There is a common misconception about addiction that if we just apply our willpower we’ll be able to stop our addictions in their tracks and keep them from overtaking our lives. People assume that addicts are weak, lazy, cowardly, and simply not trying hard enough to get better. The truth is, willpower alone isn’t enough to stop our addictive patterns. The reason for that lies in the power of our subconscious minds.
Consciously we usually want to get better. We want to make better choices. We want to be healthier and happier. Subconsciously, however, we often aren’t aligned with those conscious goals. We’re internally causing ourselves harm, sabotaging our healing and working against ourselves. The emotional information stored in our subconscious minds, along with our fears, dictates the programming that fuels our lives. We are often holding onto subconscious beliefs about ourselves and our recovery that limit us and hold us back.
Many of us believe subconsciously that we are incapable of healing and doing what’s best for ourselves. When we don’t believe in ourselves, we’re constantly limiting our potential and derailing our progress. We’re postponing our chances of getting better. We think that because we’ve been addicts for so long, there’s no hope left for us. We believe that we’re not strong enough, not resilient enough, not brave enough to get better. When we’re giving our energy to these disempowering limiting beliefs, there’s no way our willpower is enough to withstand them.
Because our addictive urges, compulsions and cravings are so intense and so strong, we start to believe that we’re powerless against them. We tell ourselves we can’t withstand them. We tell ourselves we’re weak. We reinforce our toxic beliefs and our insecurities every time we think a self-defeating thought. We hold ourselves back every time we tell ourselves we’re not stronger than our addictions. We start to think of our addictions as a force greater than we are. We see them as something we’ll always suffer from. Our willpower can’t compete with that.
To support our efforts, and to bolster our willpower and resilience, we have to reprogram our subconscious minds to be in alignment with our goals. The subconscious mind responds quite well to repetition and to the written word. Try making a practice of writing and repeating aloud affirmations that are uplifting and empowering. Speak your recovery into existence. “I am strong enough to do what’s best for me. I am capable of recovering. I believe in myself. I am powerful. I am brave. I am healing.”