How to get rid of dependence on a person: advice from a psychologist

The word “addiction” often brings up associations with gambling addiction, narcotic substances, and alcoholism. Unfortunately, not every addiction is so obvious, so it is difficult to fight in many cases. Especially when it comes to psychological rather than chemical dependence. It is not always easy to recognize the danger in an excessive love of caffeine, which you can no longer do without, in an addiction to sugar, the amount of which is growing exponentially, in going shopping with a large amount every time you “have a bad day”, you need to cheer up or relieve stress. Our brain is designed this way: when artificially stimulated by positive emotions, it becomes addicted to them, then it gets used to it, and we have to increase the “dose.”

To understand what we are dealing with, it is important to define addiction and highlight its main features. If you recognize the problem at the initial level, you can prevent negative consequences.

You need to start with your head

Everything is within us. As one Nepali thinker and writer said: “We are addicted to our thoughts. We can’t change anything unless we change our thinking.” That is why, try to find the roots of your addiction before getting rid of it: what forces you to do things that interfere with your normal life again and again. And admit that you have it. Without recognition, the struggle will not begin. Ask yourself a question: what is my addiction, what is stopping me from living? Can I control this condition? How can I influence this addiction?

Awareness and recognition of dependence is the first and necessary step that stimulates the process of change. But to start this process, you must actually want to live differently. You need to be prepared for difficulties, disruptions and worries. Ask yourself: why should I change anything? Why does this need to be done now and not later?

If you don't have enough compelling reasons to start making changes today, you may not have the persistence and motivation to achieve the results you want. Therefore, it is very important to answer these questions and find real reasons for change.

Find out your addiction type

Here are the two most common types of addiction:

  1. Dependence as a desire to dissolve in a partner, refusal of one’s own responsibility and determination. The main idea: “I don’t exist without you.” The feeling of being part of another, the feeling that your partner is much better, stronger, more interesting than you. People of this type are prone to masochism.
  2. Dependence as a desire to devour a partner, dominate him, control him. Main idea: “You are part of me.” The desire to dominate a partner, to absorb his individuality. People of this type are prone to sadism.

All types of addiction have approximately the same causes. And the ways to get out of this state into a healthy relationship are also approximately the same for all types of addiction.

Take responsibility

You shouldn’t blame anyone or anything for your addictions, shift responsibilities, or justify your actions.

Instead, analyze what led you to your addictions and try to accept your own responsibility for every decision and action that led to this state. After all, no matter what happens, no matter who provokes us to certain actions, the last word is always ours, we choose our path. There is no way to change what happened in the past; you can only work through the consequences and move on, building new opportunities.

It is very important not only not to blame people and circumstances for what was done, but also to blame ourselves. If you have recognized and accepted the addiction, forgive yourself and move on to new challenges. And also think about how your addiction has affected your relationships with other people, and whether what happened interferes with your interaction with those you love and value. Reach out to these people and explain that you are at a new stage in your life, regret what happened, and need support in the future.

Let go of attachment by focusing on gentle, deep breathing

Whenever you depend on someone or something, your mind becomes deeply attached to it. In this case, you need to practice detachment while staying in the present moment.

The best way to let go of something is to let go of all your thoughts at once, freeing your mind of the need to control or cling to anything. You can do this by focusing on your breathing.

“Accept yourself with every breath. Let go of the whole world with every exhalation.”

Find a quiet place. Start focusing on your breathing, gradually slowing it down. Of course, you will still be distracted by thoughts, feelings, sights, smells and sounds. If this happens, gently acknowledge it and return your focus to just your breath and body.

Whenever you feel caught up in the chaos of life, take a moment to return to slowing your breathing. This creates a calm space that can free your mind.

It also allows you to relax a little, despite how crazy the rest of the world can be.

Take a look at yourself and do some self-analysis

Ask questions:

  • Why did I do this?
  • What are the patterns in actions?
  • What (who) usually provokes addiction?
  • How can you avoid these temptations?
  • What do you think during and after playing/taking alcohol/drugs/being on social media, etc.?
  • Do you believe in deliverance?
  • What fears arise before the “new” life?
  • What is their reason?
  • How can you get rid of addiction and spend your free time usefully?

By answering these questions, you analyze yourself, your feelings and actions. Denote the cause-and-effect relationship of the dependence. Moreover, the answers will help you understand why you value your addictions so much and why they are so difficult to get rid of.

Additional Tips

If you cannot cope with a constant addiction and the methods listed do not help, you can resort to additional tips:

  • Start a business or hobby that interests a person
  • It is necessary to constantly be in a busy state, allowing a person not to be repulsed by external factors that have a bad influence
  • If the day went badly and left you feeling unwell, you shouldn’t get hung up on the fact that using a constant “drug” will help you avoid problems
  • Bring new things into life. For example, change your wardrobe, make repairs, change jobs, change your environment, go abroad.
  • Fill the mind with structural thoughts
  • Follow the advice.
  • Give up prejudice and open your mind
  • Plan your daily routine

Future Plan

After the self-assessment stage, you can sketch out a plan for your new life that will replace addiction. This does not mean that you need to come up with a new addiction of this kind, no. Addiction is a habit that has developed over time and is deeply rooted in the psyche. And to eliminate it, you need to find a healthy replacement that will satisfy the same needs.

For example, people smoke for many reasons. Some to relieve stress, others for social reasons, others simply because the habit makes you feel comfortable and safe. And in order to eliminate this dependence, each person must realize what needs he satisfies. And also replace them with a new habit that meets the same needs. Some people try to escape from cigarettes with candy, chewing gum, or breathing exercises. Everyone has their own methods, depending on the reasons. To help you understand, try answering the following questions: How can I get what I need without smoking cigarettes? What can help me meet my basic needs?

Essentially, you need to make sure that indulging your addiction is no longer worth your time and effort, and that it's time to get rid of it. Your new healthy habit/hobby has much more value.

How to overcome any addiction: a guide


Sometimes I get the impression that I was sent into this world to experience many addictions and find ways to deal with them.

During my generally short life I managed to get rid of:

  • smoking - after 12 years of continuous experience, a pack a day
  • alcohol addiction (more than once!)
  • sugar addiction
  • internet addiction
  • caffeine addiction

Over time, I developed a real plan on how to get rid of this or that addiction forever . And recently I thought: shouldn’t I share my experience with my readers? After all, you won’t be able to live an interesting, full and free life while you have an addiction. YOU DEPEND ON HER, which means that you are no longer your own masters.

In this article, I have collected all the information that will help you get rid of what controls you and your life without your consent.

It is addiction that drives you to the kiosk on a dark, chilly night for cigarettes or pizza. (Yes, yes! I have clients who, having quit drinking alcohol and/or smoking, began to suffer from a severe addiction to food. So much so that the best way to fall asleep and/or calm down is some kind of junk food like chocolate bars or raisin buns). And it’s addiction that makes you say “yes” to a glass of wine, even if you’re driving or pregnant. And she, my dear, makes you nervously glance at your phone from under the table when you are sitting in a company or at a meeting, so that others “don’t see” (You, of course, understand that everyone SEE? I am very touched by people who looking sideways at their phones hidden in bags or under the table during some events or meetings, sincerely (?) believing that no one notices anything. Do you really think that no one sees? :-) )

In general, before we understand how to overcome addiction, let’s define: what exactly can be called addiction?

If I like to drink a glass of wine with friends a couple of times a month, is this an addiction or not? What if I smoke 2 cigarettes a day? Is this also an addiction? This is quite a bit. Or if I drink a small cup of freshly prepared organic coffee every day. Should this also be considered an addiction? Let's figure it out.

I propose this definition of dependency:

Addiction is a thing (action/substance/product) that has the following characteristics:

  1. Addiction changes your habitual behavior (for example, if you weren't addicted to cigarettes, no one would kick you out of the house on a rainy night).
  2. Giving up the subject of addiction causes you physical and/or psychological discomfort. That is, you make a decision no longer..., but after following it, you begin to feel anxiety to one degree or another. For example, when you give up social networks, you understand that it was your own decision, but at the same time your mind begins to frantically look for excuses - why you still need to go there and check the situation “with one eye.” Or when we decide to give up coffee, but on the first morning without this drink we constantly think about it. Physiological discomfort is classic withdrawal symptoms in the form of headaches, sleep disturbances, increased nervousness, mood swings, fatigue of an “inexplicable” nature...
  3. The subject of addiction appears in your life with the same frequency. That is, this is what you do every day, every Sunday, every evening or... In general, when you begin to become ritualistic and routine in your relationship with this thing/substance/action, then addiction is born. And if this ritual cannot be performed for some reason, then you also begin to suffer and get nervous. For example, if you are used to starting your morning with a cup of coffee, but at some point you don’t have it at hand, then you will feel “something wrong” and the first thing you do when you leave the house is to find an opportunity to drink a cup. But if, for example, you sometimes smoke a cigarette with a friend, and this happens outside of some scheme, then most likely you are not yet addicted to cigarettes.

By the way! Dependencies can also be on useful things/substances ! For example, many, having started to eat properly, can no longer stop, and every raisin roll, accidentally eaten under stress, throws them out of balance. Or people for whom life is not sweet unless they sweat in the gym 5-7 times a week. Or those for whom smoothies for breakfast are so important that they even begin to carry blenders and special glasses with them on trips, and before the trip they carefully scour the Internet to buy fresh herbs and vegetables in the immediate vicinity around the hotel (And I’m not kidding! Such There are people in my practice. Those who have completed my MINI-detox program, which is based on morning smoothies, very often laugh that they have now developed an addiction to smoothies!)

In general, now it has become clear to us what addiction is. Now let's decide what to do with it. Of course, I assume that not everyone wants to get rid of this or that addiction. Some people, even on their deathbed, dying of lung cancer, will burn cigarettes... Everyone has a choice. But if one day you decide that that’s it, it’s time to take control of your life, and not be led by cigarettes, the Internet, messenger, wine, sugar and…. Here's a detailed guide on how to do it.

Addiction Recovery Step #1: Admit that you have an addiction.

We cannot get rid of unknown things. The classic way to solve any problems is to first admit that they exist. I can’t quit smoking if I sincerely think that “What’s wrong with that? I only have 2 cigarettes a day! My friend has a whole pack, and I…” Or if I believe that I need caffeine to wake up in the morning and, in principle, am not ready to consider other ways to increase energy , then it is unlikely that I will be able to get rid of the habit of drinking coffee. Therefore, to begin with, albeit reluctantly, admit that addiction exists, and the absence of these things will make, albeit temporarily, your life not so wonderful and will make you (a little) nervous.

Step to get rid of addiction #2: write a list of why you need to overcome it

You will need this list so that if you are tempted to give up on everything, you will read it in time and remember WHY IT ALL WAS STARTED. A kind of list-reminder, it’s also a motivator. For example, you can write that if I stop eating sweets , then I will become slimmer, my skin condition will improve , I will be able to respect myself that I have completed something, that my hormonal balance will improve and I will be able to get pregnant , my acne will go away and PMS... Or if I quit smoking, I will sleep better at night, stop coughing, look fresher and smell delicious. It is important to bring the matter of finding motivation to the end.

I personally recommend writing such lists not just “I want to stop eating donuts so that I can be thin and everyone likes me,” but continue to ask myself the question “WHY?” Why should I be thin, smell delicious and have a blooming appearance? To meet an interesting person of the opposite sex, to be loved, to not suffer from embarrassment when in the fitting room my trousers size XL don’t fit on me, and the caring saleswoman asks if she should bring you trousers a larger size... There could be a million reasons. And you will need to find yours.

By the way! It may well turn out that already at this stage you will change your mind about giving up sweets/cigarettes/alcohol/social networks... It may turn out that you won’t get much by giving up your addictions. Perhaps you didn’t give a damn about the saleswoman from the fitting room and sincerely like yourself the way you are. You are already loved by those who are dear to you. In any size: even L, even XXXL. And that you associate a cup of coffee in the morning in silence with something super pleasant, and you are not at all ready to give it up for the sake of some ephemeral increase in energy. So at this stage everything will become clear.

Addiction Recovery Step #3: Choose a Recovery Strategy

If you decide that yes, it’s worth it, and you need to overcome your addiction, then choose which method of action is closer to you. There are 2 options:

  1. Cut from the shoulder. Refuse sharply, in one fell swoop, knowing full well that it will be VERY bad, but not for long. Not long for everyone in this case is different. This time depends on the subject and degree of your addiction, as well as on the characteristics of your psyche and physiology. For example, when giving up sweets, some people eat sausage for only 5 days, and for others it lasts for 2 weeks. Someone suffers without cigarettes for only a couple of weeks, while others can suffer seriously for a whole month: with physical ailment, severe psychological discomfort and similar troubles.
  2. You can give up gradually . That is, if you smoke a pack a day, you can gradually reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Or if you drank 5 cups of coffee a day, then first switch to 3, 2, 1 and then you can give up completely. It sounds very comfortable, but... I want to warn you right away: in this case, physical and psychological withdrawals will pass more calmly, but the process of refusal will increase SIGNIFICANTLY. Personally, I always chose the first method: take it and quit in one fell swoop, suffer to the fullest for several days, and then begin to come to my senses. Because sawing a wound with a blunt knife for a long (indefinite!) period, as in method number 2, personally does not suit me at all. But! These are features of my character. Perhaps you are cut from a different cloth, and method number 2 is more suitable for you. It is also important to understand that method number 2 is not easier! Because you will have to test your willpower for a long (indefinite!) time.

As Allen Carr, my assistant in quitting cigarettes, wrote: there is a monster inside of us, and it requires food. Every time we indulge our addiction, we feed it and make it stronger. And you can either immediately de-energize it, experiencing severe discomfort, or gradually reduce it in size, while simultaneously reducing the amount of its “food” (our addictions).

Addiction Recovery Step #4: Prepare

Prepare methods of distraction from temptations in advance. For example, when giving up sweets, you can write down what else gives you pleasure. You can call a friend, chew some sunflower seeds, take a walk in the park, drink tea (without sugar)... If you give up alcohol, try not to test your patience and don’t plan a lot of parties. It’s the same with cigarettes: very often, when drinking a glass, you unbearably want a cigarette. Therefore, it is better to keep parties to a minimum during this time. Yes, life is short! But this is just a PERIOD when you will have to go through the first, most difficult period of fighting addiction.

In addition, remove all temptations away! Of course, I believe in your exceptional willpower, but it can fail. Therefore, there should be no chocolates “for children” or wine “for a special occasion” in the house. If you give up Internet addiction, I strongly recommend setting aside time for a vacation where there is simply no Internet. I did exactly that and have never regretted it. The week offline was very sobering. By the way, I think that if you give up cigarettes, this would also be a good option: go to a place where there are no cigarettes and nowhere to buy them. I understand that you can’t live like this forever, but at least this way the first critical days will pass easier.

Addiction Recovery Step #5: Don't think it's easy. Appreciate addiction

I believe that most good initiatives end in failure because people underestimate the scale of the event. They think: “Ah! what nonsense! Yes I can easily!!! I am strong and I have no addiction. I can easily not drink/smoke/eat sweets, and now I can easily prove it to everyone.” That's all. You are trapped! Only by being serious about the process can you get rid of your addiction. Please don't think that this will be easy. If it were easy, then you would have already stopped at point No. 1, having discovered that there is no dependence.

You must understand that if you give up some substances, then both physiological and psychological addiction are on their side. Sweets are often used to alleviate life's problems, cigarettes help you relax, and caffeine invigorates you. In addition, for example, sweets change the composition of your microflora, and then the microorganisms decide what you eat and drink. a whole article about why it is so difficult to change eating habits

Addiction Recovery Step #6: Determine Your Time of Struggle

After studying the experiences of other people who have successfully given up similar addictions, choose a time frame for yourself—how long you plan to devote yourself to this fight. For example, those who quit smoking are not recommended to return to cigarettes for at least a year. If you give up sweets and caffeine, it is not recommended to consume them for 2-3 months. And it’s better not to return to drugs at all. For example, when I quit smoking, I promised myself that I would go without cigarettes for a year. And she survived! And then I was afraid to return - I was sorry for the effort spent. 12 years have passed and I recently smoked. Just a few days in a row on vacation. And fortunately, I discovered that, despite my smoking husband and colleagues, when I returned home, I had absolutely no desire to return to cigarettes either on weekdays or on holidays. That is, I happily stated that there was no more addiction.

Addiction Recovery Step #7: Follow Your Strategy

Now it's time to act. Everything is simple here (?): you take it and... refuse. Here I recommend reading the written motivator from point 2 a couple of times a day to remind yourself why you started all this. It is also necessary to praise yourself, encourage yourself and reward yourself with something useful and pleasant. Let it not be food (if you gave up cigarettes, you started eating raisin buns to calm down: this way you are simply replacing one addiction with another).

I also suggest writing an incentive plan. Something like: a week without sweets - new shoes. Two weeks - massage in a salon with aromatic oils. A month without sweets - 2 days of mini-vacation. The rewards must be real! They should really make you happy. Because if I encourage myself with the thirty-fifth lipstick I don’t need, then the joy will be incomplete. You have to choose something that you have dreamed of for a long time, but either you were sorry for the money, or you didn’t have the time. Because rewards should motivate!

What's next?

Next, you will have to be on guard for some time and monitor your reaction to the items of your former addiction. You can try to return this activity/substance into your life after the scheduled date for the sake of interest (except, perhaps, drugs). After all, no one will die from a cup of cappuccino with cheesecake or from a glass or even several of wine. Life goes on! And now you can rightfully surf the Internet with pleasure, and eat sweets, and drink coffee, and alcohol, and even smoke a cigarette a couple of times a year (if you are not afraid that the addiction will return: I was afraid for 6 years, and then I I even forgot that I once smoked, and I no longer wanted to). In general, now you can enjoy life and even the items of your former addictions. The only difference will be that now YOU will be in control of the situation, not THEY. And the question “how to overcome addiction?” - will no longer stand in your way

What do you depend on? And do you have experience giving up addictions? More and more often, I observe a real addiction to sweets among those around me. You can also read about how to part with him painlessly and forever here.

Source - author's blog (dietitian-nutritionist and certified functional medicine specialist, Denmark)

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Active actions

Your goal is to gradually adopt a new lifestyle until it becomes habitual. It won't be easy, of course. You may find yourself returning to past addictions and experiencing small failures. There's nothing wrong with that, it's normal. Admit you made a mistake and move on. The main thing is to maintain the desire and confidence in better changes.

When you achieve some victory over your addictions, reward yourself with something special. For example, take an unplanned day off or go for a walk in a pleasant company that will not remind you of your past life and lead to addiction.

And don't expect that you can get rid of addiction in a day, a week or even a month. This is a long-term process that takes time. That is why, do not lose vigilance and perseverance, and you will definitely achieve the point where addiction will no longer have power over you.

Examples of actions you can take to overcome addiction:

Why does a person become addicted?

Dependence on the person, reasons:

1. Due to the fact that the addict has poorly constructed personal boundaries and he does not realize where his personality ends and where another person begins, emotional dependence on the person develops. He does not understand where his desires and dreams are, and where others are. He considers everything he wants to be common; everything his loved one wants either appropriates or rejects.

The addict also feels bad about his body, he cannot refuse intimacy, say “no,” and he himself suffers greatly if he is refused. For him, any “no” is a terrible insult and rejection. The patient does not live his own life, but the life of his loved one, his own desires and aspirations are nothing more than a dream, and he considers merging with another to be the only reality.

2. Dependence on a loved one can also arise due to a serious illness or the loss of a loved one; death of a parent, especially at an early age. The person is so frightened and shocked by this grief that he devotes all his strength to maintaining a close connection with his new loved one. The psychology of the traumatized person forces one to quickly become attached and completely dissolve in another, in the illusory hope that this closeness will never end.

But the basis still remains the inability to hear and appreciate oneself, diffuse personal boundaries. Such a person is anxious and scared alone, he does not feel like a full-fledged person, and he feels life only in merging with someone. Deep down, he feels unworthy of attention and love, and therefore a constant companion of painful attachment is a terrible fear of loss. He interprets any negative sign as proof that he is not loved.

Individuals prone to pathological love attachment constantly live in fear and anxiety, because of this they stick to their partner more and more, it seems to them that if they are constantly nearby, catching every gesture, look and word of their loved one, this will protect them from breaking up .

Important The basis of any addiction is the desire to shift control and responsibility for one’s own life, which a person does not know what to do and will never learn to cope with.

The more information you have about your addiction, the better you will be able to control your behavior.

Information can be taken from anywhere: books, articles, studies, videos, movies, meetings, support groups, lectures, etc. Moreover, you are not the only person who has encountered a similar problem. Therefore, the experience of other people and support (both friends on the problem and specialists) help very well in such situations.

Meet people who are working with addiction or have successfully overcome it. You will definitely get help and make friends.

Causes of addiction

One of the most common reasons for dependence in relationships is childhood dislike. It is generally accepted that a child should love his parents. But at the same time, it often happens that mom or dad punish, insult the child, or notice him only when, in their opinion, he deserves attention.

A mother may, for example, send conflicting signals to her child: “I punish you because I love you” or “I criticize and humiliate you, but only so that you become better, because I love you.” A child's instinct is to run to his mother in any situation. She is the most precious and most valuable thing he has. She alone will always protect and help. But if at the same time she insults, humiliates or even beats the child, then he develops a distorted idea of ​​love. Love in his mind will be associated with danger, fear, anxiety, negative emotions and feelings.

Such a child learns to beg for crumbs of love from his mother (or father), and in his head, love looks exactly like this - it is always not enough, and it goes side by side with suffering. The child becomes accustomed to the scenario: “I will suffer a little, suffer, and then my mother will show her love for me. Mom will punish me, insult me, spank me, reject me, but then I will receive the long-awaited hugs.”

And the child, not seeing before his eyes another model of love other than this, begins to think that this is love. This is how addiction is born. A child with such a mother will transfer the love given to him in childhood to love relationships in adulthood. Perhaps he will take on the role of the mother (which is described here), or perhaps he will remain in the role of the child, begging for pitiful grains of love from his partner. It is also likely that he will take both roles with him into adulthood, and will change these two opposite roles with different partners, depending on which role the partner will take on.

Help another person with this problem.

One of the good indirect ways to get rid of addiction. When you help someone, you take a different approach and no longer think like a victim, but look for solutions.

By helping other people, you gain new knowledge and experience in what it takes to overcome addictions. As a result, you are doing effective work with your addiction.

Identify where you are being cruel to yourself

A good way to bring self-harm to a conscious level is to keep a list of your thoughts, feelings and activities that bring you down.

Analyze whether each of these reactions is fair? Would you do the same to someone you love? Can you replace this reaction with another?

“I'm not a pessimist. I'm a cold, tired, hungry optimist."

To make friends with yourself, you need to listen to your inner world. Including its negative manifestations.


Write a note or commitment to yourself that identifies your personal rationale and reasons for quitting your addiction. They can be completely different, but the main thing is that they are effective. You need to find motivation to act; no one will force you to give up your addiction. People who have undergone this therapy willingly shared their examples:

  • “When I get rid of addiction, I will be able to see my children again”;
  • “A healthy life will allow me to gain confidence and self-esteem”;
  • “A life without addiction guarantees a well-paying job.”

We can conclude that the motive is different for everyone. The main thing is to find it and pursue your goal.

Differences between addiction and love

Love is a huge resource, thanks to which we grow and develop, experience joy and happiness, and achieve great heights. Dependency is a union in which you are boiled, like a frog in a saucepan, the water in which is slowly heating up. At first you will feel warm and pleasant, but over time you will feel unwell. You will hear alarm bells, but try to turn a blind eye to them. After some more time, you will be cooked without even thinking about jumping out. And all because you cooked slowly, unobtrusively and unnoticed.

Dependent relationships differ from love in that in them you suffer and suffer, like that frog in a hot pot. Your level of happiness in a relationship is the main indicator of whether you are in a loving or dependent relationship. If you feel like a happy person in a relationship, then most likely it is love. And if you suffer most of the time in a relationship, then most likely you have a love addiction.

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