Why Isn’t Willpower Enough to Kick Our Addictions?

One of the biggest misconceptions about addiction is that people struggling with them simply lack the willpower needed to kick their habits, that they are lazy and just haven’t tried hard enough to quit. The truth is there are multiple factors contributing to our addictions, and willpower alone often isn’t enough to work through them.

Many of us living with addictions have been struggling with them for years, often for much of our lives. Habits that are so deeply ingrained are very hard to rid ourselves of. We form our identities around them. Our addictions become a part of who we are. Shedding ourselves of these habits and identities takes deep mental and emotional work. It takes parting with old ways of identifying ourselves and creating new ones, and abandoning unhealthy habits for healthier ones.

With many addictions, there is the added factor of biochemical dependence, where our bodies have literally become dependent upon certain drugs or chemical reactions to behaviors. Our instincts tell us that we can’t survive without them. The thought of losing them can cause us tremendous fear, so much so that we would rather live with the harmful consequences than face the pain of letting go. Mentally and emotionally we have also become attached to the feelings they provide us – feelings of security, calm and peace. We find our happiness, comfort, reassurance and solace in these things. Letting go of our attachment to these things requires creating entirely new perspectives – of creating our joy from within and nurturing ourselves in healthy, positive ways. Recovery goes much deeper than just making the decision to quit and simply directing our willpower to that end.

Recovering from our addictions means reprogramming our minds that have come to believe we can’t live without our drugs of choice. Consciously we might be desperate to quit, but subconsciously we still feel dependent upon them. Subconsciously we think that we can’t survive without them, that we can’t handle the withdrawal physically, mentally or emotionally. To reprogram our subconscious minds we can use self-hypnosis, in the form of writing and/or repeating affirmations, to create new beliefs that help us recognize that we do indeed have the strength to quit. “I am strong enough to do what is best for myself. I want to be self-protective and self-respecting. I love and respect myself and my body. I make healthy choices for myself. I have the power and the strength to prioritize my wellbeing. I believe in myself. I am brave and powerful.”

The misconception that willpower alone is enough to quit an addiction doesn’t take into account all of the years of habit forming, the physical and emotional dependence, and the pervasiveness of our subconscious programming. Recovery asks that we confront all of these things.

We have years of experience helping people beat their addictions. Let us help you. Call (800) 871-5440.