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Breaking Bad Habits and Fostering Effective Behaviors

by | Oct 17, 2020 | Recovery

Figuring out how to break bad habits can be a daunting task. You have become so comfortable doing things a certain way that you may not even realize the negative impacts the behavior has on your daily life. It’s not going to be quick and easy, but you can be successful in breaking bad habits. The key is to replace bad habits with effective behaviors. Sober Life can help you stop engaging in practices that fuel your addiction and help you learn successful coping skills. Read below to learn more about how you can break bad habits and foster effective recovery behaviors! 

Understand Your Routine

Our habits become so ingrained in us that we hardly realize the behaviors we engage in on a daily basis. At one point, these habits were conscious choices. Now, though, they are done without much thinking. While this can be a good thing for healthy behaviors, it’s a way for destructive behaviors to infiltrate our routines. This is because our brains will try to make a habit out of anything, good or bad. It can’t tell the difference between good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. If it’s able to save energy, it will. This is why it can be so challenging to break a bad habit. Fortunately, it isn’t impossible. If you’re serious about putting a stop to those unhealthy automatic behaviors, Sober Life can help. The first step you can take to breaking a bad habit is to have a strong sense of self-awareness. The more conscious you become of the patterns you fall into, the easier it is to stop them before they happen. Start by paying attention to the things you do every day. You have to understand something in order to change it.

good habits

Breaking Down a Habit

There are four steps to a habit. If you are engaging in substance abuse, your addiction likely follows these four steps without you even giving it a second thought. As we said before, you must become aware of the habits you have in order to change them. Take a look below at the four steps and consider how you can make a change.

  1. Trigger

The first step that kicks off a habit is the trigger. Anything can become a trigger, no matter how subtle. If you are used to having a few drinks after a long day of work, timing and location can be a trigger for you. The early evening can prime you into wanting a drink, and once you return home, your first thought is pouring yourself a glass of wine. Besides time and location, other triggers include certain people, intense emotions, or a visual cue. Your trigger is whatever it is that sets off the idea to engage in substance abuse. 

  1. Routine

The second step to a habit is the routine. This is the actual behavior that you are engaging in, such as substance abuse. Actually pouring the wine and drinking it is the routine that has become a habit. You might go for a second or third glass, too. You often engage in the act automatically when something has become a habit. 

  1. Reward

The third step to a habit is the reward. You engage in the routine because it gives you a reward. If there was no reward, there wouldn’t be much of an urge to complete the action. Rewards can vary from physical sensations to pleasurable emotions. If the glass of wine helps you wind down and relax, that’s your reward. You might be able to forget about the struggles you had at work, so you think the wine helps you de-stress. The reward is what keeps you coming back for more. 

  1. Craving

The fourth and final step to a habit is the craving. Because your brain gets used to having the reward, it begins to crave more of it. If something triggers you to want that glass of wine, the craving happens immediately. You expect that the glass of wine will bring you relaxation, so you crave it. You may have had an argument with a co-worker or have been reprimanded for a mistake. The stress you’re feeling might trigger you to want to release some tension. You begin to crave the wine immediately. 

Ending Bad Habits and Creating New Ones

Now that you understand what goes into a habit, you’ll be able to recognize the different stages when you are engaging in substance abuse. If you are trying to end a bad habit, such as automatically reaching for that glass of wine after work, you have to understand and be able to identify the trigger. What is it that sets off your desire to want to drink? Next, you’re going to have to understand why the behavior makes you feel good. What is the reward you get from having a few too many glasses of wine? The key is to change the behavior but keep the reward. If the reward is that you gain a sense of relaxation, try to find another activity that will give you a sense of peace without using substances. Think about trying out journaling, yoga, reading, or something else you enjoy. If you want to de-stress, you don’t need substances to achieve that reward. Try to find something that you enjoy that can help you relax without turning to substances. Once you have found something that works for you, repeat the behavior! Each time you feel bombarded by a trigger, turn to the healthy behavior. The more you do it, the more natural it will become. It won’t be easy, but change can happen if you keep at it! 

If you have been living a life full of self-defeating habits that are leading you down a dark road, we know how difficult it can be to make a change that contradicts what you know and what you are comfortable with. Sober Life is here to give you the support you need to help you change your bad habits and help foster effective behaviors in its place. You might not see the success that is achievable for you, which is why Sober Life is here to guide you until you can see that success for yourself. Call our staff today at (619) 542-9542 for more information about the programs we offer. We can’t wait to speak with you and help get you on the path to changing your life today! Call Sober Life now!

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