The awareness exercise does not involve breathing AT ALL.
It is a very simple exercise that anyone can do. It helps to pull you out of thought,feelings, dream stuff which is your problem (and everybody's), and instead helps you to learn to observe everything as opposed to repressing, and all the while be in the present moment and completely aware. This is the way you were meant to be. If you can only do the exercise for 1 minute, then you have accomplished something incredible.
But you have to give it a chance.. right?
You may be amazed that in a short while, you will see it's effects (ie. panic subsiding), and it will encourage you to do it more frequently and longer. But that's not a goal, or a pressure, that's when you are ready for it. Whenever that is, is perfect timing. The author of the audios goes into an explanation of the exercise so you will gain an understanding and confidence on why and how it works. He will explain the cause of most mental illness and how to overcome negative emotions. You will have a lightbulb moment when you are ready, in perfect time. The audio is not long.. just listen to as much as you can and then take a break. Come back to it later, when you are ready, and listen to the rest.
This will also help your addiction.
Just wondering about your support circle? Do you have someone in your life you can lean on? If you don't have much, then a free anxiety support group in your area may be good for you for a while, so you don't feel alone. I say a while, or a season, because it won't cure you. It is definitely good to be heard,and to vent, but eventually you've said it all, and to keep repeating and rehashing, it makes you worse. Even in psych therapy they recognize this, and use EMDR so that it processes things. The crux is that you need to take responsibility for listening to the lies inside your head, especially those that are resentful of circumstances, yourself, and other people. Some of it may be making you desperately hide something you cannot acknowledge. Only you can help yourself with that, nobody else.. The amazing news is that this awareness exercise gives you the ability to free yourself.
Give it time, however long that may be, be patient with yourself, don't fight yourself.. You will make yourself worse. Believe me, I have been there.. Patience is love, with yourself, everybody and everything.
Listening to Roy Master's free Radio Advice Line (http://fhu.com) everyday (available at any time) really helped me. You may find you resonate with someone else. You can even call in yourself. Read his books..they've helped me to stay strong with doing the awareness exercise because I know he speaks the truth. And truth sets you free...it never fails. You've got to be willing, though, to want it.
NIS might have incredible benefits to you, and really help you along the way. Again, you need to take action.
I do get the feeling that you want to just vent right now.
That's ok, I have been there - only for a season. I hope you find the truth along your journey.
ps. if you decide to try the exercise and need some help with it, you can send me a PM and I can give you some
extra tips or advice.