The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “addiction” is a poorly dressed, dirty, sick junkie somewhere near or under a dumpster, in a cardboard box, looking towards you with vacant eyes and mumbling something about giving them some spare change, isn’t it? At least that’s the image the media is constantly drip-feeding us.
But addiction means so much more and, if we are to be truthful, everybody – no exceptions – has an addiction. From the socially accepted ones like caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, sex, gambling, TV, extreme exercising or extreme sports, to the more shunned ones like the whole panoply of chemical stimulants generically called drugs, deviant sexual practices and behaviors, serious crime and so on.
The one addiction not many of us think about is the addiction to other people. In trade vernacular, this is called codependency. It is an addiction like any other and, when we want to kick it, it proves as hard to kick as any other addiction. The good news is that it can be done.
The first thing you absolutely need to do is to admit that you have a codependency problem. Easier said than done, but it is a necessary and unavoidable first step. As long as you don’t admit to yourself that you have this problem, you will not be able to get rid of it.
Next, you need to mentally prepare yourself for the process. As with any other addiction, kicking this one will hurt. A lot! Not just physically, but also mentally and especially emotionally. But you can also think about the fact that you will emerge on the other side purified by the fire of pain, ready to take back your normal life, your healthy life.
Beware! Your mind will try to play tricks on you. Even if you decide to get out of this toxic relationship, you will keep looking for reasons not to. You will try to deceive yourself with thoughts like “I am exaggerating, it is not actually that bad, I am just overreacting, being a baby about this” and so on. Don’t fall for it! Look into a mirror and remind yourself of all the anguish, fear, pain, sorrow you’ve suffered so far in the relationship. Also think about the fact that the one you are addicted to has not really been there for you when you needed them most. Be honest with yourself.
Then, start putting some distance between you and the person you are addicted to. Physical distance is a good start, then go on to gradually emotionally uncouple yourself from them. Step by step, close them out of your day to day life, while also shutting them out of your mind and ejecting them from your feelings. It is a slow process, but you need to keep at it until, one day, you wake up and realize that you are free.
Don’t forget about getting rid of anything that might make you rethink your decision. Things you got from them, things you bought together, things that remind you of some past situation, they all need to go. Start cleaning up your act and your life. You need and deserve a new beginning, on your own terms.
And, when, inevitably, from time to time, doubt raises its snake head, remember. You are in the process of quitting the habit. You are not going to completely ruin your life by falling off the wagon, by going back to the way things used to be, even if that means getting rid of this pain you’re feeling right now. Remember that you are the one deciding how your life should go on, nobody else.
We at BetterMe want everyone to know and experience true love. It is out there for everyone and until it knocks on your door we are here to remind you that you deserve the best love!
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