Part of the difficulty with overcoming an addiction is that all our lives, we’re trained to find fulfillment in the completion of a task. You mowed the lawn, here’s five dollars; you finished the essay, here’s an A; you worked two weeks, here’s your paycheck.
But kicking a habit–whether it be alcohol, drugs, pornography, Netflix binging, or anything else–has no end. There’s never a day when we wake up and say, “Today I am cured of my addiction. Today I’m done.” With time, the urges diminish and become easier to resist, but they are always there.
Breaking an addiction never has a finish line. It’s a marathon without end. But relapsing, giving in to temptation, does feel like an ending. There’s a psychological, even physical relief that comes with relapsing, even when it’s immediately followed by regret. We prefer the closure of failing to the uneasy continuousness of success.
If you have an addiction you’re trying to overcome, find a support group. Even if there isn’t an established, widespread organization for your addiction (porn and video games come to mind), find people you love and trust to keep you accountable and help you through the tough times. And work with them to set milestones for yourself. Recovery is an unending road, but these markers can help bring the feeling of fulfillment that we’re conditioned to strive for. Six years or eight months, three weeks or two days…find a date for your freedom, and own it.