Does this situation seem familiar, when a friend belches and does not say ‘excuse me’ , You frown and he or she goes like,’ oh sorry, but its normal.’ or when you observe from a distance as someone has just picked his or her nose shakes someone’s hand with great gusto! i could go on and on. How about these phrases,’ oh i’m used to it”, its an everyday thing, i could do this forever…sound familiar?

A lot of times we unconsciously do things in a particular manner, keep a certain routine or order. Now that is habit. it’s like our bodies are wired to some program that basically makes us conform to some gestures, manner of speech, gait, diet, the list never ends.
In this section we will be looking at how our normal habits begin to become abnormal habits , what are they really? Well according to the Cambridge English dictionary, it is something that one does often and regularly sometimes without knowing thy’re doing it. Most habit comeS with rewards and are generally triggered by a cue in the environment, remember when you start biting your pen because the exam question was difficult, it helped you concentrate and an answer popped into your head soon after ( only God and you knows whether it was wrong or right by the way) that is an example of a trigger, habit and reward loop. because of the rewards we receive after performing certain habits we continue to do them.
Now we all know there are good habits and bad ones but if the whole world was asked to write down a list of good and bad habits, you might be surprised to find your good habits in someone’s list of bad ones or vice versa. so when does that routine become bad? when does that habit become a disease? Yes a disease.
The disease called addiction. It’s easy for one to assume that addiction deals with alcohol, gambling, and drugs. But there are non-drug addictions too,like sex addiction, tv addiction,social media addiction etc.
So what is addiction, it is a state where an individual becomes dependent on a substance , activity , or thing such that failure to achieve or obtain it leads to a disturbance in performance of daily activities. So here are a few question to jolt us into reality.
When does taking a few shots of liquor make one an alcoholic, when does taking that pill for body pain become a Substance use disorder, when does watching a few erotic scenes become a pornography addiction, when does eating those fries or ice cream or even fasting become an eating disorder? the basic question we should ask is ,” if/ when i do not get/ use/do/ have ——-(state what your bad habit is), do i feel uncomfortable? in our part of the world, people say it feels like something is missing.
here are some  characteristics of addiction.
  1. secrecy
  2. feelings of guilt after the deed is done
  3. cant seem to stop/ quit / abstain?
  4. Do you put aside/miss important tasks just to use/do/get that thing?
  5. do you feel like you have double standards ( you would advise someone against it but you are doing it anyway?)
  6. consumption is over the top or alarmingly increasing?
Do you want to stop? Here are some few tips;
  1. identify the habit you want to get rid of.
  2. identify the cues or triggers
  3. identify the routine of this habit
  4. note the reward that you get from the habit
  5. choose a different behavior to interrupt the routine or trigger
  6. identify other non-addictive and healthy routines to fill/ replace or give a reward.
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So, to put this in a common scenario, assuming the addiction is masturbating.

  1. Admitting it is the first step to quitting the addiction .
  2. Identify the movie scenes ,the weather or pictures, books that ‘disturb’ .
  3. Take note of the song that you play, the toys, the thoughts, positions that are used .
  4.  Ask yourself do i do this to get something or avoid something?
  5.  Interrupt this by doing something else like not lying in bed awake, turning on a gospel song, playing a game, taking a cold bath(no kidding).
  6. choose another habit preferably a hobby to take you spare time, like cooking, painting, writing etc.
It helps to change the environment when dealing with bad habits and addictions. And also note that this takes time so be patient with life!
Any questions?

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