@shaun-durwin All addictive behaviors have at least these two things in common: (1) they help people cut off painful feelings and (2) they are strongly influenced or controlled by a destructive thought process that both seduces the person into the behavior and punishes them for indulging. People who engage in drug or alcohol abuse, who have an eating disorder, or who struggle with any addiction are acting according to the prescriptions of a destructive thought process known as the critical inner voice. For example, if you struggle with an alcohol dependency, this internal enemy will try to tempt you with a seductive, seeming friendly thought (or “voice”) saying, “You’ve had a rough week. Have a drink. You really need to relax.” If you’re overcoming a food addiction, it might lure you with rewards, “Have a piece of cake. You did well on your diet all week.” After indulging, this deceptively soothing inner voice transforms into a cruel enemy, tearing you apart. The voice maliciously punishes you for indulging in the very behavior it had encouraged. “You weak-willed jerk. You said you weren’t going to drink anymore!” “You’ve ruined everything. You’ll always be a fat cow.” Identify the critical inner voices that govern these habit patterns and to challenge their dictates by learning more constructive ways of dealing with emotional pain. Most people succeed when they recognize that the addiction interferes with something they value—and when they develop the confidence that they can change.
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