How to take a step back from your addiction.
I like the way Ekhart Tolle suggests doing this. When you start to feel a pull, say to yourself,
"There is that voice in my head telling me I can't pass up this opportunity... and here I am standing back, listening to that voice, watching it.
"There is that voice inside me, telling me that I'm a loser because I gave in again... and here I am standing back, listening to that voice and watching it."
Don't just wait until you get feel susceptible to urges or to guilt. Practice at least once a day stepping back from the voice inside your head and listening to it, watching it. You'll notice that it tells you all kinds of things: That you're a failure in some other aspect of your life. That you should withdraw from situations where you don't shine. That your efforts are futile. That other people are leaving you out of something important.
Once a day--or perhaps a few times--step back from your mind see those thoughts for what they are: not realities, thoughts.
How to take a step toward what really matters to you.
Pick something off your value menu and do it.
To create your personal value menu, 1) identify some of your values and 2) brainstorm brief actions you can take that are consistent with those values.
1) To identify a few of your values:
Consider what makes you you. Are you caring? Enthusiastic? Clever? Passionate? Those are some of your values.
What are the key elements of those activities you find deeply satisfying? Do they enlist your creativity? Is it the rewarding interactions with other people? Is it the solitude? Novelty?
When your life is over, what will look back and be very glad you did? Scratch your kids back at night? Work hard to support your family financially? Sing in a choir? Serve soup to the homeless or serve in your church? Care for that feral cat in the neighborhood? Make delicious food to feed your loved ones?
Come up with just a few answers to these questions, and you've identified some of your values.
2) Now, brainstorm to identify three activities you can do at almost any time that helps shape your life in a way--even if only in a very minuscule way--that is consistent with one of those values.
One of Heather's values is generosity--she wants to be a kind, caring, loving person. One activity on her value menu is sharing eye-contact and a smile with someone. If she finds herself getting sucked into a dark, downward spiral as she sits at her desk in a middle school advising center, she will look for a chance to catch the eye of one of the students who seems to need it and smile at them.
One of Rodney's values is physical fitness. If he finds his energy sagging and his vulnerability to relapse heightening, he'll take a 2-minute walk around the complex where he works.
One of Greg's values is family recreation. In a spare moment he may quickly check out one of his favorite travel blogs or mentally plan a family activity for the week like roasting hot dogs in the backyard fire pit.
One of Celeste's values is peace. Since a messy office interferes with her inner peace, one of her quick value activities is to take one piece of paper on her desk and do what's needed to get it off her desk: put it in her "to do" stack, her "future reference" file, or throw it away.
Once you have listed three brief value-oriented actions you can take in the heat of the moment, your value menu is complete. Treat it as a working list, and occasionally add a fresh item to the list to replace a familiar one once it's gotten stale.
How to put these into practice:
At least once a day, take a minute or two to step back from the mind and put into words what it's saying to you at that time. Then consider the three items on your value and do one of them.
Let me know what you discover as you put this one-two recovery punch into practice in your life.