I have been lucky enough to not struggle with addiction, but I have friends and family who have. The following is my understanding:
If you are an addict you will be trapped in a loop of thoughts concerning the getting, using and acquiring more of your desired habit/substance/behavior (hereby referred to as EOC; Escape Of Choice). Its become an obsession, and so it quickly leads to compulsive actions. The addiction is usually a symptom of a deeper rooted issue and has been used as a crutch to deal with said issue. These issues can be anything from trauma to just plain boredom.
The EOC usually seems to be very beneficial for a while, however, after some time you will start to seek it more and more. The more often you repeat it, the deeper and deeper the thoughts, associations, and affection concerning your EOC become. Eventually, the addicts find themselves absolutely NEEDING their EOC, they no longer have a choice in the matter, however, they’re often the last person to realize this because they are stuck in this thought loop. They no longer remember (or at times even learned) how to cope with life without their EOC. So denial and rationalization quickly set in as the idea of living abstinent seems impossible or worse than death.
I have heard addicts eventually get moments of clarity, however, where the denial is gone for a moment and they can clearly see the wreckage or at least the hopelessness and unmanageability of their situation. This is where the chance of escape lies. When you find yourself at this point, take action immediately! Delaying will often lead to falling back into some form of denial; attempting moderation, substituting, etc. Once again you will forget that your brain is not wired to think clearly any longer.
There is a lot of support to be found out there. You are not alone!
12 step meetings are increasingly popular and can be very effective. And there seems to be a fellowship for every EOC out there. SMART Recovery has proved successful for a few of my friends as well. In essence, their programs work the same way as my book. Teaching you how to form new and healthier thoughts, and ways to cope with life. The 12 steps do this through spiritual principles. If you don’t care for spiritualistic teachings SMART will be your best choice.
To find a 12 step meeting google the name of your EOC (Narcotics, Alcoholics, Gambling, Overeaters, Sex etc.) followed by the word”Anonymous”. If there aren’t any nearby you can find online meetings at http://www.intherooms.com
*Rehab can often be very helpful and at times necessary to ride out the initial compulsions that drive one back to your EOS. It provides a safe environment to learn and practice living without the EOC.
*If your EOC has been substances; narcotics or alcohol, you might need to go through a detox. Quitting cold turkey can be fatal under certain circumstances. Please consult a doctor!
If you decide to take the path of recovery, keep in mind that your thoughts are going to be mainly centered in and around your EOC for a while, or at least pop up eventually. Stay alert! Learn to call bullshit on them, and consciously switch to the helpful thoughts and tools you will learn from any of the meetings listed above, and my book. The more you practice the easier it will get! I wish you all the best!