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Addiction Recovery

Overcoming Addiction: How To Break The Dangerous Cycle

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, MD, MS

Updated on

29 Jul, 2022

Substance addiction is one of the most prevalent and dangerous addictions that thousands of people face daily. Whether someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol or even to behaviors like gambling or sex, addictions can control and destroy the person’s life.

However, breaking addiction is not an easy task. Addiction rewires our brains so that we are constantly in a state of needing the substance to feel good or to perform basic daily functions. Because addiction is chemical and takes place in our brains, we must pay extreme attention and care to how we break addiction and live after confronting our addictive tendencies.

Addiction is frequently called a cycle. This is because many people succumb to addictive habits and behaviors after getting clean from substances. The cycle of falling victim to addiction, getting clean, and relapsing is a complicated pattern to break.

Yet it is possible to break the cycle of addiction and free yourself from the intrusive thoughts and unhealthy behaviors caused by substance addiction. Therefore, it is crucial to break the cycle of addiction and gain control of your life from substances to live a happy and healthy life without using drugs or alcohol.

If you are struggling with the cycle of addiction and are trying to break free, please continue reading. Here, you will learn why it is vital to overcome addiction, tools that can help you break your addictive cycle, and how to get the support you need to beat your addiction.

Why Overcoming Addiction Is Essential To Your Wellbeing

The toll that substance addiction has on our bodies is immense. In addition, substance addiction can have a severe impact on our mental health and cognitive abilities. Understanding how substance abuse and addiction can harm your body, mind, and legs is essential to helping yourself break the addictive cycle.

Many people only consider the impact on their physical health caused by their substance addiction, but many other aspects of life are affected by substance abuse. A substance abuse disorder, also called substance addiction, has an eerie ability to reach into nearly every aspect of a person’s life and cause damage.

Physical Wellbeing

The effect of substance abuse on the health and physical well-being of a substance abuser is always negative. People who suffer from substance addiction typically have a minimum of 1 or more health issues associated with substance use.

Alcohol and many different drugs can cause severe issues and damage internal organs such as the lungs and the heart. The brain can also be affected by drug use, which can slow cognitive function, damage brain tissue, and even cause medical emergencies such as stroke, cancer, mental health disorders or conditions, heart disease, lung disease, and other serious issues.

Many of these health consequences related to drug use are life-threatening or can cause severe medical issues for the rest of the person’s life.

Mental Wellbeing

Substance addiction affects your mental health as well as your physical health. Substance use and mental illness typically coexist, but some mental disorders can be caused by long-term intense substance abuse.

Many people who had never experienced depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety before their substance addiction will experience these mental disorders after or during their addiction. In addition, for those who suffered from mental disorders before becoming addicted to a substance, substance addiction can exacerbate these disorders, making their mental health worse.

People who suffer from mental disorders such as depression or anxiety often self-medicate using substances to cope with their symptoms. While this may work in the short term, self-medicating with narcotics or alcohol can worsen mental health disorders. People with mental health issues and mental disorders are at a higher risk of developing a substance addiction, so people with mental disorders must avoid self-medicating.

Social and Lifestyle Wellbeing

As your physical and mental health decline due to drug use, your social life and lifestyle can also deteriorate. In addition, many people will find their financial situation quickly worsening during their substance addiction.

Spending money on drugs or other substances daily can rack up quite a bill, resulting in a massive amount of money maintaining the addiction.

Many people suffering from substance use disorders will get fired or quit their jobs, many people can lose their homes because they can no longer afford their bills, and substance addiction can cause you to fall into debt if you are not careful with your finances.

In addition, your social life will begin to break down as well. Many people suffering from substance abuse disorders will ignore social gatherings so they can use their substance of choice. Changing it to your lifestyle, such as poor hygiene, not taking care of others around you, not eating enough or eating too much, and ignoring things that used to bring you joy are also changes you may see during a substance addiction.

Social relationships take a lot of damage as a result of substance addictions. Many couples have had dire trouble or broken up due to substance abuse. It is difficult to maintain friendships and family connections while battling addiction, which can cause people to alienate their friends and family to fuel their addiction.

Tools On How To Stop An Addiction In Its Tracks

When overcoming addiction, you must utilize the proper tools and systems to get the help you deserve. There are plenty of social systems and tools at your disposal that you can use to cope with cravings, intrusive thoughts, symptoms, or side effects of your substance addiction.

Beating the addictive patterns in your life and addictive substances takes a lot of time and commitment, but with strong perseverance, you can succeed.

One of the most important tools in overcoming addiction is discovering healthy coping mechanisms to deal with life’s stress and cravings for the substance. In addition, healthy coping mechanisms are important to monitor to ensure they are not becoming addictions.

For example, many people begin to work out more when trying to overcome addiction because intensely moving their bodies helps them not think about their cravings. However, working out all the time can quickly become a bit of an addiction and become unhealthy. That is why it is important to monitor your choice’s coping mechanism to ensure that it is not becoming an unhealthy action or controlling your life.

Healthy coping mechanisms can be anything you can turn to when you feel like you need to use a substance. This can be music, exercise, meditation, yoga, writing, talking to friends, creating artwork, or anything that can take your mind off the cravings and put it into a healthier, more productive mindset.

Another important tool for overcoming addiction is to remove all the addictive substances from your space. Get rid of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or anything that can trigger addiction memories.

Cleaning out your space from addictive substances and paraphernalia can help guide your mind away from the thought of using substances. Plus, it helps to mitigate the risk of relapsing.

Cognitive behavioral therapy or addiction-focused therapy are valuable tools in addiction recovery. These types of therapy are designed to help understand certain negative behaviors (such as addiction) and rework them into beneficial behaviors. Therapy is crucial in stopping an addiction in its tracks because it helps to identify why these behaviors occurred and can help the patient to understand how to handle these addictive feelings in the future.

Lastly, setting a goal for your addiction recovery is important. Give yourself something to work forward to. Many people will try to go for one week without their substance. Once the week is up, they will try for two weeks, then three, and so on. Find something that works for you, and do your best to stick to that goal.

Although these tools are precious in the fight against addiction, they are not foolproof. You must allow yourself room to grow, space to fall down, and forgiveness to succeed at this.

Remember that a relapse might happen, but that does not make you a failure. Instead, it makes you a person struggling with something much bigger than yourself. Allow yourself forgiveness, but remember why you are working towards your goal. Do not let relapses or bad days get you; use them as inspiration and fuel to move forward.

How To Get The Support You Need When Battling An Addiction

The biggest caveat to overcoming addiction is that it is not a solo journey. Addiction is not something you have to handle by yourself all the time. Instead, you can reach out to people around you for support and help.

Family and friends will always be valuable support groups during this time in your life. It is never easy to confess that you have an addiction and are trying to recover, but your trusted family and friends should be there for you when you need them. Make sure the people you are communicating with about your addiction are trusted and are people who will be there for you when you need them the most.

Addiction centers are another place you can go to get around-the-clock support and care. You deserve the help and support that professional, monitored care can give you. Please reach out to a premier treatment facility today to get started on your journey to freedom, free from addiction today.


Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. Clinical Practice Guideline For The Treatment Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Published July 2017. Accessed July 26, 2022.
  2. Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School. 5 Action Steps For Quitting An Addiction. Published January 14, 2021. Accessed July 26, 2022.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction and Health. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published July 2020. Accessed July 26, 2022.

Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean RecoveryAscendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters RecoveryGallus DetoxRecovery UnpluggedAbsolute AwakeningsAchieve WellnessRefresh Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

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