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Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

March 15, 2024

Table of Contents

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease that can also pass down through the generations, so if you or a loved one wants to learn more about effectively breaking the cycle of addiction, we’ll be giving you some pointers in that direction. 

According to 2019 NSDUH data, roughly 20 million adults in the United States have substance use disorder, 14.5 million of these diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. 

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SAMHSA data shows that one in eight children live in a household with at least one parent diagnosed with a past-year substance use disorder, not surprising given the scope of alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder in the US. 

Learning how to break the cycle of addiction, then, has never been more important, with scientists estimating between 40% and 60% of your potential for addiction is genetic. 

Let’s take a closer look at the things you can do to break the cycle and get addiction treatment.

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction in Families

Here are some ways you can push beyond addiction, even if it runs in the family: 

  • Focus on things you can control
  • Seek treatment if you need it
  • Talk about addiction with others
  • Practice some relaxation techniques
  • Build a new and healthier life for yourself

Focus on things you can control

If you are struggling with addiction to drink or drugs and you’re feeling aggrieved because you believe this is down to genetics, reframe that line of thinking. 

You’ll achieve nothing by expending energy on things you cannot control. The more you become wrapped up in negative and self-defeating thoughts, the more this impacts your frame of mind and mood. 

Focus instead on those things you can control, such as engaging with addiction treatment and addressing the problem at hand.

Seek treatment if you need it

It’s time to be honest with yourself if you are abusing substances of any nature to the extent addiction and dependence set in. 

If you need treatment, you should follow our pointers below and set the wheels in motion.

Talk about addiction with others

If family members abusing substances are impacting you and affecting your day-to-day life, don’t suffer in silence. 

Reach out to your social network and open up to others rather than fighting powerful and confusing emotions alone.

Practice some relaxation techniques 

Whether you are still actively addicted to substances, or you are underway with your recovery, relaxation techniques can help you avoid substance abuse in the face of stressors. Examples include: 

  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Biofeedback
  • Visualization
  • Rhythmic exercise

Build a new and healthier life for yourself

Addiction may be a part of your past, but you don’t need to let this define your future. 

Stand up to the scourge of intergenerational addiction and build a healthier, more fruitful, and more productive life for yourself.

How to Break the Cycle of Addiction

Easily actionable ways of stopping the addiction cycle include: 

  • Admit you have a problem
  • Ask yourself why you want to stop using drinks or drugs
  • Start researching rehab centers
  • Engage with the right addiction treatment
  • Make sure you have adequate aftercare in place when you complete a course of treatment

Admit you have a problem

Denial is a common symptom of addiction. Maybe you continually tell loved ones you don’t have a problem with drink and drugs, and you believe this to be the case, even as your life is disintegrating through the consequences of substance abuse. That’s denial in effect. 

Until you admit you have a problem with alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs, you cannot begin the process of recovery, and you’ll be caught in that vicious cycle of addiction.

Ask yourself why you want to stop using drinks or drugs

Assuming you admit that you have a problem with substances, breaking addiction habits that have become ingrained will take some sustained effort.

 Before that, though, ask yourself why you want to stop using substances. 

Here are some common reasons for people seeking addiction treatment: 

  • Addiction is damaging interpersonal relationships
  • A desire to live a healthier lifestyle
  • Problems at work, possibly even job loss
  • Avoiding being endangered by substance use
  • Financial and legal problems

Start researching rehab centers

If you feel you would benefit from addiction treatment, now is a good time to start some basic research. 

For most mild and moderate substance use disorders and alcohol use disorders, outpatient treatment is effective. Choose from the following treatment, stepping up in terms of time commitment: 

For severe addictions, inpatient or residential rehab is typically recommended. 

If you have a co-occurring mental health condition like depression or anxiety, look for treatment centers offering dual diagnosis programs. 

Ask friends and family for recommendations. Google for “rehab near me” or “addiction treatment near me.” Assemble a shortlist of suitable rehab centers.

Engage with the right addiction treatment

Once you have a handful of treatment centers offering specialized treatment for your specific addiction, commit yourself to engage with inpatient or outpatient treatment and you’re well on your way to shattering the chains of addiction.

Make sure you have adequate aftercare in place when you complete a course of treatment

Remember, addiction is a disease that has no cure, so you should consider your recovery as a process rather than an event. As such, when you complete your treatment program, make sure you either step down to a less intensive level of care or at minimum follow up your treatment with aftercare as recommended.

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Breaking the Cycle of Drug Addiction with Renaissance Recovery

Whatever the scope and extent of your addiction and however much of it is caused by genetics, all that counts is moving forward beyond the cycle of addiction. We can help you achieve that here at Renaissance Recovery Center. 

If you are struggling with addiction in California there is help available. Call our addiction hotline to inquire about rehabs in Orange County, CA to learn how to break an addiction.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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