The Truth about Addiction and Recovery

Copyright © 1996-2004, Stanton Peele, Ph.D.
All Rights Reserved

Reproduced by Permission of the Author

The Key Steps in Overcoming Addiction

  1. You need to want to change. The ingredient most crucial to changing is motivation, the desire to change.
  2. The main sources of the motivation to quit an addiction are the things that are important for your life. Work, family, pride, religion, health,- any and all values that contradict the urge to be. If you don’t have such values – or enough of them- then, you need to get them.
  3. Improve your skills and your confidence. Learning to do things well, to deal better with problem areas, and to see yourself as a competent person are crucial links in overcoming addiction.
  4. Invest in the key building blocks of your life- friends, family, job, career, hobbies, healthful activities. Having the ingredients of a successful life in place is the best antidote to addiction. These things give you the reasons not to be addicted, the motivation to cease addiction, and the strength to quit and stay unhooked.
  5. The strongest answer to addiction is the community. Belonging to a supportive social group – one with pro-social values that do not support addictive excesses – makes it unlikely to make you addicted. Social support is also useful for overcoming addiction, provided the support focuses on something more than the addiction. Real community reinforces the entire fabric of your life, where as support predicated on sharing an addiction hold to the danger of becoming a preoccupation not unlike the addiction itself.
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