In working with addiction, one of the most basic things that one can do to help oneself is to change up their routine a bit. For instance, someone who knows that they have a glass of wine each day when they come home from work, will begin to fantasize about that glass of wine a few hours before they leave work. However, if they can put a little break in that routine, they might be able to push through the urge. One way to do that would be to schedule a different activity for after work, like a tennis game or a walk with a friend or something else that doesn’t have to involve drinking or happy hour. Another way is to set a timer when they get home. They will not let themselves pour that drink for at least 30 minutes until after they get home. After 30 minutes, the urge might not be as strong because the ritual of it is broken.
You might have a certain ritual around a particular food or a binge. Although binges almost seem to happen spontaneously, the thing to remember is that a binge actually begins forming several hours before it happens. There is the urge, the activating event, or the knowledge that you are going to be in a situation that causes you to binge, ie: alone in the house, visiting parents, coming home from work, out drinking with friends for happy hour… whatever it is, you know from past experience, this can trigger a binge.
Make a plan to break up your routine or to interrupt your ritual. If you know that when you visit your folks you binge after they go to sleep at night, make a plan to go to sleep early, bring a captivating book that you can read in bed, something that will keep your attention. Have a friend on hand that you can call in the evening. Leave the house! Anything that will put a wedge in that routine. If you know that you binge when you get home from work, don’t go straight home from work, or take a new route home from work where you don’t pass the store that you buy binge food from. Set a timer when you get home. Tell yourself that you can binge after 30 minutes if you still want to. You might find that after the original ritual of coming home and eating is broken, that you’re able to resist a binge and enjoy a healthy dinner instead.
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