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Changing Your Life to Reduce Addictive Behaviours and Addiction

Addiction, a formidable adversary that shackles individuals in cycles of dependence and self-destructive behavior, can be overcome. One powerful approach involves developing positive connections to our values and aligning our actions accordingly. As American writer and speaker, Johann Hari, puts it, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection.”

Values: The Foundation of Change

Our values, the principles that guide our behavior, play a significant role in defining who we are. By identifying and connecting with these core values, individuals can create a roadmap for recovery. This connection can provide a sense of purpose and direction, a foundation for meaningful change.

Aligning Actions with Values

Aligning our actions with our values is vital in overcoming addiction. This is the essence of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a psychological approach that emphasizes the importance of acceptance and mindfulness strategies, alongside commitment and behavior change strategies. ACT assists individuals in developing psychological flexibility – the ability to connect with the present moment fully, and based on what the situation affords, changing or persisting in behavior.

Small Steps, Significant Changes

Overcoming addiction is a process, and every journey begins with a single step. Breaking down change into manageable, achievable steps can make the process less overwhelming. An example of this can be seen in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which encourages individuals to make incremental changes in thought patterns and behaviors to overcome challenges.

The Role of Positive Connections

Addiction often creates a sense of isolation, disconnecting individuals from their authentic selves and their social environment. Building positive connections – to oneself, to others, and to the world – can foster resilience and facilitate recovery. Social connections and community support, in particular, can provide a powerful antidote to the loneliness that fuels addiction.

Living Better: The Psychology Behind Freedom from Addiction

The idea of “living better” to overcome addictive behaviors is backed by various psychological theories. Self-Determination Theory (SDT), for instance, posits that fulfilling our basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness leads to enhanced self-motivation, well-being, and growth. When individuals have their psychological needs met, they are less likely to rely on substances or behaviors to fill a void or cope with distress.


The path to overcoming addiction involves reconnecting with our values, taking small steps towards positive change, and fostering meaningful connections. By living better – fulfilling our psychological needs and aligning our actions with our values – we can free ourselves from the shackles of addictive behaviors. It’s a journey of courage, resilience, and transformation, a journey well worth embarking on.

Self Drive Psychology Summary

Overcoming addiction is a journey of personal transformation that requires alignment with one’s values, developing positive connections, and taking small, consistent steps towards change. Psychological theories like ACT, CBT, and SDT support the idea that living a fulfilling and value-based life can act as a powerful deterrent to addiction. Hence, it’s important to remember that even amidst struggle, there’s always hope for change and growth.

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