There’s a reason why recovering addicts participate in behavioral therapy when in addiction treatment. This form of therapy addresses the links between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Specifically, it examines how an addict might want to have a drink when his or her ex-spouse calls. Or how a heroin addict might use when he or she receives an eviction notice. Essentially, it’s common for addicts to use drugs or drink whenever there is a problem. And in this way, a dependency to substances can easily develop whenever a person is relying upon drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. In other words, they choose to behave in such a way that contributes to an addiction.
Behaviors When Using Substances
Also, it’s the behavior of using alcohol or drugs, but there are also behaviors that a person begins to engage in when he or she is using substances. This might include:
- spending time with new (drug using) friends
- avoiding time at home
- refusing to answer their phone when out
- making excuses and telling lies about where they’ve been
- behaving flippantly
- behaving in self-focused ways versus in ways that considers others
- avoiding work, family, financial, and social responsibilities
- behaving aggressively
However, when a person changes their behavior, there’s a great chance that their life will change. Yet, it’s not just any sort of behavior that change requires. Behavior needs to be healthy versus the unhealthy behavior you might have engaged in during your addiction. As discussed above, a person needs to break the association between stress and relying upon drugs or alcohol. Instead, healthy behavior is relying upon new coping tools to manage stressful moments. This might be any of the following:
- calling a friend
- calling your sponsor
- talking to a therapist
- attending a 12-step meeting
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
In addition to being healthy, behavior also needs to be courageous. For instance, in order to create change, you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone. You’ve got to stretch yourself. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about going back to school, forming an intimate relationship, or returning to work, but feel fearful. If you’re feel the desire and feel that you’re ready, don’t let fear stand in your way. You can begin to take the steps you need to break through your protective bubble to create the change you want. As mentioned above, behaving in new ways can create change.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, one of the first steps to take is to contact a mental health provider. In fact, one that specializes in behavioral therapy might more easily facilitate change. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy are commonly used as a means to treat addiction. You can also find these therapies within a drug addiction treatment program. Furthermore, you can model the behaviors of others who are now sober for inspiration, courage, and health.