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Learn to like yourself again. Recovery is all about becoming the kind of person that you can respect.

Addiction may be a brain disease, but recovery is a spiritual journey. During the phases of addiction/alcoholism, we slowly become people we never thought we would be. We hurt the people that care about us, we take from others, and we feel lonely, sad, depressed, and anxious all the time.

You see this disease feeds on shame and guilt. Addiction will cause you to hate yourself and everyone else for that matter. It is a miserable existence and digging out of that hole is not easy.

The 12 steps teach us to self-reflect, make mindful decisions, fix our messes, and live a life of integrity. When we can do these things, we actually start to like ourselves again. Not only do these things help us to like/respect ourselves, but the very process of doing these things helps heal the brain.

So my basic answer to the question “How to break an addiction?” is:

  1. Change playgrounds, playmates, and playthings
  2. Make healthy connections with other humans
  3. Live the kind of life that will make you respect yourself

If you can do all of these things you will have a solid start at breaking an addiction.

WORD TO THE WISE: When I say “break an addiction,” I am referring to a program of abstinence/sobriety from all mood and mind altering chemicals. As long as you are still ingesting chemicals, it’s unlikely you will be able to work a program of recovery in a manner that is healthy or consistent.  Also see Stages of Change.