say that you’ll have trouble getting it up. If you struggle with this addiction, you need to get help bad.
  • Love/Relationship Addiction: We all want a good and healthy relationship don’t we? We all think that everything will be so perfect if we manage to find one. It’s too bad that some people end up losing sight of what a healthy relationship is. Many people end up getting addicted to their partner and the way they make them feel. An addiction like this can result in an unhealthy obsession, which can lead to even more problems. Love addicts feel the constant need to be validated by their partner, they feed off of their. The love addict’s entire life revolves around their lover and it can often harm their relationship.
  • Gaming Addiction: We all love a bit of gaming. Finding inspiration in gaming and other means of fiction is kind of my whole thing now. But even I can admit that too much gaming is a bad thing for you. Playing too many games can lead to you neglecting real life responsibilities and lagging behind on stuff like homework. We all love playing games, but playing too many games can lead to other areas of your life getting ruined. Gaming addicts often forsake their future for playing more games without ever realizing .

I’m sure you see now how dangerous addiction truly is. It’s shocking how many people are fine living with one forever and not making any amount of effort to ever fix it. However, you’re reading this. That tells me that you are not one of those people. It shows that you’re willing to be strong and do what you mus to overcome your addictive behaviors even if you don’t know how yet. That’s why I’m here though, to show you how to overcome addiction. So let’s start doing that.

Seeking Help and Support

The first step I recommend for anyone who is trying to get over their addictive behaviors is to seek support and help. Braving a challenge such as this alone can often lead to many being crushed by the weight of it. That’s why it’ll be so much easier for you to deal with the hardships of overcoming an addiction with a strong network of supporters behind your back. let’s have a look at the different types of support you can gain.

Professional help

I know professional help can be pretty divisive in the modern world. Lots of people from Gen Z seem to be under the impression that it is pointless. They have this whole idea in their heads that seeking professional help doesn’t work because they once sought it and it didn’t work. This seems like a valid point if you don;t think about it too much, however all these people fail to ask themselves one question: “Why didn’t it work?”. What they think instead is: “Professional help didn’t work, therefore professional help is bad.”

This logic is flawed, very flawed. It’s not just the logic though, their whole perception of professional help is straight up wrong. They think that it’s some miracle cure for their problem and all they have to do to get it fixed is show up. Anyone with a brain knows that this isn’t the case. For professional help to work, you have to make it work. You have to use the knowledge that your therapist or whoever provides you with to make a difference. You have to put in the effort and be willing to leave your comfort zone. That’s the only way professional help will work.

Now that we have cleared that up, let’s have a look at some options for professional health.


That little ramble I had back in the intro was primarily aimed toward therapy, since it seems like so m,any people from Gen Z are going to therapy and then saying that it’s a scam and that it doesn’t work when they never tried to make it work. There’s no truth behind that claim. Sure there may be a few bad apples among therapists but the only truth I see is that these people are lazy. Many of them also use the whole “But it’s too hard!” excuse.

If you’re unlike these people and you’re actually willing to work incredibly hard to get over your problem, then therapy is a great place to start. The biggest benefit that therapy provides is a strong sense of direction. Many people who are suffering from issues such as addiction really want to get over the problem but they have no idea how. This won’t happen with therapy since you’ll be guided be a professional. It still won’t be easy though, don’t underestimate how much effort you’ll have to put in, but at least you won’t feel lost.

There are 2 main types of therapy, which I will address now:

  • One-On-One Therapy: This is your standard, run of the mill, bread and butter therapy. It’s pretty much what you would expect. Sessions are usually weekly and all you really have to do during the sessions is talk and be cooperative. You’ll mainly talk about your problem (in this case addiction) and the therapist will do their best to understand and sympathize with your situation. Early sessions will mainly focus on the psychology behind your problem, while later sessions will focus more on solutions. At the end of every session, the therapist will usually set you a task to complete before the next session. The task will always be related to overcoming your problem.
  • Group Therapy: This one is really hit or miss. Some people will really enjoy it and others won’t. During group therapy, one therapist will lead and talk to a larger group of people who all have similar issues. The group size usually ranges from around 5-15. The therapist here will sometimes take a more hands off role and let participants all discuss their issues. However, there will of course be times where the therapist takes charge. Like in standard therapy, tasks are also set to help participants overcome their problem. The main appeal behind group therapy is that you’ll be able to relate to the other participants due to having similar problems. Sometimes just having someone who understands makes the problem a whole lot easier.

There’s only 2 types of therapy, but both types are such a great option if you do one specific thing. And that is to go in with an open mind. If you don’t do that then therapy will never work. You also have to be ready to confront some uneasy truths. When that does happen, accept those truths no matter how much it hurts and keep moving forward.

Building a Strong Support System

Facing difficult problems alone is a scary prospect. Sometimes it can prove to be too much and we can find ourselves crushed by the weight of everything going on. In those moments, we need those we trust to lift the rubble and lend a hand. Our problems seem way less scary when we’re backed by those we trust and care for. Human connections make life so much more enjoyable and easier. Without them, everything is so much worse and you won’t have the support and acceptance that we all want. How let’s see who and what you should surround your with in order to build a strong support system.


No better place to start than the people you come from. Your family are most likely already a core part of your support system. They naturally play a huge role in your life which makes it easier to approach them with your problems. If you feel like you need to talk to someone about your addiction, a family member is the perfect person to tell. They’ll be more sympathetic toward you which can really help if all you want to do is get everything all off your chest. They are there for you and they will listen to your problems.

You should also branch out and gain the support of your extended family members, they’re there for you just like your main family is. However, I understand that it could be a little harder to open up to them since you don’t know them as well as people like your parents. Regardless, they will still be there for you unless your family has some serious beef or something. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak to them though, they probably care for you more than you realize.

Your family should be the very foundation of your support system, a foundation that will get you through many tough times. Don’t be afraid to open up.


Have you ever heard the quote: “You are the sum of your 5 best friends“? I’m pretty sure you have, since it’s used a lot. It’s used for good reason though, I believe it to be absolutely true. If you spend most of your time around people who all have degenerate tendencies, then it’s likely that those tendencies will begin to rub off on you. However, the opposite is also true. If you spend most of your time with ambitious people who are constantly trying to improve, then their much healthier lifestyle will also rub off on you. That’s what I want to focus on in this section, qualities you should look for in friends:

  • Ambition: One problem that plagues many people in their late teens and early twenties is a lack of ambition. The future is scary, so many people try to put off thinking about it for as long as possible. Instead, they indulge in time wasting activities (which may involve addiction). Ambitious people don’t do this. They have dreams, and they want to achieve them. They are focused people who are always seeking self improvement. They’re also great at inspiring people too. When you’re feeling lost an unsure, their words can easily put you on the right track.
  • Kindness: This one should be a no-brainer but let’s think about this a little deeper. I want you to think about what a lot of friend groups these days mainly talk about. For many friend groups, that answer involves trash talking other people. I hear this sort of stuff everywhere, even on public transport by accident. It’s pretty common to see others make fun of people behind their back for the smallest things and then play nice with them in person. I should know because I used to do this, not proud of that. I mainly did it because I felt a need to, probably to inflate my own ego. But i stopped, and I distanced myself from others who did similar stuff. You should do the same, and seek friends who are genuinely kind to others and are not just wearing a smile.
  • Self-Control: We live in a world where a large majority of people act purely based on their impulsive desires. It’s for this reason that addiction is such a problem in the first place. Many people just cannot control themselves and only act based on what they want at this very moment. When seeking friends, you should look for people who have strong self-control. People who don’t feel like doing work but still do it because they know that it’s the right thing to do. Those kinds of people will naturally help you to control yourself too, which can be a great help for overcoming addiction.
  • Resilience: I see many people make a key error when they try something new or try to overcome something. They’ll dive straight in with so much enthusiasm, things won’t work and they’ll give up. This will be the exact same for resilient people, except for the last part. They won’t give up, they’ll keep going. The resilient recognize that they aren’t likely to succeed immediately and that they’ll probably fail many times. However they also know that growth will come with this failure, so they’ll keep going. They’re also less likely to give up on others, which makes resilient people extremely supportive. Perfect for helping you get through difficult times.

Friends with these sorts of qualities will get you far in life. Their support will help you get through even the toughest of times. watching them do and say amazing things will also inspire you to keep up with them and do amazing things yourself. Just one word of advice though: don’t go seeking remarkable people when you’re not remarkable yourself. If you expect all these qualities out of other people, you should first spend considerable time building up those qualities within yourself. That’s how I operate, make sure you operate that way too.


Your support system isn’t solely limited to people you know? There are many different resources that you can use to support yourself and grow stronger. These resources will increase your mental strength and sharpen your mind significantly, making you less likely to give into your addiction once more. The best thing about them is that there are so many and they come in all shapes and sizes (can’t believe I just said that). Not only do you have many physical resources, you also have the entire internet at your disposal. So let’s check out what kind of resources you can use:

  • The Internet: Let’s start with a resource I literally just mentioned. Fun fact: it’s also a resource you’re using right now, this guide is a resource after all. The internet is full of endless resources that you can use to overcome your addiction. They’re not just limited to websites either, YouTube videos and similar content are also great choices to look at. There’s so many options. The more you consume, the better prepared you’ll be to face your addiction.
  • Self-Help Books: One of my personal favorite pastimes is to read a good old self-help book. I know I know, you probably think that reading is boring or whatever but you should at least give it a chance. Reading self-help books was honestly one of the best choices of my life. I’m not kidding when I say that there is so much valuable information you can learn from them. That goes double if you’re interested in psychology, I have learnt so many cool psychological tricks from these books. And of course they’ll be a great help in your battle against addiction, so seriously try reading them. If you don’t know where to start then you should probably do some research. Hell, I might make a post about them soon (note to self: paste the link here when that’s done). For now though, you should focus on research books to help you overcome addiction. Good luck.

Creating a Recovery Plan

Overcoming addiction is no fluke. You can’t just YOLO it and expect everything to work out. If you do decide to YOLO it, then the most likely order of events is as follows:

You vow to yourself that you’ll never indulge in your addiction again; things go well for a couple weeks, you’re enduring withdrawals and you start to feel like you’re really doing it; then all of a sudden you find yourself caught up in a moment of weakness and some major cravings for your addiction soon follow; you indulge once more in your addiction to satisfy the impulsive cravings you’re feeling; you then vow to yourself that it was just a one off and that it will never happen again and… oh wait we’re back at step 1 again aren’t we?

This is the cycle that many addicts get caught in, it’s the result of no planning. Your recovery has to be planned or it will not go well at all. Recovery shouldn’t just be planned though, it should be planned well. That’s why we’ll be going over some tips to help you create a recovery plan, let’s get into it:

Set Clear Goals

Goal setting is extremely important. Although for some reason, many people seem to overlook it and undervalue how important it actually is. You should not be one of those people, you don’t wanna end up failing because of poorly set goals. I’ve talked at lengths about this in previous guides (like my flow state guide) and now I’m gonna do the same thing.

Define Your Objectives

I like to work backwards when setting goals, which is why the first step I take in goal setting is clearly and concisely define my end goals/objectives. I know you may think that your end goal is obvious so there’s no point wasting time pointing it. Trust me when I say that there is a point to doing this.

Too many people end up giving into their addictions because they lose sight of their goals. The empty void that your goals left behind is quickly filled by your impulsive desires, which will then make you more likely to relapse and keep indulging in your addiction. That’s why it’s so important to have your objectives set in stone and that you keep on reminding yourself of what they are. Otherwise, all your hard work will be for nothing.

So how should you define your objectives? You should do it exactly as I described earlier – with clarity and concisely. You don’t need to make your end objective overly complicated, the complicated stuff is for the next step. Making it too complicated will also take away from the clarity, so keep it simple. Here’s an example: If you’re a vape addict, then your end goal should be to completely quit vaping. From there, you should keep reminding yourself that your objective is to quit and you have to stay strong to accomplish that goal.

Break Your Objectives Down

You’re not gonna overcome your addiction by just defining your end goals. If you try and rely solely on that, then you’ll just keep asking yourself how exactly you’re meant to achieve those goals. This means that another step is required in the goal setting process, a step that will build the foundations of your recovery.

You know how earlier I mentioned that I like to work backwards while goal setting? The same principle applies when it comes to breaking your objectives down. A common problem that many people face when trying to overcome their issues is that they don’t know where to start or what their first step should be. This is why I dislike working forwards, it’s too easy to get lost. Working backwards eliminates this problem, so let me show you how it’s done.

When working backwards, you first need to take your end goals and ask yourself one simple question “How do I achieve this? What do I need to achieve this?” Okay I lied that was actually two questions, but that’s not the important thing here. What’s actually important are the answers you come up with when thinking about that question. If your end goal is to quit vaping, then your answers should be something like not using a vape and enduring the withdrawals.

This is where the fun begins. After you come up with your answer, you should then ask yourself how you’re going to go about doing that. To come up with your next answer, you’ll have to do some brainstorming. Come up with as many answers as you can, even use a piece of paper to document them all down if you want. For every answer you come up with, ask yourself how you would go about achieving that answer. Keep doing that until you have create a satisfactory process from that goes from first step to end goal.

Once you have the basis for your plan ready, it’s time to start setting some milestones. Let’s go back to the vape example quickly. For a vape addiction, you probably won’t need to plan super heavily like you would for getting over something like love addiction; which means that most of your plan will revolve around setting milestones and not vaping for a certain period of time. If you’re a heavy addict, the I recommend that you set your first milestone at 2 days (you were probably expecting 1 day weren’t you?). Don’t go straight back to your addiction after the period is over either, keep going and set a new milestone. Challenge yourself.

If you’re not a fan of milestones (seriously why wouldn’t you be), then I have an alternative for you. I like to call this alternative a reverse milestone. Let’s go back to the vaping example so i can explain the difference. Instead of prohibiting vaping for a period of time like a regular milestone, you set a limit for the amount of times you can vape in one day.

If you manage to stay under the limit, then you decrease it by whatever you want. So you’ll go from 5 puffs a day to 3, then down to 1, then to 1 and then to none. If you fail, then you keep the limit at where it was the previous day. No increasing it or anything if you fail, doing that has the potential to keep you trapped in a loop of constantly having the limit go up. Another thing you can do is let yourself hit the milestones a certain number of times before decreasing it. There’s a lot you can do with reverse milestones, pretty cool technique, huh?

Coping Strategies

Next up on the planning bucket are coping strategies. When trying to overcome addiction, you will inevitably get hit with a lot of cravings and, depending on your addiction, withdrawals. Countless people who have tried to overcome addiction have failed because of how severe these symptoms can get. All of these people who did fail essentially left themselves defenseless against the relentless nature of cravings and withdrawals. To combat the devastating blade of these symptoms, you will need a shield to block their attacks (I’m pretty proud of that analogy). Coping strategies will be this shield, so let’s take a look at some:

  • Relaxation Techniques: This is pretty much the bread and butter of coping strategies. That doesn’t make it a bad strategy though, it’s quite the opposite. Deep and heavy breathing can help calm your nerves and ease your cravings. Remember that it may take a little for the breathing to actually take effect, so this exercise is mainly a test of endurance. It’s a test of staying strong in the face of relentless cravings and continuing to breathe slowly despite everything telling you not to.
  • Mindfulness: Wouldn’t be an SMM guide if I didn’t mention mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of living in the present and not being plagued by past regrets or future worries. There are many ways that you can achieve mindfulness such as mindful walking, mindful eating and body scan. That’s pretty much the basics of mindfulness. Now, instead of me saying the some points over and over again, I shall direct you to my Flow State guide or my 7 Healthy Habits post (man that’s my first post ever, takes me back, you’re gonna see the OG of the OG).
  • Relaxing Music: I have a real soft spot for relaxing music. There’s just something about it that helps me think with more clarity, so I often use it when I feel like I’m headed down a bad train of thoughts. That being said, I reckon that it will have the same effect on you when you get hit with cravings. Relaxing music will help ease those cravings and bring your mind back to a peaceful state. If you don’t know what kind of relaxing music to listen to, then here are a few of my personal picks: My eyes Instrumental, Empire City Night – Sonic Unleashed, Relaxing Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Music Compilation.
  • Healthy Distractions: Relaxing music can technically qualify under this category but I gave it its own section because of how effective it is. Anyways, healthy distractions are great for neutralizing cravings. They take your mind off of your addiction and instead redirect that attention elsewhere. Activities like drawing, writing, and reading all qualify as healthy distractions too. Physical activity is also an option. Weightlifting, for example, is a great way to focus your mind. It’s also considered a very therapeutic experience for many, and for others the gym is their happy place. It’s not just weightlifting though, sports will also qualify. There’s so many options for a healthy distraction, so choose wisely.

To Sum It Up

That’s it for the planning section. You should now have a much better idea of how exactly you want to go about overcoming your addiction. Your plan should include many gradual steps, each step with an accompanying milestone or reverse milestone. You should also have some coping strategies picked out to help counter cravings and withdrawals. All that’s left for you to do now is put the plan into motion and act, which is exactly what the next section is all about.

Breaking The Cycle

All the pieces are in place. You understand addiction, you have built a support system and you have created your recovery plan. All that’s left now is take take action and break the addictive cycle. But before we go over how to do that, we should first establish once more how the cycle works so we take take it apart piece by piece.

Understanding the Cycle

The addictive cycle is a cycle that many find themselves caught in without even realizing. And when they finally realize that they’re caught in it, it’s too late. They’re now trapped in the cycle and they feel that they can never escape it. This cycle consists of 4 main stages, so let’s briefly go over them:

  • Cravings: The cycle always starts with cravings, a topic we have already discussed heavily. The cravings will start off pretty tame, but they’ll quickly escalate in intensity. This will then lead to feelings of unease within the addict and then, the cravings will start to alter the behavior of the addict. They’ll begin to act impulsively and more erratic. Their emotions will start to take charger over logic, making them more susceptible to making decisions that they’ll soon regret. Speaking of bad decisions…
  • Usage: The overwhelming intensity of the carvings will overpower the addict’s resolve to overcome the addiction and they will give into it once more. This is known as a relapse. Not much else needs to be said, let’s move on.
  • Temporary Relief: The relapse will provide the addict with a sense of relief and pleasure. They’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders Depending on how serious the addiction is, the addict might even try and go for some world record mental gymnastics and tell themselves that they just did a good thing. However, they probably know deep down that it wasn’t a good thing to do. This relief doesn’t last for long. The weight lifted off of the addict’s shoulders is soon replaced by an even heavier one…
  • Regret: After the pleasure passes, the addict is left with nothing but a sea of regret swelling up inside them. They get hit with the sudden realization that they gave into their addiction again and that they shouldn’t have done that. They start to feel weak because they were powerless to endure the cravings, they them feel ashamed that they gave in. Many more similar thoughts will then start to enter their head, each of them nailing in the fact that they messed up. The addict then vows to never do it again and stays clean for a little bit of time. The cravings then hit once more and the cycle starts anew.

So there it is, that’s the cycle that has ruined countless people’s lives. For every addict, this cycle is inescapable. They feel like they can’t break out of this cycle, they feel hopeless. However, I believe that there is one way out of it…

Dopamine Detox

People often say that cravings are the urge that an addict feels for their addiction. This isn’t true. What they actually are is the the urge for how the addiction makes the addict feel. Remember this: people are never addicted to material objects, they’re addicted to how those objects make them feel. Vape addicts are addicted to how vaping makes them feel, social media addicts are addicted to how social media makes them feel and love addicts are addicted to the way their partner makes them feel. Most addictive substances or behaviors make the addict feel pleasure. And why is this the case? Dopamine, that’s why.

Dopamine is known as the feel good hormone. This is because it is released every time you’re doing something pleasurable. Something that has the capacity for addiction is usually associated with a huge dopamine release inside your brain. Let’s take social media addiction for example. Watching social media causes a huge spike from within the brain. This causes us to keep watching so we can keep feel that pleasure. As we keep on watching it, our brain gets used to the higher levels of dopamine. This makes us start getting bored while watching videos that aren’t stimulating enough for our brain, cutting our attention span.

This is an ultra simplified version of the process, but it still shows how dangerous social media addiction is. It’s not just social media though, many other addictions also have a similar effect, for example: gaming addiction, nicotine addiction and gambling addiction. So basically, any addiction that involves a stimulating activity has the potential to reduce your attention span. This reduced attention span then makes it harder to break the cycle.

This means that in order to break the cycle, you’ll need to increase your attention span. And the way to do that is through a technique known as dopamine detox. Some of you might already know what it is, but here’s my definition in case you don’t: dopamine detox is a self imposed period of time where you completely avoid all dopamine triggers such as social media and vaping (you should be avoiding vaping all the time). practicing it helps increase your attention span and disconnect from the digital world for a while. Let’s have a look at how you can master it.

If you’re just starting out with dopamine detox, then I recommend that you start with a 2 or 3 hour period. This should be a period of free time, it doesn’t really count if you’re occupied with something else while doing it. You shouldn’t even think about indulging in your addiction or any other dopamine triggers during this period. That even means no music. For that period of time, you should replace those highly stimulating activities with more “mundane” activities like reading meditation or going out on a walk.

When you complete the detox period, you should then prepare for your next one by increasing the length of the period. You should try and make your increases more gradual so you should only increase it by an hour or so. However, after you complete 8 hours, you should try and see if you can go an entire day without using any dopamine triggers. If you’re able to complete this, then why not go for 2 as well? Maybe even 3? Maybe an entire week? Or if you’re really crazy, then why not an entire month? Yes, there are people out there who actually do that.

When you first start out on detox, you’ll likely feel very uncomfortable. You’ll feel uneasy, on edge and you’ll feel like giving in to your addiction just to release all the tension. But if you keep enduring the pain, then you’ll eventually start to feel a lot more clam and relaxed. You’ll notice how everything feels so much more peaceful than it once did and you’ll start to appreciate the little things a lot more. You’ll notice that you won’t give into cravings as much and that your overall stress levels will be reduced a lot.

To Sum It Up

There it is, that’s the solution I’m offering. I know that it may seem like “too much effort” or “too difficult” but there’s one thing that you need to remember. Getting over addiction isn’t something that you can just do overnight. It will require a lot of effort and it won’t be easy. If you say that something like this is “too hard” or “too much effort” then you’ll never overcome your addiction. It doesn’t end just there though, trying to face any challenge with that sort of attitude will result in failure. If you give up on things because you’re too lazy to do them then you’ll never get anywhere in life.

Dealing With Relapses

During the previous section, I defined what a relapse is. To quickly refresh your memory, it’s when an addict who is trying to overcome their addiction succumbs to their cravings and indulges in their addiction once more. The addict then feels a brief sense of pleasure before realizing that they screwed up. All that is left after that is a huge amount of shame and feelings of emptiness within the addict. A good example of this would be the infamous ‘post-nut clarity’.

So yeah, relapses suck. Like they really suck. The mean reason they suck (okay I gotta stop saying that now) is because they are entirely your fault. You were the one who picked up the vape, you were the one who chose to play more slots and you were the one who decided to scroll on social media. No one else made you do it except your own impulsive desires.

Relapses are also a huge set-back, having one is like getting a game over in hardcore Minecraft (What? I came up with that on the spot no need to look at me funny). You’re back to square one, all your progress is gone and you have to start all over again. You will be able to use that relapse as a lesson though, so it’s kinda like starting over but with a few extra XP levels. Even that doesn’t change how horrible it feels to go through one, almost nothing can. The sense of guilt will be extremely hard to get rid of, but there are a few ways that can help you ease it.


One of the techniques you can use to help ease the guilt of a relapse is self-compassion. In this day and age, too many people seem to be suffering with self-esteem issues (check out my self-esteem guide if you’re one of those people). This spike in self esteem issues means that treating yourself with kindness and care is more important than ever before and that’s exactly what self-compassion is all about. The burden of guilt that you carry will be lightened and you’ll be able to make a faster recovery from it. That means less time spent moping around and more time spent overcoming your addiction.

Self-compassion is great for dealing with addiction and relapses, but its uses don’t end there. being kind to yourself and taking better care of yourself can go a long way in helping you to become a better person, so let’s take a look at some things you must do if you want to get better at self-compassion:

  • Correct Negative Thoughts: After suffering from a relapse, you’ll likely talk down to yourself a lot. Your mind will be flooded with thoughts like “I’m worthless,” or “I’ll never overcome my addiction”. When these negative thoughts enter your mind, it’s your job to turn them into positive thoughts. You have to tell yourself that despite slipping up here, you’re not worthless and you will overcome your addiction no matter what anyone says. You have to realize that you’re not the horrible person that you think you are. You can get through this and you can do amazing things, anyone can. You just have to believe you can.
  • Fixing Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices: Being kinder to yourself means taking better care of yourself. You can’t exactly practice self-compassion while living an unhealthy lifestyle, can you? This means fixing things like your diet and sleep schedule. Let’s focus on the sleep schedule here, since many people struggle with that. People who struggle with their sleep schedule seem to always go to bed really late no matter how hard they try. They think it’s impossible for them to go to bed early, which is why they end up going to bed so late. Despite this, it’s still their choice that they end up going to bed so late. It’s a choice that you can fix.
  • The 9 Things Technique: No, this is not a cursed technique despite it kind of sounding like one. This is a technique that will help you boost your self-esteem, perfect for dealing with relapses and practicing self compassion. At the end of every single day from now on, I want you to reminisce on the events of that day. I want you to point out 3 good things you did that day, 3 bad things you did that day and 3 ways you can fix those bad things in the future. This will help you appreciate your actions a lot more and help you improve in the areas where you fall short. And don’t be one of those people that are like “Oh but I can’t think of 3 good things I did”. Trust me, you’re not original saying that. If you can’t come up with 3 good things then maybe you should rethink your lifestyle.
  • Giving Yourself Credit: This last one is pretty simple. Whenever you do something good or achieve something, make sure you give yourself the credit you deserve. Even a simple “Let’s keep up the good work!” or “Hey good job, me!” (that one is my go-to) can go a long way in terms of self compassion.

Self-compassion is a great thing to practice. For me, it separates a good life from a great life. You can’t really life live to the fullest if you don’t take proper care of yourself. Despite what i just said, many people tend to overlook what I just said. The same people then go on and on about how they want to find love and be cared for when they can’t love and care for themselves. Kinda ironic, huh? Remember to love yourself before you love others, that includes overcoming your addiction of course.

Relapse Analysis

The next thing I recommend doing is a bit of relapse analysis. You should do this to determine exactly why you had the relapse, which is very important since there is always an underlying reason for a relapse. If you simply assume that it was just your cravings again and tell yourself “next time I’ll beat them,” then you would right, half right that is. While it is true that it was your cravings that caused you to give in and relapse, that isn’t what you need to determine. Instead, you need to find out why you got the cravings in the first place. Let’s take a look at how you can do that.

Identifying Warning Signs

Sometimes, your cravings may decide to catch you off guard and strike when you least expect it. However, there will always be signs that cravings are coming, so it’s important that you spot them. To help you look for them, here are some common warning signs to be wary of:

  • Isolation: If you begin to isolate yourself from your friends and family, then this could be a red flag. Addicts who are starting to consider a relapse often subconsciously distance themselves from others in an attempt to hide their actions due to shame. Isolating yourself also decreases your overall well-being, making it more likely for a relapse to happen. If you spot yourself becoming socially distanced, make sure to change that.
  • Decreased Self-Compassion: If you notice that you’re not taking the best care of yourself, then this could be a sign of a relapse on the horizon. Self-Compassion is directly tied to your inner well-being, so if you stop doing it then your well-being will start to deteriorate. A worse inner well-being means that you will be more likely to have a relapse. Sop if you notice that you’re feeling tired all the time and that you’re eating unhealthy, I suggest that you fix that.
  • Mood Swings: Addiction is often associated with erratic and unstable behavior, especially when the addict spends a large amount of time away from their addiction. This behavior is directly caused by cravings. The cravings change your mood, which changes your behavior to be more impulsive. So if you notice mood changes like increases irritability, anxiety and feelings of sadness, then be on the lookout for cravings.
  • Mental Gymnastics: When an addict is about to relapse, they often try to rationalize and justify their actions to themselves to try and ease the guilt. This never works of course and it only makes the guilt that much worse. Pretty much every single addict has attempted some form of mental gymnastics to try and justify the relapse. The reality, of course, is that the relapse cannot be justified and the addict just wants to feel that rush they get from their addiction again. So if you find yourself doing the most elegant somersaults and back flips to try and justify a relapse, you might wanna end your routine. This ain’t the Olympics you know.


Triggers are a little different from warning signs. They actually cause the cravings to manifest. Most of the time, people aren’t actually aware of these triggers. This is because they are usually subconscious. You can spot them though, you just have to look for patterns and be aware . let’s check out some of these triggers:

  • Environmental Triggers: Being in certain environments can easily cause cravings to appear. The most common of these environments would be any place where you feel uncomfortable. Our primal instincts naturally hate discomfort, so they will try and do anything to get rid of that discomfort. To try and feel comfortable again, your natural instincts will turn to your addiction, which is something that unfortunately comforts you. This then causes your cravings to come out in full force.
  • Social Triggers: Remember that quote I mentioned way earlier about how you’re the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with? I’m about to show you why it’s so important. Let’s say that you’re a vape addict who is having a hard time quitting. You feel really guilty whenever you vape and instead of trying to distance yourself from vapes, you try and justify your endless relapses. The way you do this is through your friend group, who all vape as well. You tell yourself “Oh they do it too, so it should be fine,” and you keep on vaping. Now imagine you were the only one in your friend group who vaped. You would probably feel very guilty about doing it. See what I mean now? Also note that people tend to vape in very uncomfortable and tense social situations to help calm down.
  • Emotional Triggers: Emotional distress also plays a significant role in triggering cravings. Especially in situations where you feel anxious or depressed. These emotions both make you feel uncomfortable, which then triggers cravings for reasons I already explained. In fact, most cravings are tied to discomfort.

In the end, it all goes back to the inability to handle uncomfortable situations, which causes your primal instincts to seek that comfort through your addiction. To be able to better resist these cravings and prevent future relapses, you’ll have to increase your tolerance to discomfort. I have the perfect way you can do that. But first, I want to briefly touch on something else.

The Relationship Between Triggers and Warning Signs

To put it simply, the trigger comes first then the warning signs follow. I bet you’re wondering how this could be since you would naturally expect the warning signs to build up to the trigger. Well nope, it’s actually the other way around. The key to understanding this is to remember that cravings won’t suddenness hit in full force, they will always build up and overwhelm you over time. The trigger will start them off and the warning signs will show that a trigger has been activated. For example, let’s say that your trigger is anxiety. After the trigger happens, you’ll notice warning signs like mood swings start to appear. Make sense now?

The Solution

There’s one really simple but difficult solution that will help you deal with these relapses (it’ll also help you with dopamine detox too!). That solution is to seek discomfort. Don’t sit around waiting for the discomfort of addiction to come and find you. Doing that is submitting yourself as a victim to your addiction. Instead, seek out that discomfort yourself. Have it become your victim.

By actively seeking uncomfortable situations, you’re getting more used to the feeling of discomfort. It will help you deal with uncomfortable feelings like cravings. You’ll also become a significantly stronger person by making yourself go through this. So remember to always make the hard choice, you got this.


You now know everything you need to know to be able to overcome addiction. You understand addiction, you have created a support system, you have created a recovery plan, you are ready to start detoxing and you know how to deal with relapses. All the pieces are in place for you, the only thing left for you to do is commit to recovery. And for that, I have 2 last pieces of wisdom for you.

The first piece of advice I have for you is to not turn away from your mistakes. Getting addicted is something that is entirely your fault. No matter how you try to mince it, that’s the truth. If you try and deny that and downplay your own addiction, then guess what? You won’t ever overcome it. You have to face your actions as well as the consequences that come with those actions. Never try and evade those consequences, it shows that you’re not fit to overcome your addiction. Be strong, face up to your addiction. That’s the only way out.

The second piece of advice I have for you is a quote:

“Your will determines your success.”

This journey you’re about to embark on will not be easy, there will be moments where you will feel like giving in once again. The only thing that will get you through times like that is incredible willpower. You’re going to need a will of steel to overcome your addiction. No will means no way to overcome your addiction, you’ll give up at the first hurdle. So keep on pushing.

That’s all from me though. Now it’s all up to you. Go overcome that addiction and create a brighter future for yourself, before it’s too late.


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