Let’s face it: living a healthy, clean life is challenging. For some, temptations take the forms of relatively harmless guilty pleasures like eating decadent desserts or skipping exercise. For others, it is a torturous daily struggle to try to avoid substances that are literally killing them. Almost everyone would like to be healthier, and in some cases, little changes can really make big differences. Unfortunately, the more extreme bad habits or addictions can require more drastic action, especially if they’ve been a part of your life for years or decades. Here are some of the most common vices that people want to shake. The important thing to remember is that the first course of action is to recognize you have a problem and act to correct it.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Let’s begin with the biggest and most difficult problem facing many Americans today. Alcohol and drugs, from street narcotics to prescription painkillers have ruined countless lives and torn countless families apart. Alcohol is especially tricky due to its general social acceptance and near-universal, legal availability. While most people can maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol, and use prescription drugs as directed, many fall into the pit of addiction, where they physically need these substances to get through their day. Many build up large tolerances that require larger and larger doses and quantities.
Help is available in many forms. For some, non 12-step rehab offers an helpful alternative to the rigid structure and religious foundation of traditional treatment. Others benefit from doctor-supervised detox or in-patient rehabilitation. Whichever path you choose, it begins by admitting you have a problem and having a physical examination by a medical professional to advise you.
The combination of tobacco, nicotine, tar and other additives makes cigarette smoking highly addictive. With help and willpower, however, people still manage to quit every day. Some former smokers swear the only effective method is quitting “cold turkey,” that is, giving up and abstaining immediately. They usually say that after a rough couple of days, or maybe the first week, it gets easier. Others need a little more help. Fortunately, there is a greater variety of smoking cessation aids on the market than ever before. Nicotine patches or gum can help with cravings. Systems like Chantix can help people gradually reduce their cigarette intake until they no longer feel the need to smoke. The health benefits of quitting smoking are massive, and, if done soon enough, the damage it causes can nearly reverse itself over time.
While the digital age has brought many innovations that make the world a better place, it’s arguable that its ability to make free pornography available to almost anyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week has done a tremendous amount of harm. Like alcohol, many people can have a moderate relationship with pornography that most professionals consider fairly harmless. Constant users who see it interfering with their everyday lives, especially their relationships with spouses or partners need to address the issue. While this may seem impossible, software is available that will make most porn sites inaccessible. As with all the vices we discuss, professional counseling can be very helpful as well, especially if porn has caused problems in a family. The good news is that unlike drugs or alcohol, porn is not a physical addiction but a psychological one. A therapist can help you get to the root cause of why you feel the need to seek it out.
Like porn, gambling is a psychological addiction that can easily be fed online. Its ramifications can be huge and immediate with people spending more than they can afford ruining their credit and risking their livelihood. Much like porn the solution comes in avoidance. It is possible to have yourself banned from physical casinos in some states, and software can block online gaming. Counseling can help you come to terms with what you find appealing about gambling and discover healthier alternatives.
The desire to curb vices and live a healthier life is commendable, and it can be done! Realize that it is not an overnight process and you may encounter setbacks along the way. If you persevere, though, you will reap extraordinary benefits and be grateful to come out on the other side.