Can crochet be utilized as a tool to help you overcome an addiction? Author Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D. has written a successful book about overcoming addiction called 7 Tools to Beat Addiction. As you might guess, he outlines seven different tools that you should combine to break your addiction to things like cigarettes or The Internet. I believe that crochet can be linked to a couple of those tools.
Using Your Individual Resources
One of the seven tools for overcoming addiction that author Peele suggests in his book is “utilizing your individual resources”. That’s a broad category, though, so let’s look at some of the specific things he talks about and see how they relate to crochet:
- Hobbies and interests. The hobbies and interests that you have can be a really great distraction and you need distractions when you’re trying to break an addiction. Crochet is clearly a hobby/ interest.
- Ways of relaxing. The internal resources that you have to help you relax will bring down your stress levels and help break your addiction. Many of us crochet to relax!
- Recognizing and valuing your own strengths. The idea here is that if you know that you’re good at something then you can extrapolate that to at least imagine that you may be good at beating your addiction. Are you good at certain aspects of crochet? Recognize and value that!
A tangent …
In the chapter on individual resources, Peele refers to the work of psychologist Saul Shiffman who looked at the techniques that cigarette addicts could successfully use to resist the urge to start smoking again. Three of the five behavioral techniques that he named are relaxation, selecting a distracting activity and selecting a delaying activity. These are all things that crochet can be used for. It may relax you so that you don’t feel the need to smoke or it may distract you entirely from the urge to smoke (or engage in other addictive behavior). Alternatively you may tell yourself that you are going to finish this many rows or that project before you go smoke, delaying the addictive behavior as a means of cutting back and eventually ceasing the behavior.
Another one of the tools that Peele says is necessary is support. When you’re trying to break an addiction, you need supportive people in your life who are going to help you in staying away from the addictive behavior. And you also need general support in your life, in my opinion, to help you stay strong and happy and away from the problems that created the addiction in the first place. This doesn’t directly relate to crochet but in my experience crocheters are a really friendly, generous, giving group. If you open yourself up to the crochet community and ask for that support, I don’t doubt that you’ll find it. I’ve also known a lot of people who joined crochet groups and found that the support there went far beyond just helping each other with their stitches.
Pursue and Accomplish Goals
The seventh tool in Peele’s book is to pursue and accomplish goals. The idea here is that you set goals that are important to you so that you can have a bigger reason for quitting your addiction than just “it’s bad for me” or “everyone says I need to quit”. Having a bigger goal will help you to be able to actually quit the addiction instead of falling back into it after just a short period of time. But the goals don’t have to be specific to what you are quitting. Goal-setting and goal-accomplishment are good skills to build.
For example, Peele talks specifically about personal goals “which he defines as goals “you pursue to make yourself a better person, to improve and advance your life”. So you might set crochet-related goals that help you do that such as a goal to crochet items for a certain charity. Every time that you get the urge to engage in your addictive behavior, ask yourself if that’s helping you further your goals. It’s probably not; so pick up your hook and crochet towards your goal! Peele also specifically mentions that it’s good to work on goals that contribute to your community so goals around charity crochet are good for that reason as well.
Note: This is a brief glimpse into the type of things that I’ve written about in my book, Crochet Saved My Life, which covers all benefits of crochet including mental health and physical health benefits. Crochet is helpful for substance abuse and addiction of various kinds.