What Is Addiction?
Repeatedly doing something you know hurts you and not being able to stop.
Why Do We Keep Doing It?
* Some people are genetically pre-disposed.
* The addictions have direct payoffs--relaxation, excitement, etc.
* Once we're addicted, it's painful to quit--physically and/or psychologically.
* Addictions usually help us avoid difficult things in our lives.
How Can You Stop?
A lot of things can help. I'll mention of few things that many people have found useful:
* 12-Step's first steps: admit you're powerless, and seek help from a Higher Power, whether that's God or a recovery community or someone else.
* Get professional help: individual counseling, a several-nights-per-week program or a stay-for-a-month program.
* Commit to tolerating a lousy week or month or more. It'll be worth it. Focus on the long-term payoff and hang in there through the temporary pain.
* Stack the deck in your favor: When you're ready to get serious about quitting, set up the best conditions you can. For example, in your first week not smoking, line up friends to distract/entertain/support you each night; line up your favorite meals; get some massages; etc.
* Replace the payoffs of the addiction. Make a list of everything the addiction does for you, then work hard to find other ways to meet those needs, then--most important part--do those things. To stop smoking, you might need to find replacement ways of meeting all these payoffs: soothing/calming, energizing, something to do with your hands, a compelling reason to take a break every hour or so, a reason/format for chatting with other folks every hour or so (instead of on Smoke Break), etc.
No matter which methods you use, you'll need some serious commitment, some support and some ways of meeting the same needs in different ways. Remember: yeah, it'll suck for a while, but then it'll be very, very worth it.
Licensed psychologist, Austin