understanding addiction: how to overcome it

Addiction is a difficult journey, but it's not impossible to overcome. In this article, we'll explore where to find help and the steps you can take to recover from addiction.

In association with our partner psychologists, Psych Health.

Recovery from addiction is possible. There is always hope, with many resources and support systems available to help you overcome addiction.

If you or someone close to you feels ready to accept help, you have already taken the first step to recovery. You’ll need to believe in the process and commit to recovery when seeking treatment options. It may feel worse before it feels better, but you will feel better.

where can I find help to overcome addiction?

While various risks are associated with the internet, there’s also a vast collection of addiction advice, support networks and overall health guidance. If you seek support for yourself, family members or a loved one, we always recommend using trusted websites and organisations for accurate advice.

  • the NHS has a library of information with links to specific organisations
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is widely known, with in-person support groups and online meetings
  • ceck your local area for groups, as other specialist addiction treatment options may exist
  • your local council website is an excellent place to explore links to support group organisations in your area
  • your employer may offer an Employee Assistance Programme, where you can phone for advice on overcoming addiction
  • your GP can also advise, signpost and provide appropriate treatment program referrals

If you’re an ICAEW chartered accountant or ACA student and would like to get in touch for more guidance, you can contact us here. We offer free, impartial and confidential support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And if we’re not able to help through our own support services, we’ll point you in the direction of someone who can.

how do you beat an addiction?

Your recovery process will differ depending on your addiction, lifestyle, support network, and other factors. This means you should try not to compare your experience to anyone else's. One size does not fit all. Your tailored recovery path will be laid out when you seek professional support.


Below, we have shared a few steps that you may come across in your own recovery process: 


It's natural to feel a range of emotions when struggling with addiction. One of the most challenging can be forgiving yourself for the mistakes you've made along the way. But it's important to remember that addiction is a disease, not a choice, and you’re not defined by your past actions. Instead, you deserve to be kind to yourself and to recognise the strength it takes to face your struggles head-on.

Forgiving yourself is a process, but by acknowledging your mistakes, learning from them, and focusing on your recovery, you can let go of shame and guilt and move forward with hope and resilience. Remember, you are worthy of healing and growth, and there is no shame in seeking the support you need to forgive yourself and reclaim your life.

facing your addiction triggers

Often to overcome addiction, you’ll be supported in confronting the factors and triggers that may have emerged due to your behaviour, like debt, legal, health, or relationship difficulties.


A necessary (and understandably daunting) aspect of addiction recovery is withdrawal. Depending on the level of addiction, you may find it better to spend time under the care of medical professionals, especially if you feel a dependency on your addictive substance or behaviour.

During treatment, when your dopamine boost no longer hits you like before, the brain will rebel and signal pain to urge us to seek relief. This is known as withdrawal symptoms.

coping mechanisms

Over time, your negative feelings, discomfort and distress from withdrawal will fade. Instead, it can be replaced by the pleasure of your healthier activity or behaviour choice.

removing your temptations

Once you have familiarised yourself with your triggers, you can work through your daily routine and understand where the temptation begins. Your environment can significantly impact your recovery and help when choosing a healthy coping mechanism instead of old temptations. Your environment may include your home, work, social settings, or the people you are around.

normalise your struggles

What can help overcome addiction is the normalising of your challenges. Official support groups, which may be found either locally or online, can be a great place to hear others' difficulties and, in turn, help you accept yours. These groups offer a wealth of wisdom and a network of supportive people where you can relearn social contact and honesty in a non-judgmental space.

Remember, asking for help with addiction is a brave and necessary step towards a happier, healthier life, with countless resources and support ready to assist you on your journey.

Discover our guide to helping someone you know with an addiction.


further reading 

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what is addiction?

Our recent research has revealed that 1 in 7 accountants believe they know at least one person through work who has an addiction. To help you understand addiction better, discover the different types and recognise the signs of addiction, read this guide below.


what are the causes of addiction

Discover the complex and varied causes behind addictive behaviour, from psychological factors to environmental triggers, and learn how habits can escalate into addiction.


habit vs addiction: what’s the difference?

Are your daily routines just habits or something more concerning? Can a habit turn into an addiction, and how can you tell the difference? With 1 in 10 accountants sharing with us that their drinking habits have negatively impacted their life, we explore the distinction between a habit and an addiction...


how to support a loved one suffering from addiction

Being part of someone’s support network is incredibly brave and thoughtful, but we understand this can have challenging effects on your own health. We’re here to help you navigate your emotions and recognise that looking after yourself is just as important as helping someone you care about.

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your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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