Friday, 26 August 2011

Curbing terrible habits

Hard drugs

Habits are formed from actions that have been built over time which eventually develop into character that defines who we are. Habits are regularly repeated behaviors which we cannot do without; we become so used to them that we find it difficult to change. Habits can either be constructive or destructive depending on how they make or mar us.

Terrible habits are habits that negate the precepts of accepted moral standards; they are very destructive and if conscious effort is not made to curb them, the result is catastrophic.  Some constructive habits progress into high moral principles that eventually become the pillars that uphold our destinies while destructive ones progress into terrible addictions that eventually become the canker worms that destroy our lives.  Bad habits are easier to form than good ones because of the human tendency to do wrong and this has led to the premature termination of the destinies of many.  The fact that some of these habits are not spelled out in the scriptures does not mean that they not ungodly; some of these habits include debauchery (immoral behavior involving sex, alcohol, and drugs), smoking, deviousness (dishonesty and deceitfulness), Internet fraud, pornography, masturbation, gossip etc; the list is endless.  Some of these habits are punishable by law while for others, it’s strictly the business of whoever is involved and the consequences are born personally.
But, let’s come to think of it, why do youths indulge in these demeaning habits?

Peer pressure
The desire to belong and be a part of something has pushed so many people into dangerous situations; the yearning to get approval is so great that many are dying to impress.  They often get so involved that it becomes too difficult to opt out of these unprofitable associations. The saying that, “if you cannot beat them, you join them” has become the watchword of many, but what happens if you can beat them?

Low self esteem
Inferiority complex is like a virus that gradually destroys one’s personality.  Some youths lack the feeling of self worth; hence they turn to habits they feel can boost their ego such as smoking, alcoholism and drugs, only for them to discover the effect is extrinsic and the feeling can only last for a while; it’s like expanding a balloon, no matter how big it is, it will eventually deflate with time.
Unwholesome adventure
The curiosity of youths has increased their tendency to try out new things, but how devastating will it be if their expedition is tending towards negativity? Youthful exuberance if not handled with moderation can lead to unanticipated downfall. Many youths have a misconception that turning to these habits is a way surmounting the challenges of life or forgetting their sorrows; they do not realize that solutions repel those who run away from their problems.

Stopping terrible habits is not spontaneous; it takes a gradual process and a conscious effort is needed to achieve it. Let me share with you some of the ways of gaining freedom from these habits;
Firstly, you need to identify the habit and admit that it is bad; you have to understand that you need help and unless you are willing to be free, you haven’t started yet. You shouldn’t give the excuse of not knowing a habit is terrible; if it’s so cool, why do it under closed doors, in secluded places, behind bars, without supervision and so on. 

Seek help through counseling

The kind of counsel you seek should depend on the kind of habit you want to curb and the degree of deterioration it has caused to your life; for example, of what use is an academic counselor to a person who is psychologically affected by drugs?  Identify your problem and seek help from appropriate personalities who can guide and advise you from their wealth of experience.

Engage your mind positively

Permit me to define the mind as a factory where thoughts are being processed with actions as finished products; it can be likened to the CPU of a computer with actions as the output; it also works with the principle of garbage in – garbage out.  You are your mind and your mind is you; what you perceive, feel, see and hear is being analyzed by the mind which eventually dictates what you do; be careful what you feed your mind with and guard it with all diligence – read good books that will build and motivate you, listen to tapes that will inspire you positively and watch videos that will not pollute your mind.

Dissociate from malicious companies
Malignant groups have a way of influencing youths negatively and are detrimental to your personal growth and development; disentangle yourself from these morbid associations before they ruin you completely.  Evil communication corrupts good manners; don’t fall a victim of these terrible influences, rather, associate with people of high moral character for it is better to be alone than to be in a bad company.

Pray for strength
Prayer made from a sincere and repentant heart will go a long way to pull you out off that messy situation; God is always willing to accept anyone who turns to Him for help. There is no habit too appalling to discontinue, no matter the degree of damage it has caused.  Many people receive forgiveness but refuse to forgive themselves and they continue to lead a life of guilt; spend quality time with God and allow Him to break you, mold you and build you into what He wants you to be and you can be sure that your freedom is guaranteed.