In our lives, most of us have been through situations where we think our behavior is wrong, but we still end up doing it. Such things as gambling, unfaithfulness or hopeless romantic relationships, overeating, binge drinking, uncontrolled or unnecessary shopping, getting into huge debt to satisfy one’s desire, etc., etc.
Humans are vulnerable to certain conduct like the examples mentioned above. These things can give us a moment of pleasure. This temporary ecstasy or feeling of joy can be really addictive but it’s fleeting.
Even though we know that these things will do nothing but harm, we still often fail to control the urge to give in to the temptation. We usually make excuses and tell ourselves, “This is going to be the last time, I’ll quit tomorrow.” But, it just ends up being an endless cycle of regret.
If we really want to stop something we know is bad for us, the most effective strategy is to stay far away from the addiction or things that trigger us. Keep a long distance – throw away, don’t buy, don’t go, don’t meet – that’s all. No excuses, no exemptions. Be stern with yourself.
For example: a woman can’t help buying name-brand bags or clothes and she continues to burry herself in debt. She knows she’s a shopaholic, but she can’t stop – she’s addicted to the feeling when she shows off her purchases. These luxury items are a status symbol which is a compensation for her bad financial situation. If she really wants to change her life, she has to find the courage to take the first leap – to make a firm decision to stop shopping and prioritize becoming debt-free.
Looking at this topic from the Buddhists perspective – the real reason why people have addictions is because “facing the difficult and dreadful problems in life is challenging, to the point people want to run away from reality for a moment”, and as a result some of us may become addicted to terrible behavior -gambling, overdrinking, binging, etc.
In a word, they are not happy, rather terribly struggle towards something, and they blame something or somebody to hide the truth. These people should look back why these problems happened or were brought on to them, and find the solution. Otherwise, they can’t get over their addiction.