Change Begins Within
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Change Begins WithinHow to let go of your addictions.
No book, much less a single chapter, can fully take the place of therapy and 12-step programs in healing an addiction. However, change begins within. The best programs cannot help you if you are not ready to release your addictions. It’s time to make a new vision of your future and let go of any beliefs and thoughts that do not support it.
I hope you find inspiration in the following story of addiction from Teresa, an artist and writer from Oregon:
How I Quit Smoking
I was a light smoker for 30 years, on and off. After my divorce at age 50, however, I became a confirmed, pack-a-day smoker for several years. I was definitely hooked. I couldn’t quit and wasn’t even sure I wanted to—but I had to, for health reasons.
I purchased a very expensive prescription drug that was supposed to curb nicotine cravings. The bonus was that I could smoke during the month or so that it would take for the drug to become effective. Two weeks after starting this drug, I was puffing away, wondering how long it was going to take to give the cigarettes up. I still didn’t have the slightest desire to quit.
Louise’s book You Can Heal Your Life was lying next to me at the time, and I remembered that she had a “smoking section” in it, so I went right to it. She’d written:
You might ask yourself a series of questions like: “Am I willing to give up uncomfortable relationships? Were my cigarettes creating a smoke screen so I wouldn’t see how uncomfortable these relationships are? Why am I creating these relationships?”
Those questions hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought of my friendship with a woman who was opinionated, negative, and highly critical; and then I thought about my marriage, where everything had supposedly been my fault. Louise continued:
Then you notice the reason you’re so uncomfortable is that other people always seem to be criticizing you. . . . You then think about criticism, and you realize that as a child you received a lot of criticism. That little kid inside of you only feels “at home” when it is being criticized. Your way of hiding from this had been to create a “smoke screen.”
I flashed to my childhood, especially to the parents who’d stamped their “Good Housekeeping Seal of Disapproval” on everything my siblings and I said or did. Nothing was ever good enough for them.
I had an epiphany! Stubbing out my half-smoked cigarette, I grabbed the remainder of the pack and ceremoniously crushed every one of them into a pile and announced, “I am willing to release the need to be criticized.”
I quit smoking that day and never took another pill from the prescription. Quitting was easy, so I was ready to start being easy on myself. Since then, I’ve continued my healing journey and have found new relationships that support me in my truth. Before, when I believed I wasn’t good enough, I attracted plenty of people to support that belief. Smoking provided the shield that kept me from seeing the truth.
Now, I watch how I talk to myself and about others. I’ve learned that if I criticize someone else, I’m just criticizing myself. I like me too much to practice that old self-loathing behavior. It just doesn’t fit anymore.