Kick the habit in 2012
If you'd like to kick your habit in 2012, then start by accepting that there's no point in tackling it alone
Let nobody be under any illusions that kicking the habit is, for some people, not so much a wish as an absolute necessity.
When we talk of kicking the habit, especially during New Year, most people will think of smoking and perhaps alcohol abuse, but there are plenty more substances and activities that can lure people into addiction.
There is no official list of the most common addictions, partly because of the difficulty in assessing the seriousness of individual cases, but any list of the most prevalent addictions are sure to include these ten: smoking, alcohol, drugs (illegal and prescription), gambling, food, video games, internet/pornography, sex, shopping and work.
Of course, it depends what you mean by ‘habits’. In many cases, these might also be called ‘excesses’, and perhaps rightly considered less serious, but cutting down could turn out to have a double benefit. Not only will they help you take more or even total control of your life, but in some cases that may also mean heading off a decline into more serious addiction.
Check out our guide to reducing stress where you will find a range of ideas, from ancient therapies to simple treats designed to give you a brief ‘time out’.
Many of the suggestions there will help you kick your habit or at least provide some relief from it. If nothing else, sampling some of the treatments, therapies and remedies we suggest will open your mind to a more relaxed, more controlled and ultimately more pleasurable lifestyle.
But even before trying any of our suggestions, it is essential to quantify the extent of the habit that is troubling you. And be honest, because the biggest step in tackling any addiction is always admitting you have a problem.
If you are losing control of your ‘habit’ and it is threatening to turn into addiction, then our suggestions may be prescribed at a later date as part of your recovery plan, but if the habit really is turning into an addiction, you must seek professional help.
Many branches of the National Health Service are geared up to recognise, prevent and cure all manner of addictions, including your GP, whom you should approach right away if you feel you may have an addiction problem. You should also check out the NHS Choices website for practical advice, starting with its Introduction to Addictions page.
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