Part of addiction is the continued choice to use drugs or drink, and underneath that are unhealthy feelings or thoughts that frequently lead to substance use. Sometimes, it’s not only substance use, but negative feelings and thoughts can also lead to risky behavior, poor choices, and frequent instability.
Behaviors of Addiction
In addition to this, there are all sorts of behaviors that a person might begin to do when an addiction is beginning to develop. For instance, someone who is abusing drugs or alcohol or who is at risk for developing an addiction might behave in the following ways:
- spends time with drug using friends
- avoids time at home with family or loved ones
- refuses to answer their phone when out
- makes excuses and tells lies about where they’ve been
- behaves flippantly, irrationally, or insensitively
- behaves in self-focused ways versus in ways that considers others
- works hard to protect oneself versus helping others
- avoids work, family, financial, and social responsibilities
- may be violent or aggressive
- manipulates others
- may get involved in criminal activities
- avoids responsibility and puts blame on others
- denies problems
- may try to hide unhealthy, risky, or negative behavior
Perhaps as an addict you recognize some of these behaviors in yourself. Yet, the good news is that you can change these behaviors and the thoughts and feelings that drive them. Often, a person in recovery is learning how to change their entire lives. For instance, at 12-step meetings, a person might learn to “let go; let God”, if they are open to spirituality. Another recovering addict might learn they don’t have to control their lives. They can learn a new way of life that includes stability, healthy choices, and safe behavior.
Changing These Behaviors
Yet, this takes some support. One type of support received in recovery is behavioral therapy. This form of therapy addresses the links between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. For instance, it might help a recovering addict make the connection between drinking whenever his or her ex-spouse calls. Or how a heroin addict might use when he or she experiences severe anxiety. It’s common for addicts to use drugs or drink whenever there is a problem. Over time, a dependency to substances develops. This is especially true if someone is turning to drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. In other words, they choose to behave in such a way that contributes to an addiction.
Yet, behavior therapy can help a person with the following:
- Change any behavior related to substance abuse
- Improve skills for healthy living
- Change attitudes, thoughts, or beliefs that lead to alcohol and drug abuse
- Assist a person with getting the most out of their recovery experience
- Encourage men and women to stick it out and commit to their sobriety
- Strengthen the effects of other services receiving in recovery
If you’re in recovery, you might be interested in exploring behavioral therapy. In many cases, you might be already receiving behavioral therapy. And if you’re not, ask your sponsor or drug counselor about it.