The test of anything is how good we feel after doing it. 

If it does not produce a real benefit, then we must stop doing it, as we have better things to do with our lives.

Here's the process of handling this...


The addictions and the physical effects
The key solutions
How good do we feel afterwards?
How we get addicted
The decision mechanism
    Making decisions ahead of time
    Stepping aside from the immediacy
    Setting the path to follow
Our solutions to addictions are always:
Not really living
Physical repercussions beyond the immediate
It's a chemical thing
The downward cycling
The solution

Pleasing or distracting for the moment, addictions only lead to a worsening of what is  This is about how to get into our right minds and our right body functioning in order to live a life where we are thriving instead of just surviving.


Any "escape" mechanism with long term bad effects.  All throw the body off chemically and cause damage while the body is having to try to reestablish homeostasis (balance).

Specific Addictions

Anger-based behaviors
Drinking - Sometimes the effect is so subtle it sneaks up on you.
Fear-based behaviors
Any stimulating and numbing escape with no point to it


The principles are the same as those for success, just applied specifically to this area.

Some of the pieces:

      Understanding (!) - Too often missed but absolutely necessary
      What is wanted in life - Really, really wanted....
            There has to be enough identified benefits
      Clear tradeoffs analysis, to make a clear, strong decision.
      Teamwork, support 
      Program/plan, using a decision-making format to establish clarity and


The "easy" way out - that's what we ultimately use addictions for. 

Of course, it doesn't work, as we are not constructed to work that way. 

The (believed) "quick payoff" is nothing compared to the costs and missed (mostly long term) payoffs of the action.  Ironically, even the quick payoff sours quickly, as we feel less good (even bad) and our self-confidence/esteem drop - in short we don't feel good after doing it.  (However, you should understand How The Primitive Brain Thinks and within that piece what to do about it.)

The test of anything is how good we feel after doing it. 

How good do we feel after we've been with a person, done an activity, etc. is the test of anything we do. 


It is no secret, but I wish to restate it and really make it clear here, so that we can head more toward the solution. (We must, in almost all cases, know the specifics of the problem before we can reach a better solution.)

We start by feeling "uncomfortable" in some way.   Being tired or feeling stressed in some way, just as with anxiety, is what the discomfort is about.

We either accept and be with the discomfort or we seek to solve the discomfort.

If we look for a way to solve it, we eventually will find a way to at least diminish it.  If what we use has long term effects that are bad, but we need relief right now and we feel we must relieve something and have no other way we know that works better, we start an addiction. 

The addiction is a rational way to alleviate a problem in the short term. 


The brain itself has different decision centers. 

The short term decision center seeks an immediate solution and is biased toward the immediacy. 

The long term decision center is used only when we intentionally step aside from the short term and/or it is used to make decisions ahead of time, such as devising strategies to avoid using the addiction. 

Making decisions ahead of time

The addiction programs often have you make a clear decision and then a strong stand, with clearly delineated reasons to remind yourself of (by, perhaps, reading a list or from memory).  It is helpful to have guidance with an expert in the area and to use a decision-making/problem-solving format (click the link to that section).  Part of that process (or "the plan") will be how to make it more emphatic and how to be more committed, what "rules" to commit to, and/or to have means of making things happen (affirmations, checklists, available alternatives, etc.), including resources to go to for help. 

Stepping aside from the immediacy

In order to step aside from the immediacy, we must develop a reason why to step aside (such as realizing that it hurts too much to not step aside) and also a reminder and/or habit of doing so in conflicted situations.  We must employ decision making ahead of time in order to create a commitment to do this. 

Setting the path to follow

Then once you step aside, you must have a path to follow to come to a decision.
This is most likely a form of some sort that is readily accessible to use to make a decision - writing down things is a good way to access the higher brain.


1.  Put up with the discomfort (and not use the addiction to relieve it, waiting until it eventually goes away). 

2.  Using an alternative that has lesser bad effects, such as methadone or nicotine patches, so that the problem can be diminished enough to be able to be able to put up with the smaller amount of discomfort and/or confront and handle it.

3.  Deal with it with an alternative solution that does not have bad long term effects.

While I prefer #3 the most,  although #1 is my second choice, as it is necessary to learn how to be comfortable with discomfort and/or how to tolerate it as a small thing that does not have to be reacted to.  But #2 may be the necessary alternative, where #1 and #3 are not workable for whatever reason.

Addictions are caused when one does not have proper alternatives for handling moods, so you would have to go to the Managing Your Moods section to gain further understanding on what to do.


Have no doubt about it:  addictions are "exit" behaviors, not entry-into-life behaviors - they are like choosing to give away or give back one's life gifted originally in freak luck.  But this is not a "moral" issue, it is more about what works and what doesn't work in life, so we just keep trying until we find out what will work. 


There are profound, serious physical effects to addictions.  Often devastating (even in the non-physical addiction) because it throws off the body's signaling and monitoring systems and in the process damages organs and the wiring that affects our ability to be happy and experience positive emotions!!!


People often blow it off as being nothing, but being held hostage to an addiction is inevitably understood as weakness, as powerlessness - all resulting in a

1.  Lessening of feeling-in-charge and
2.  Often escalating into more and more victimhood (feeling sorry for oneself and hopeless and labeling oneself as "bad" in some way),
3.  Manifesting the victimhood by
    A.  Using passiveness (flight from life) or
    B.  Going into aggressiveness (fight). 

Taking on the psychological role of being a victim is the killer here.  Getting clear about that is essential, so read the Victimhood section and the bits about slipping into personas and roles, such as Child (Victim), while needing to make a decision to step into the role of Rational, Nurturing Adult.


Yes, there is a chemical part to each addiction, whether it is substance related or behavior-related (e.g. tv as an escape) or thought-related.  

And, yes, our bodies, even with the chosen addictions above, are operated based on good-feeling and bad-feeling chemicals, but we also have a higher brain that is far above the animal and we have a choice to do those things that ultimately produce the greatest amount of good for us - but first we must understand them - so that we know how to operate the system (body, mind, their pieces).  (Rent the movie: What The Bleep Do We Know? and/or read The Physics Of The Mind.)  


However, the effects of addictions are very, very predictable: 

   A downward ratcheting of lower lows and lower highs and a greater need
   to escape, in turn taking one further and further away from what works in


The only choice is to step in and stop the cycle, as pointed out above. 

And we solve this in the same way as we solve any problem, so I suggest you go ahead and start that process:

1.  Find a time when you have the ability to take a long term perspective.
2.  Use a problem-solving form or forms from that section. (Deciding that the addiction is no longer worth it and that it has too great a cost.)
3.  Preferably use an expert resource or at least a good strong, objective, smart ally.
4.  Develop a plan (including a learning plan)
5.  Implement that plan
6.  Use feedback/monitoring to see how you do relative to plan.
7.  Adjust the plan and recommit to the objective.  Go back to 5 and repeat until you've reached the result.

There is no other way. 

There is no miracle. 

There is only you taking responsibility, committing, taking a stand.

There is only you starting as soon as possible.

(The forms are all usable for this purpose, but I'll probably take them and modify them to fit this purpose.  Meanwhile, you have the ability to follow the steps and use the resources.)


ADDICTIONS - HARMLESS WEAKNESS? - The benefits of addiction, the costs of addiction.  How to change addictions.  Even little addictions can create negative momentum in life.

See Psychology Resources for books and sites to use.

A directly relevant and useful book for further depth would be:  The Soft Addiction Solution: Break Free Of The Seemingly Harmless Habits That Keep You From The Life You Want, Judith Wright.  (I also recommend her book:  There Must Be More Than This, about focusing on what is really valuable in life.)

RESOURCES - Some good materials.
Harvard Medical School, www.divisionofaddictions 
12 Step programs - There is one for virtually everythiing
   wikipedia on the program


ADDICTIONS - HARMLESS WEAKNESS? - The benefits of addiction, the costs of addiction.  How to change addictions.  Even little addictions can create negative momentum in life.

Habits, Willpower, Discipline, Self-Control
Contents/Links - More on comfort, addictions, etc.

My Addiction - And Its
Alcohol, Health, Happiness, And Relationships - We forget (or deny) that it is actually a poison...and its actual effects!

Understanding The Stressors Of Your Body - Know This Or Suffer And Die Early!!!!! - Including causing cardiovascular disease, diabetes caused diseases, and cancer!


See the end of the article.