Millions of adults are addicted to something. Most of them would like to quit but just don’t know-how. There are hundreds of tips on how to resist the craving but not all of them work for everybody. Here is a tip that many addicts have found helpful when they did a therapy against their addiction.
It might also help you in case you’re addicted to something. The tip is about charity, about giving, and about your self-esteem. Maybe you are not aware of it: most addicts do not have a big ego. This is due to childhood experiences but it is continuously intensified during the addiction when you give in to the craving when you simply cannot let go of it when you lose your friends, your partner, and your family because of your addiction.
There are people worse off than you
A part of you is longing for love – and for loving yourself. You want to be proud of yourself for something that you are or that you have done. Instead, you believe that you are a bad person because you are addicted and because you do not find the way out of it. However, there are people in the world that are much worse off. Think about these people the next time that the craving becomes unbearable again.
Donating is building a bridge across the valley of your loneliness
First, think about for whom you feel sorry. Which people would you really like to help if you could? You might think of UNICEF (United Nations International Children Emergency Fund), some cancer aid organizations, or even a society for the prevention of cruelties to animals (like the Humane Society).
Get in contact with them and do something good! You carry enough love within yourself; give a piece of it to something that you consider important. Donate money and celebrate this. Donate 50% of the amount that you would almost have spent in a casino or elsewhere. The famous French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, once said that “donating is building a bridge across the deep valley of your loneliness”.
Write it down and be proud
Then you print the proof of what you have done, write your thoughts on it, and put it on your wall; or fold the sheet of paper and keep it in your wallet. Perhaps the thoughts you write down are that you have helped three children to eat and to survive for one year instead of giving in to your drug this time. Perhaps you write down that you financed part of a heart operation for a four-year-old girl in Brazil instead of spending $50 in casinos, on alcohol, or on whatever your drug is.
Brighten the day of somebody
Picture the bright smile of the person that you helped. Write down how the life of this person will change. Write down that it was YOU who made this possible. Be proud that you did something good instead of giving in to your addiction – even if it was only once for the time being. If you do not want to send money to someone anonymous, you could also provide joy to someone you know and like. Send flowers with kind greetings; you could do this within five minutes on the internet.
Pets or senior people?
Even better than imagining the joy of the other person and the positive change you brought into his or her life, it is to see it yourself happy and experience it. If you like animals, volunteer at a pet shelter and make a point to go regularly. Look at the dogs and cats, pet them, play with them, and ask to take them for a walk.
Many pet shelters are looking for people like you to help take care of the animals from time to time! Do you have compassion for senior people? Go to a retirement home and ask if they need someone to volunteer to talk and listen to the residents.
Not only will this make you feel better, but the seniors will also be grateful for your time and care. You are also likely to realize that you are not the only person in the world that has problems and you may even learn something about yourself or gain some perspective on your life.
Homeless or even your family
What about the homeless on the street? Not all of them are alcoholics spending the money you give them for booze. Talk to one of them and imagine how much $ 20 could mean to them compared to what you would do with this money.
If you are uncomfortable with giving them money, you could always buy them a sandwich or a soda. Maybe you could help in a homeless center or volunteer in a soup kitchen for a few hours a week. In addition, what about your own family? Your partner? Your mother? Your child? How much joy could you provide them with the money (or the time!!) that you are about to waste on your drug?
It’s important to plan ahead
It is crucial that you plan this now, in good times, when your thoughts are clear, and when you are not suffering from craving. What will I do if:
…it happens tonight at home?
…it happens tomorrow in the office or at University?
…it happens while I am driving home?
Always have a plan with you so that you can react immediately and please react when the very first signs of craving appear – don’t wait until the pressure becomes too strong, because it will then be too difficult to apply this tip. If this method works well with you and if you use it frequently, you will immediately remember the joy that you caused the previous time whenever craving starts. Remember the good thing(s) you have done and strengthen your ego.