Being addicted or dependent on any habit or thing can end up spoiling your life. Many times, they tend to be costly too. We look at four major addictions in Singapore today and how to deal with them – alcoholism, gambling, shopping and the internet. However, before we start, let’s look at the basic ways to get rid of addictions in general first.
- Accept: The first step towards recovery is always acknowledgement of the problem. If you do not accept that you are addicted to something, nobody can help you. By understanding that an issue exists, you are taking the first step and the rest will follow.
- Understand the cause: Most people use addictions as escape mechanisms. Addictions help them ignore pain and be happy temporarily. If you have an addiction, try to find the reason behind it. Once you know it, you will find the path of recovery faster.
- Ask for help: Once you know you have a problem, it is best to share it with family and close friends who will make sure you are out of it soon. Telling them will not only lessen the burden on you but also show you many perspectives and channels to improve. You could also take the professional help path.
- Be determined: Since you have help now, why not make up your mind to overcome the addiction? Always remember, addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside. If you are determined to quit, you will.
Have Patience: Mahatma Gandhi once said, “We cannot, in a moment, get rid of habits of a lifetime.” Give yourself time. Remember, recovery isn’t a race. Never be disheartened if you do not overcome your addiction completely within the expected time. Just be focused and don’t give up.
Now that you have the basic guidelines on overcoming an addiction, let’s take a look at specific addictions.
Drinking alcohol socially is fine. However, it becomes a problem when you make it a habit and it starts affecting your personal and professional life. If you feel you are addicted to or getting addicted to alcohol, it’s time to take action. You could deal with it by yourself or take professional help.
If you choose the first option, you must bid your drinking buddies goodbye and try to limit your access to alcohol by not stocking it up at home.
The second option is to join a specialist addiction treatment provider such as The Cabin and National Addictions Management Service. These places assure effective treatment through professionals and complete confidentiality. You just need to take the first step of approaching these organisations and leave the rest to them.
Gambling addiction generally starts as a fun diversion and then takes over your life completely. Compulsive gambling is when your life starts revolving around it and you are ready to put anything at stake to gamble.
Being secretive only makes it worse. You yourself will be shocked at the things you do to continue gambling. If you feel you are addicted to gambling, online or offline, take charge now.
It is important to understand that gambling cannot be a source of income since it is a risky affair. Try to keep yourself busy with healthy activities or take up a new hobby. Approach a friend, relative or colleague who can help you. Make sure someone takes control of your finances before you mess the situation up completely.
Singapore has various gambling support groups such as Ray of Hope and One Hope Centre. If you are a compulsive gambler, it is best to seek professional help before you face a financial meltdown.
Remember how Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic or even Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City end up feeling a compulsive urge to buy expensive scarves and shoes? You might love these chick flicks, but they have an important message to convey.
Shopping is a fun activity until it becomes an addiction. Compulsive shopping is a psychological disorder that is sometimes difficult to identify before it is too late. If you are spending more than you can afford, shopping when emotionally low or even high, feeling guilty post your shopping sprees, and letting shopping affect your personal life, you must do something about it.
With Singapore’s glitzy malls and endless online shopping options, it is becoming easy to fall prey to compulsive shopping and difficult to get rid of the addiction.
Make sure you always have a list of items you really need ready before you go shopping. Also, allocate a budget to each shopping session and stick to it. Do not indulge in impromptu shopping sprees. Use your credit cards wisely and ensure that the bills are always paid on time. Finding the real cause behind your dissatisfied mind might also help curb your shopping addiction. Lastly, you can seek counseling at community services such as We Care.
According to AIA’s 2016 Healthy Living Index Survey, ‘Singapore remains one of the most digitally engaged countries across the region, with Singaporeans spending an average of 3.7 hours online per day on non-work usage, much higher than the regional average of 3 hours.’ The survey further reveals, ‘In fact, more than 6 in 10 (62%) adults admit that they are addicted to social networking and the internet.’
In this fast-paced world, it is becoming a habit to be connected and updated all the time. With Singapore being the most wired nation in the world, it does not come as a surprise that it is also a nation with loads of people with sleep and weight issues. Along with mental and emotional disturbances, internet addiction causes back pain, ophthalmic disorders, and headaches. With parents not limiting their computer, television, and other gadgets usage, children are growing up thinking it is a way of life, and it’s going to start costing them when the health problems kick in.
You can do a lot to overcome it. For starters, limit your daily internet usage to a fixed number of hours and reduce it gradually. Divert your attention to other activities such as sports, fitness, or a part-time job. Head out to meet your friends, instead of only chatting with them online. You could also seek professional help from treatment centres such as The Cabin.
At some point, you are going to want to give up. Don’t. Pull yourself together.
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