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How do I overcome addictive behavior and hold myself accountable?

From: micronious

I really wish the best for you friend. I have been down this path in my past. It shaped me into the person I am today and I am thankful for it. You seem honestly to already have a wonderful grasp of what is going on inside of you, and solutions on how to fix it… basically you are already over half way there! You should seriously be VERY proud ! It takes a hard look at yourself to realize these things. The time this is going to take to feel free from it finally is truly up to you, and this can vary I believe on your mindset. Understand you are trying to get better and to do that you cannot allow these negative thoughts of future paths lead you down a spiral. Focus instead on what it will feel like to be free of this. Imagine that feeling in your body, your mind. How freeing you will truly feel ! How powering it is to be in control! I know this is going to happen for you friend, I already sense it. Just start welcoming it into your thoughts … I’m so proud of you !!

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From: SuchBlue

Hi blini,

I am glad to are trying your best to overcome it. I’m not sure where you’re from, but here we have a few groups that help with these kinds of addictions. You are aware that there is a problem of that extent, otherwise you wouldn’t be mentioning in this post. All there is is just that temptation that still wants you to keep going, but it is good that you are aware and you’ve already overcame that :clap:

If you want to follow up with this situation, feel free to do so and I wish you all the best :pray: :hrtlegolove:

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From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend, Thank you for posting, I want to say that I am really proud of you for taking the step to put down how you are feeling about this addiction and the changes that you feel need to be made in order to make improvements both mentally and physically in your life. I am not overly knowledgeable of drug addiction but I do know that any addiction is very difficult to combat and one thing I think you have most certainly done that you don’t seem to have realised is that you are not in denial, you seem very aware that there is some kind of problem so that’s a massive first step, I guess the next thing would be If you think you can get through the next succession of steps on your own or if you want to ask for help from someone more professional who could assist in helping to make you more accountable which is your concern. These are just ideas that you could consider, it depends how strong you feel right now, no one is here to judge your ability, I think you are amazing for even posting this. I would love to know how you get on. Whatever you decide, I wish you well and of course we are always here to support you at any time. Much Love Lisa. x

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From: Micro

Hey @blini,

Thank you so much for reaching out here. If there is something that is strongly conveyed through your post, it is that you are not in denial regarding your addiction. You name it, you face it, you acknowledge it - this is an essential step in your recovery, the very first one, and you can be proud of yourself for it. There might have been times in your life when coming to the point of saying “I have an addiction” was not as obvious as it is now.

It is understandable though that you feel like not completely admitting your struggles. First off, maybe because there is a need to think about your next step? Making decisions that would involve you more directly into a process of recovery. Another reason might be simply because when we are addicted to something, we are subjected to the roller-coaster of emotions it creates. One day, one hour, one moment we are feeling a certain way. Then a trigger, an event, a habit comes in the way and we find ourselves battling with an urge to use. It’s like having two voices in your mind fighting constantly - both feeling very real and like they each hold the truth whenever they are there. I’ve personally experienced that at my own scale through more than a decade of eating disorders. Now recovered - although it is a fragility that remains -, I can’t count the amount of times I have felt divided in two, between urges that I knew were going to harm me in the long run but a relief at the moment, and a deep knowledge/intuition of what would be actually healthy and healing.

Feeling divided and conflicted as you do right now is a tough experience, but it’s also a good sign. There is a something within you that manifests a need to change what is not serving you anymore. You know rationally and with your guts what healing means, but it also seems out of reach for now - which is okay. Recovery is like this intimidating mountain that feels Very often discouraging and depressing. But there’s actually a lot of very small steps to take in order to walk around it.

You have mentioned a 12-steps program/community type of support in one of your posts, and I would like to really encourage you in this way. Your intuition is at play there, your survival instincts too. It is very positive that this thought comes from you, and it’s not there by mistake either. I think you know what would help, but it is also scary, and you are definitely not to blame for eventually feeling that.

Rest assured that, no matter what your next step is, this community will be here for you. We will support you and encourage you as much as we can. Addictions are strong and recovery might be a long road ahead. But it is worth it. Because YOU are worth the efforts it would take to live a peaceful life. One in which you would cope in ways that remain healthy for you, and wouldn’t feel trapped by something that doesn’t deserve to control you. I believe in you. We all do. :hrtlegolove:

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Thank you everyone so much for your time and providing these encouraging replies! It is very precious to know a place where to be truly supported.

Yesterday, I found the strength to decide that I will start recovery now and fight these inner voices and urges that push me towards my addiction. I’ve never been at this point, not even during the time when I was in a treatment center several years ago (I quit the treatment because the urges and addictive behaviors were getting completely out of control).

Initially, I felt some relief, before the internal war began and I was hit by several waves of urges. They are worse than on those days when I used to delay engaging in addictive behaviors to the next day, probably because there is no “next day” anymore. I have to stick to my decision, it has to remain powerful. When I think “I don’t care” and go back to the addiction, taking such a decision will lose its power and it would become harder and harder to find a way to overcome the addiction.

There is now some substantial amount suffering ahead. I hope the really bad urges won’t stay that long. I’m very restless, feel the tension throughout my entire body, and had a rather sleepless night. It comes in waves. I hope it won’t be like this forever.

To find some more support on this journey, I found a 12-steps community and plan to join their meeting this week. I hope it won’t trigger me, but that it will help to stabilize my recovery. And of course, knowing that I will find support here in this community is very helpful.

@Micro What you said about why it feels that I’m in denial totally resonates with me. With admitting it comes kind of a pressure or moral duty to change something about it. It doesn’t leave any room for excuses, at least not in my mindset. The second point you mention is also true for me. It’s about these better moments when I think it isn’t that bad, before going back to the addiction.

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It’s day 5 and I’m already about to relapse. It’s just too much. I’ve been in emotional pain for years. I’m exhausted from constantly feeling the pain and sadness. It won’t just go away. Plus the urges. I just want to feel the relieve and numbness that comes with the addiction. Did I start too early? I’m crying. I just can’t go through all of that right now.

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@blini Hey, what are you doing right now? Can you change your environment or try to do something else that you might enjoy? If you remove yourself from where the temptation is or out of the idea of it i.e. distraction, sometimes that helps.

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Thank you for your quick response! I’m sitting at home. Evenings are particularly bad. Maybe I should go for a walk. I’ll try that. I shouldn’t be just sitting here with the urges. Thank you.

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BINGO!! Yes! Go for a walk and concentrate on everything around you. Count birds, cars, rocks on the road etc. Be in the moment and that will help distract too.

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Hey @blini, sending peace and positive thoughts your way. I hope the walk will be enjoyable to you.

Looking forward to keep discussing with you. I already want to praise you so freaking much for the amazing steps you are taking and for your bravery.

We’re in this with you. Virtually holding your hand. :hrtlegolove:

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@Mystrose and @Micro thank you both so much. Your support means a lot.

Just came back from my 1h walk. It was cold, rainy, and windy, exactly what I needed. I’ve never appreciated this type of weather, but now I do. I guess I have to start working out, because I don’t get rid of the tension in my body.

In any case, I’m safe for today. Shops will close in 30 mins. Hope it won’t be as bad tomorrow.

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That’s the goal my friend :hrtlegolove: I’m happy you discovered something that helps you cope AND has an added bonus of exercise! Proud of you!

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I’m so sorry for posting again. I feel bad about taking up your time and don’t manage to do that on my own.

Today’s been as bad as yesterday. My thoughts to relapse become louder and my motivation to resist decreases more and more. From experience in the treatment center the bad urges last longer than two weeks (I relapsed there after 12 days - the first time I was allowed to leave the building). Maybe it’s even more than a month, I don’t know. I’m starting to think about plans for the relapse, I can’t handle this state that long.

I feel like such a failure because others made it through it and for me it’s not even getting off of drugs. I rearranged furniture, there’s nothing left to clean, and still the urges drive me crazy. I’m so badly longing for the relief and numbness and for escaping the urges. I won’t be able to go through this every day for weeks.

I don’t know if I can live without it, if my ability to focus will ever come back, and if I’ll be able to do a job again some time soon. I feel terrible.

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It’s completely to post, @blini. This is a safe space that you can use whenever you need to reach out, be heard, and receive some encouragement too. No need to apologize, really.

As for the time we spend discussing, I can only respond what a friend in this community always reponded to me: “it’s not up to you to decide”. I choose to spend time reading your posts and responding. You are not a burden. I promise. And if we are fair to ourselves, there are things that don’t have to be handled just on our own. Relying on one another is okay, healthy, essential. :hrtlegolove:

For now, let’s try not to think about long term, okay? The job is not something you need to worry about. Every step you are taking in the present moment in order to heal will ultimately lead you to this goal of working again. But in the meantime, you don’t need to stress yourself about it. Especially since you have some intense battle going on already.

You are not a failure, friend. You are trying. You are reaching out. Trying shows strength. It makes you build resilience. But it’s also understandable that this whole process of being sober is made of new experiences, new obstacles that seem sometimes renewed over and over. You’re in the eye of the storm, so it’s important to try to reduce your steps and goals as little as possible. One dat at a time. One step at a time.

You’ve mentioned before that you have found a 12-steps community. Have you tried to join their meeting, or even just to have a first contact with them? From now on, it will be important to build for yourself a solid support system. You’re not alone. You don’t have to do that alone. Especially if you know that this level of intensity regarding the urges could last for a while without even just a little break.

I’m very proud of you. No matter what.

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Thank you so much for your kind words, Micro. It means a lot. I had already decided to plan for a relapse on Friday when I came to the forum and read your post. Although I had already felt the relief that came with the decision, I went to the 12 steps website and looked up the next meeting, which I attended, as well as all three heart support streams of the day. I was recommended another recovery community in chat of one of these streams and attended their meetings yesterday and today. It’s possible to just listen without the camera on. I’ll continue to attend those meetings.

I don’t manage to cope neither with the urges nor the emotional pain. Simply existing already hurts so much. My mindset got darker again, suicidal thoughts are coming back. I relapsed today. I didn’t have the energy for any resistance at all. I’m so exhausted and tired. I don’t know what I can do to improve my situation. The pain won’t go away. I don’t know how to overcome this. I’m waiting for the next day to come to find at least some relief in the addiction, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. That’s not a life worth living.

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Hey @blini,

How are you holding up these days?

You are in my thoughts. I care about you, friend. :hrtlegolove:

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Thank you for your kind words, Micro. I really appreciate it.

I’m hurting, overwhelmed by negative emotions that keep coming up. It’s been back to the addictive behaviors every day. I don’t even manage to just delay it to the next day. The minute I’m done with my “routine” the urges come back again. My body is hurting from the self-destruction. Self-hatred is on the rise. I’m exhausted and tired from the emotional and physical pain. I’m desperately longing for a break, but that’s not going to happen. I feel like I’m drowning and the air to breathe is long gone.

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I’m so sorry that you are in the eye of the storm right now. It is really a hard position to be in. I hope you manage to get some rest when you need. Both physically and emotionally, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

I remember when I was at my lowest point with ED, every day, every minute was about food, my body and weight. It was exhausting to feel like I wasn’t able to focus on something else, to dedicate my time to simply… live.

You truly deserve to have a break. To put a branch in the wheel so it stops turning just a little bit. Just enough to catch your breath and experience that peace is possible, even when you are struggling.

I don’t want to share advice when it’s not solicited, but I would really like to support you in making steps further in your recovery, if you’re okay with it. So far how has it been with the 12 steps meetings? Do you feel like it could be beneficial to you, and did you have the possibility to connect directly with someone there? It may or may not be for you or your current situation - and both possibilities are okay. Afterwards, it would just mean that we need to figure out what are your options, and what you would be willing to try. In all cases it will push you out of your comfort zone in some way. But there are times like now when we know that jumping into unknown waters is the right thing to know, because the patterns we’re in are not functioning.

Two thoughts:

Do you think the objective of an entire day without using/being sober could be too much for now? It’s kind of natural to think in terms of days and weeks when it comes to implementing a change in our life. But if it has to start really small, then it’s okay because it’s all the small steps that are going to build a stronger foundation. Depending on where you’re at right now, if delaying your urge by one hour for example is already a big thing, then let’s try to focus on that first, and let’s call it a success when you get there. The next time, it could be possible to try a half hour or even an hour more, and so on. It might feel like it’s not a big thing at first, but the more you set an intention and healthy expectations, the more you will create a virtuous cycle. Another step, at some point, could be to consider your options regarding the substance/thing that is the source of your addiction, and how you could learn to make it less present at your home, or less accessible.

On a different note, I’ve been thinking if you would be interested in joining an Action Group on our Discord server. It is definitely not a replacement for therapy or classic support groups, but it can absolutely be a place for accountability, as you’ve asked in the title of your topic here. If you are alone in your battle right now, if you need help figuring out the next steps, if you need encouragement in order to actually take those steps, an Action Group could be a wonderful asset for you. You can get more info here: HeartSupport Action Groups & Support Wall Action Teams - But basically, these groups meet once a week to discuss personal goals and how to achieve them. + ongoing conversations and support throughout the week, on a dedicated and private channel.

I would love for you to surround yourself of as much support and tools as you need. Recovering from an addiction is a tough battle. Having allies who would be closer to you might be necessary from now on.

I 100% believe in you. Without any pressure though. Only a big amount of love. :hrtlegolove:

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I’ve been to SMART recovery online meetings mostly every evening for the last two weeks, though I haven’t shared anything or participated in the discussion. There are 60-90 people every evening, and for most the addiction is substance abuse, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing.
I’ve been to a 12 steps meeting as well, but didn’t get along with the format.

After the 8 days that I lasted in January, it’s been much worse again and I couldn’t delay it anymore at all. This week, I managed to abstain two days (Thursday & today). Tonight has been bad with urges. In the online meetings, they say that the urges last 20 mins, but that’s not true for me. They last longer than that and come up again and again, and put me in pretty bad places emotionally.

Usually, I decide to engage in behaviors either already the previous day or when urges come up during the day and then I try to get through it as early as possible because I spend hours with that and in the past, I’ve been “busy” large parts of the night, so I try to avoid that.

I think that’s the biggest problem. I can’t have anyone close. That’s always been problematic, but absolutely impossible since past trauma. Sharing about my struggles eventually lead to a series of traumatic events. Never will I give anyone else the opportunity to intentionally harm or destroy me to such an extent ever again. I will neither put my name, voice, or face to that topic, and I won’t enable anyone to be in a position to judge or even have any thoughts about that. That’s also why I don’t want to disclose more details on my behaviors.
In one of the online meetings someone put “The opposite of addiction is connection.” in the chat box. I don’t know if I have a shot in overcoming this at all. Social isolation isn’t really helping with that. It’s so hopeless.

Thank you so much for being there. It means a lot. :hrtlegolove:

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Try to reach out to a good friend or relative or a mental health professional they can better guide you without judgement