It’s no secret that addictions can be debilitating. While most people initially think of illegal drugs and cigarettes, there are a myriad of addictions that the average person may have: gambling, shopping, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, soda, and cheese are some of the most common.
Learning to overcome your addictions now is critical to your success later, when SHTF. Not only will you find yourself facing cravings that can alter your mindset and your ability to focus, but withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and even make you physically ill. You also run the risk of trading important Preps to feed your addictions, severely limiting your ability to take care of yourself and your family.
Don’t underestimate the power of a “harmless” addiction – if you find that you crave or require something each day, it’s imperative that you take the necessary steps to break your addiction, no matter what it is.
How Addictions Work
Addictions manifest in three distinct ways:
- Loss of control over use
- Continuing use even after adverse consequences
Activities that at one time brought you a positive reaction, can co-opt your brain, causing you to seek them out at any cost.
As you maintain discipline to budget and prepare for any situation that may come your way, your addictions will hold you back from being truly ready to Bug Out or Bug In, protect your family, and make decisions in a calm and rational manner. You may not be able to function properly without access to your addictions.
Withdrawal from hard drugs can be more than just mentally exhausting; physically, you may experience anxiety, fatigue, sweating, vomiting, depression, seizures, and hallucinations. Going through this as SHTF makes you a burden and a liability to your family. You will inevitably take up valuable First Aid supplies and limit your family’s ability to travel if needed.
Withdrawal from caffeine, which is the most commonly consumed drug on the planet, can result in headaches, fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, tremors, and low energy. You cannot make important decisions if your thinking is clouded by negative thoughts, or you lack the energy to follow through on your plans.
In addition to feelings of physical illness and distress, you may find yourself acting out in anger or violence due to your discomfort. You can not expect to act rationally or responsibly as you fight through withdrawals.
Once you accept how serious an addiction of any kind is, it’s time to start work on how to break the cycle.
Steps to Breaking Addictions
Don’t expect to quit your addictions cold turkey; you will find yourself suffering through the worst of withdrawal symptoms, and you are more likely to go back to your old ways when you feel stressed. Instead, take a measured approach, and work on the source of the addiction.
- Start Small – Take small steps to change your patterns, and follow through each day.
- Stay Away from Temptations and Triggers – Stay away from people and places that negatively impact your decisions.
- Choose New Habits – Replace your addictive behaviors with a new, healthy habit. Instead of having a drink, go for a walk.
- Learn to Love Yourself – The root of many addictions is a feeling of inadequacy. Allow yourself to make choices that better yourself, not hurt yourself.
Reach out to people that you trust to gain their support of your efforts. Your true friends will want to help you better yourself.
If you are able to do so, quit under the supervision of a medical professional who can help you balance withdrawal symptoms. Enlist the help of a therapist if you need outside help on sorting through the root of the problem.
Your Mind is Your Most Valuable Tool
Out of all of your Preps, your mind is your most valuable tool. You must keep your mindset and your ability to focus, in top condition if you want to make it through TEOTWAWKI. You need to be prepared to make big decisions at a moment’s notice, and understand that you will sometimes have to do without things you once thought were necessities.
By breaking your addiction to commodities like sugar, coffee, and alcohol, you also open up your ability to barter with any Preps you have of these items. Many people will not have addressed their addictions prior to SHTF, and they will be desperate to get their hands on the comforts they’ve relied on. This can benefit you greatly.
As time goes on, if society does not reemerge quickly, you will be more glad than ever that you addressed your addiction early. As supplies dwindle and you begin to live off the land, your ability to find the items you once craved, will diminish. You will have to learn to do without on a permanent basis.
Do not underestimate the effect that an addiction, no matter how harmless, can have on your physical and mental states. You cannot truly prepare for SHTF until you address your addictions.