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Are you having a horrible headache after a few too many wines last night? Went to buy a pair of thongs and came back with three pairs of Jimmy Choo’s instead? Just could not stop before that entire tube of Toblerone was finished? Feeling lost, scared and out of control?

Many of us battle with some kind of addiction. Whether it is alcohol, cigarettes, sex, drugs, gambling or gaming, it is hard to admit that there is a problem.

Now it’s time to plan to stop, seek help, and prepare yourself for the obstacles you will undoubtedly encounter. If you are ready to start 2017 addiction free, keep reading!

What is an addiction? It is described as: ”people with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using” by Medical News Today. Whichever it is – alcohol, drugs, tobacco, shopping for new shoes, coffee or chocolate, the combining feeling is that you have lost control and usage and the consequences will keep on spiraling out of control.

The first step for recovery from any type of addiction is to acknowledge that there is a problem.


It is easy to brush off the niggling worry that everything is not quite right and the scary realisation that control over the behaviour has been lost. Constantly thinking I could stop anytime if I wanted – and scared that it might not be true.

I battled with cigarette addiction for many years and like many, I thought I could easily give up any time if I just wanted it enough. Although I was fully aware of all the negative effects, I found all the excuses in the world to carry on smoking.

The worst thing about addiction is that it erodes your self-esteem; I knew what I did was wrong and dangerous, so when I continued smoking, I felt like a total idiot.

When I finally managed to give up smoking, I felt free for the first time in years. I didn’t have to constantly think about smoking or worry about the health problems my smoking will inevitably cause me, let alone the stigma associated with being a smoker.  I felt free from feelings of being stupid, weak and powerless.

So now that you have a desire to change your behaviour, how to set yourself up for success?


  • Have realistic expectations: beating the addiction does not make your life fabulous overnight, however, it will improve your self-esteem and empower you.
  • Write down all the negative consequences of your addiction. For example, wasting money on gambling or worrying about your lungs because of smoking
  • Make another list of all the positives you will gain when you stop indulging in your addiction. When you stop using alcohol, your mornings will be brighter, your head clearer and wallet thicker
  • Be honest with yourself. Find out when you are using and why? Keep a log of emotions you are experiencing because you want to indulge in your addiction. What feelings of pain or emptiness are you covering with a glass of wine or another pair of new shoes?   Realising what is contributing to your behaviour is a core starting point in recovery.
  • Get support: surround yourself with people who take your attempt seriously and want to help you.  In addition, you will be inspired by their behaviour.
  • Avoid triggers: stay away from situations and people who you know are dangerous and might cause you to relapse. For example, if you have a problem with gambling, don’t go to the casino for a drink after work
  • Keep busy, find positive and exciting things to do, something that will give you pleasure such as going for a walk with a friend or seeing a good movie
  • Stay positive, recovery is an ongoing process, not an event. Concentrate on all of the good things and benefits you are gaining from not indulging in your addiction
  • Get professional help, talking it through with a trained counsellor or psychologist can be eye opening and help you to set goals, gain insight and stay strong
  • Most of all, celebrate your success, every day away from your addiction is a win!

This is the time to look at your addiction square to the face and say goodbye, give yourself a chance to feel free, empowered and liberated from your addiction!

 “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” Socrates


Pia Valisalo

Founder at We Hear You Counselling
Pia provides a holistic counselling service helping clients to rebuilt their lives after life altering events such as divorce or loss of a loved one.
Pia Valisalo
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