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How to Let Go of Addictions

February 28th, 2008 by Ryan

How to let go of addictions

Do you ever find yourself pushed by some invisible force to do something that you know is unhealthy?  Perhaps you've been battling with this habit for a long time and have not found any reliable way to overcome it. 

You know what you should do but when you are in the moment, you can't help but give in to the craving. 

Addiction is defined as:

  • A habitual or compulsive involvement in an activity. 
  • A compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance.

I define addiction as "habitually feeling driven to do something in the moment that will drain one's energy and which one will regret later." 

Foods, videogames, relationships, thought patterns, and so on, can all become addictions  if they begin to drain our health, wealth, and happiness.

If we logically understand the addiction is bad for us, then why do we do it?

I believe addictions are not the problem, but rather, a symptom of a deeper problem.  The true problem is with energy, and addictions are the ego's way of dealing with the problem; a form of improper self medication.

I also believe that the solution is not to 'destroy' the addiction but to 'let it go' by bringing in more of the right energy that our body is craving. 

This way we focus on what we want rather than pushing against what we don't want.  This way the law of attraction works with us rather than against us.

The Energy Balancing Act of Addiction 

When our body becomes out of balance, it reaches for the best solution it can find to reestablish balance.  In our advanced world, we receive many mixed signals which may confuse the body into thinking something is helpful when it is not.

For example, when a person feels high anxiety or stress at work, their body reaches for the fastest way to reestablish the energy balance within them: for some, it's a cigarette. 

It instantly calms their nerves and numbs their body.  The trade off of this quick fix is the unhealthy toll it takes on the body, leaving it more imbalanced in the long run.

Smoking is the body's primitive way of trying to balance the energy within itself.  So if one tries to give up smoking by simply stopping smoking, they will feel a HUGE short term energy imbalance of anxiety. 

At this point, it's a battle of will-power to endure the energy imbalance long enough until the body learns to balance it through other means.  Usually this imbalanced is simply expressed through a new addiction.

It doesn't need to be this hard.

Stopping smoking is only half of the solution.  The other half is replacing it with a similar,  life-sustaining energy that addresses the imbalance. 

So in the case of anxiety and cigarettes, the person could learn powerful breathing techniques (part of the smoking high is just inhaling lots of oxygen anyway), meditation or some other practice. 

This will bring in calming, soothing energy to treat the anxiety.  The change from smoking to breathing or meditation doesn't have to be an instantaneous shift, just incremental.  If a person is smoking a pack a day, start to slowly replace it with the new energy. 

A pack a day will turn into 3/4 a pack a day plus 5 minutes of meditation, then 1/2 a pack a day plus 10 minutes of meditation, then 1/4 a pack and 20 minutes of meditation, and so on until its 0 cigarettes and all meditation.  

The reason incremental changes are helpful is because energy often takes a little longer to manifest.  So the first few times of breathing or meditation, they may not notice any change, but the energy is being summoned and continues to build. 

Eventually, the energy will fulfill the person and letting go of the addiction will be the most natural next step.

The Emotional Origin of Addiction 

Another phrase for "energy imbalance" is "emotional imbalance." 

I believe there are two components to addiction: 1) The emotion that started it 2) The body's current craving for it

That is to say that every addiction has behind it a motive for it, or an emotional void trying to be filled.  In one of the EFT training videos, an older woman came to Gary Craig  (the founder of eft) and asked for help with quitting smoking. 

She said she was constantly stressed and cigarettes were the only way to calm her down.  He dug a little deeper and eventually she admitted, with tears in her eyes, that she was sexually abused by her father. 

He immediately started the tapping procedure on her and released years of stuck emotions.  He did a few more rounds and her craving had vanished in less than 10 minutes.  

It was apparent that these emotional wounds were still active in her and smoking was the only way she knew that could ease these feelings.  Once the feelings of anger towards her father had subsided, there was no need to smoke. 

By addressing the emotion, the craving disappeared on its own.

Many people underestimate the powerful connection between emotions and physical health.  They are practically one in the same.

In David Hawkin's Power vs Force, he states

"All attitudes,thoughts, and beliefs are also connected with various pathways, called meridians of energy, to all of the body's organs."

Emotions, which are simply extensions of thought, manifest in your body through your meridians.  This means that when you are feeling negative emotion, your meridians become blocked.  If this blockage occurs for long enough, then it will move to a specific organ and cause a specific health problem.

EFT and TAT are both energy techniques that work directly on fixing your meridians.  By clearing out the meridian blockage at the heart of any addiction, you remove the source of the addiction. 

Then you simply have to wait for the changes in energy to manifest into your physical body.

Consciously Participate in the Addiction

One of the main difficulties of overcoming an addiction is the fact that our conscious brain wants us to stop but our primitive survival brain doesn't.  This creates stress and conflicting drives within us.

A powerful way to transfer power from our primitive brain over to our conscious brain is through simply choosing to participate in the addiction and becoming fully conscious while doing it

Since we know that the addiction is bad for us, when our primitive brain drives us to do it, our higher brain starts to judge ourselves during or after the addiction. 

In an effort to shut off the guilt induced by the thoughts of this logical brain, we ignore or repress the thoughts altogether, effectively giving our primitive brain total power over the addiction until it becomes an automatic and unconscious reaction and we are powerless to stop it.

You can tell if someone is in the automatic unconscious reaction stage if they refuse to face reality.  They go into denial which is them trying to silence outside criticisms, just as they have silenced inside criticisms.

By consciously choosing to participate in the addiction, we are shifting power back to our consciousness until the addiction becomes a choice rather than an unconscious reaction.

So whatever the addiction is, choose to experience every moment of it by being fully present.  Then you can let it go when it suits you.

Using the Power of Meaning instead of the Force of Discipline

Another source of power to support you while letting go of addictions is the meaning you give to letting go of the addiction.  

Why should you let go of this addiction?  How does it fit in with your mission?  Where are you headed with your current path?

True power comes from meaning so the meaning we give to any situation will determine how much energy we have to fuel us.

That is why it is so crucial to find your mission and begin to live it, as that meaning will energize every part of your life.

So for instance, my mission with Yang Town is to empower men with spiritual wisdom. So when I looked at drinking alcohol, which I can feel draining me, I simply have to connect it to my mission.

I think, "Should I let go of alcohol or not?….Well, by letting go of alcohol, my body will be in a better state to receive universal energy and consciousness, which will give me more wisdom in my life, which will inspire the articles I write, which will better help myself and other guys, which will provide me with more abundance, which will further allow me to devote my life to my mission. Done. I will let go of alcohol."

The power to let go of addiction comes from meaning you give it.

So for example, if one of my buddies or an attractive woman is pressuring me to drink, it's comparing their approval against my mission. It's not even a choice. In the past, if the meaning is 'so i can be healthier', fun with my friend in the moment will blow away 'healthier.'

Once you make a decision backed with energy of your mission, you will actually feel really good.  When I made the decision to let go of alcohol, I was actually excited to live this choice.  

What many people do is they try to force themselves to give up an addiction. 

Force is the same energy as the addiction itself. 

Force is all about the short term gratification, is complicated, and requires endless energy to accomplish. Power is simple, graceful, and meaningful. Force burns out quickly whereas power endures for long periods of time.

Force drains.  Power energizes.

That is why it seems like a constant struggle to "make it through another day."  This is simply a sign that one  is addressing the addiction using force. 

When one is using force, they will often beat themselves up if they give in to the addiction.  Under force, its very easy to throw away all the progress with just one slip up.

With power, the person has compassion for themselves.  They understand that the addiction is the body trying to balance itself as best it can.  

If I caved into the temptation of something, then I just say "its ok, I'm coming closer to letting go of this completely" and I don't beat myself up about it.

Letting go of addictions can be exciting and natural once you:

  1. Find life supportive forms of energy to replace the addiction
  2. Use EFT and TAT to balance your emotions
  3. Consciously participate in the addiction to gain power over it
  4. Align yourself with a powerful meaning by connecting it to your mission

This article is the foundation for a series of posts on addictions that men face.  Future posts will include:

  • Letting go of the addiction to porn
  • Letting go of the addiction to videogames
  • Letting go of the addiction to alcohol
  • Letting go of the addiction to bars and clubs
  • Letting go of the addiction to codependent relationships
  • and more

This is not to say that these activities are "good" or "bad."  Things like videogames and alcohol can be a ton of fun.  It's just when they become an addiction, the quality of your life is at risk.  A true spiritual warrior can consciously choose to engage in any activity knowing full well the trade offs inherent in the choice.

It can also be very beneficial in building character to just let go of everything and see how life changes.

Ask yourself, "What people, activities, or substances are draining my health and happiness?" 

"What would my life be like if I let them go?"

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31 Responses to “How to Let Go of Addictions”

  1. How To Stop Smoking » Blog Archive » How to Let Go of Addictions Says:

    […] post Contact the author and continue reading […]

  2. Bart Says:

    Great article, and I look forward to future ones in this series. I’ve had my share of troubles in life, and still do. I’ve let go of a number of harmful things and must say that you are spot on advising a spiritual solution. From my experience, willpower/force centered action against addictions have never really worked on me, nor most people I’ve ever counseled.

    One quote I’ve reflected on again and again goes something like this. “True doctrine, understood, changes behavior faster than a study of behavior will change behavior.” ( Doctrine could mean a change of beliefs, some religious postulates, or other teachings). A similar thread between EFT, TAT, and other such therapies, is adopting new beliefs about ones problem. “I’m okay even though….” or “I love and admire ….”

  3. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    Underneath it all…

    are our addictions to EMOTIONS.

    I’d say collectively it’s like we’re addicted to the adrenal ‘fight or flee’ syndrome. Then there’s our addiction to Doubt, which is behind all our need for validation. Maybe they’re working off each other, you know, like one addiction serving another?

  4. mergingpoint Says:

    The vital –Let go! in every sphere of our Being. Detailed and presented so well, Ryan!.
    Addiction indeed is a quickfix addressing and supressing the periphery, slipping drastically as adhesiveness loses its vigour and if unattended lands up in a grave.
    Meditation, a permanent alternate, addressing the core with no hangups, cleanses the periphery to be a fertile soil. For meditation to happen, one needs to just be and enter into its realm with no agenda.
    whatsoever. Infact, mediation with agenda is yet another addiction only and can never be meditative.
    Knowledge of meditation cant lead one to meditativeness, its in that letting go of the same knowledge, meditation can happen. To jump from a mountain, knowledge takes you to the peak, then its the letting go that lets you experience the actual.

    An insightful and valuable step by step article for knowing and doing. Being, ofcourse is the choice of the reader.

  5. Matt Savage Says:


    This article is really really frickin’ good! As a guy who struggles with certain addictions, I have to say that you really gave me a new perspective on this topic. I’ve always had that mind set of “it’s bad for me and the best way to quit is to just go cold turkey” which as we all know and experience, usually doesn’t work. Being able to replace addiction with something else that we are empowered by seems like a much more practical approach.

    I look forward to reading the rest of the series:)


  6. Evan Says:

    Thanks Ryan.

    There is so much in this post. I especially love that you don’t fall into the fighting yourself (sometimes called discipline) trap. If we fight ourselves there can only be one loser.

    I do think our feelings and physicality are two aspects of the one reality. It’s great that you talk about the bigger picture in dealing with our addictions.

    I also love your emphasis on how dealing with our addictions fits with our mission.

    Thanks for an excellent and rich post.

  7. Blake Says:

    I agree with Evan’s point; fighting yourself is not the best way to go about it. It’s not going to come out pretty.

    This is my first visit here, and I’m impressed. Awesome work man!

  8. snowman Says:

    good stuff man! keep it up

  9. Ryan Says:

    Bart great point about changing one’s beliefs. It’s a lot easier to give up an addiction when your mind is fully aligned with not using it anymore, the problem most people seem to have is they try to give it up but they still regard it as something that will ease their pain. That’s true about eft and tat, it’s an easy way to change your beliefs for the better, instantly. Thanks for the quote, that is a powerful one.

    Sue Ann, very good point about emotions. That stimulated a new section on emotions for this post. At the root of any addiction, there seems to be an addiction to the chemical changes within us. Even relationships can turn toxic due to the various chemical changes in our body. One of the major reasons I let go of an addictive videogame is because I felt like I was addicted to the adrenal rush of virtual battle. I sat in a chair for an hour at a time while my body released adrenal to rapidly mobilize my body…probably not too helpful to my health.

    Merging point, yes this is the vital let go. Letting go of addictions is a practice in surrender, a very useful life improving practice to cultivate.

    Matt, great to hear it man. It seems we all fall into a comfort trap of using addictions at one time or another. Letting go of these crutches can pull us up back into a high quality of life that we didnt even realize we had lost. Most people feel these tugs to change and do their best to overcome addictions. The problem is that we are living in a force society, where instant gratification is the preferred way. True power is the elusive secret to improving one’s life…it’s just a matter of relaxing into it.

    Evan, I appreciate the feedback. I didnt think of discipline as fighting yourself until you mentioned it, but thats exactly what it is.

    Snowman, and Blake, cool to hear from you guys. Thanks for the good words.

  10. Tuplad Says:

    Very very insightful post Ryan! I’m glad that I’m not addicted. I just joke around that I’m addicted to music and kebap, but it can’t be though. Everything comes to choosing and emotions. What I have noticed is that people that turn to stuff WHEN SHIT HITS THE FAN, they get addicted to it. If you get abused and you smoke some pot after that, you like the effect because it got you all the way out of your mind, you get addicted to it.

    The roots are, as Sue Ann said, emotions.

  11. Carloshearted Says:

    Super article Ryan! Your articles are very helpful and insightful. Keep them coming.

  12. Adrian Says:


    little off-topic. I’d like to request an article 😉 About affirmations. They work? Have you used them? And more about them, thanx for attention 😉

  13. Ryan Says:

    Tuplad good point, people turn to addictions to fill that void. Things like the ideas presented on blogs like these will hopefully empower people to fill that void with self love rather than quick fixes.

    Adrian, I have used affirmations (I prefer Afformations, which are affirmations in the form of a question). There is a short meditation in my upcoming book, Revive Your Sex Drive, which features a few VERY useful affirmations which can be done with the provided tuning fork track. The eBook will be published within the next few days via my newsletter.

  14. Robert | reason4smile Says:

    Hi Ryan, great article!!!
    I like your statement here
    “By addressing the emotion, the craving disappeared on its own.”

    Another important point is understanding our past, find out why you are addicted, you can’t change your past, but you can change the meaning that you give on your past.
    It will help to understand your emotion and releasing the craving of addiction.


  15. Ryan Says:

    Hey Robert, that point is key. I am realizing how much of emotional freedom is just changing your view of the past…Thanks for the comment.

  16. Asia'h Epperson Says:

    oops..i think my addiction is reading blogs 😛

    sometimes i do feel that too much of my time is spent reading other’s work than producing my own

  17. oneheart Says:

    This is a good article!

    I realized that I had been addicted to my misery for the longest time. Lately, I managed to let go of my attachment after watching this video…

    I had a failed relationship and I managed to pick myself up from my stuckness after so long. I finally let go of the emotional baggage and free up my trapped energies!

    I’d love to share with ALL OF YOU THIS-

    The video works wonders for me. I hope it works for you too.

    Move on,

  18. Ryan Says:

    Jared, its ok to read other’s stuff for a while. its like taking a deep breath in; eventually you are going to breathe out (ie you will work on your own stuff)….anyway its cool to hear my stuff is addictive 🙂

  19. Acupuncture Says:

    Very thorough post! You really hit all the main points very well. I know for a fact that EFT can work wonders with addiction as well as acupuncture and other energy modalities.

    A couple of things I’ve always done with addictions is a form of NAET that has significant influences from energy psychology. Essentially I treat the person for the thing they are addicted to as if it is an “allergy” and then EFT them to a point where they hate that substance. I’ve gotten people to the point where they feel nauseated just thinking about the item.

    In reality, everything we are addicted to is simply, as you put it also, a state of energy—there is too much energy “behind” the idea/substance you are addicted to. You constantly think about it, etc. Re-program your mind to see that same thing as nasty, disgusting, etc, and you won’t think about it very often and the energy is gone.

    That’s one way….

    I’ve also found EmoTrance to work amazing well to discharge any “energy” build up for anything. I like it better than EFT but not everyone can do it. Basically, feel in your body where you feel the “energy stagnation” when you focus on something and facilitate if flowing through your body till it leaves naturally, repeat till the energy flows freely. This is similar to the release technique and sedona method. All good stuff!

    Great article!

    Acupuncture’s last blog post..My Thanks to George Soulié de Morant

  20. Ryan Says:

    Hey Charles, Thanks for the informative comments. I’ve heard about NAET but never tried it. And that emotrance seems interesting as well. I’ll have to do some research on it. Cheers, Ryan

  21. Jerry Says:

    great article! I have concerns about people becoming addicted to pain killers that were originally prescribed by doctors because of pain from accidents.

  22. Ryan Says:

    Hey Jerry, in those cases, using eft to alleviate the pain is a healthy alternative that actually reduces the need for pain treatment the more you use it (which is the opposite of the drugs effect).

  23. Let’s Let Go :: Let Go of Addiction :: January :: 2009 Says:

    […] From this web site:  […]

  24. Steve Jackson Says:

    If you can master them self hypnosis and meditation are a great way to relieve pain too.

  25. Larry C. Says:

    Hey I’m a student of Yaros as well. maybe I’ll see you in teh forums. Thanks for the article, I was looking for info on addiction and stumbled onto your post.
    Really slick theme too.

  26. OweEng2 Says:

    Wow, didn’t knew about this kinds of things til I read your article. Keep up the good work!

  27. Alysa Hapke Says:

    The discipline of addiction counseling has fought with how to interpret and handle addiction for decades. For some, dependence is better understood as a disease that can respond to the standard treatment of detox, group work and self-help programmes, AA in particular, that center mainly on addictive behaviour. For others, addiction is a behaviour motivated by inherent battles and subjects that demand to be handled in a treatment process designed for every individual, one that encompasses his/her unique inherent psychological dynamics.

  28. Suzie Chhom Says:

    I gave up cigs a week ago and its beginning to make me feel crappy now. My girl friend keeps saying I won’t be able to complete it but I am so strong of this I can. Today I started getting aches and pains inside my lower stomach and I genuinely am craving a drag. I will never give in as I’m stopping smoking for our child. I am blessed to have the electronic cigarette. It really has been very helpful in my opinion.

  29. Denis Gillermo Says:

    You must be willing to release addiction before you can eliminate it. However, it is not very easy to remove addiction.

  30. Paul Says:

    Seeking for help from support groups and guidance from family and friends would definitely help someone fight against his addictions. The role of the important people of the victim is very important.

    Paul Roberts
    Pediatric Urgent Care NYC

  31. DG Says:

    How about drugs?? Would this apply to it as well??
    You say consciously participate in the addiction………..would it be the same thing?
    I am honestly curious about this since it is a struggle.

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