A bad habit is a hard thing to break. Habits are deep, complex relationships and associations in the brain. If habits were simple relationships they would be easier to become aware of, stop, and change. In many ways, drug and alcohol addiction is a habit. Part learning process, part compulsion, part memory, the routines and behaviors we put into our drug and alcohol addiction becomes a habit- a very, very, dangerous habit. To change our story about addiction we have to change our habits about addiction. What we most often don’t realize is how deep our habits go when it comes to our addiction because our addiction influences different parts of our lives. Addiction is part of all of our habits when it is a part of our life. Our choices in food, clothing, how often we put gas in our car, what we buy at the grocery store, and more are all habits we build around our addiction. We just aren’t aware of it. Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction includes re-learning how to do all of these small habitual practices because we have to take the addiction part out. Life skills, building self-esteem, and even seemingly effortless tasks like choosing our clothes for the day will present themselves more challenging than we could have imagined them to be. To make changing habits easier, we can turn them into goals. Changing habits into goals is effective because it changes the way we approach these tasks. Here are some of the reasons why you should change changing your habits into creating goals.
Habits are Tedious, Goals are Fun
It can feel impossible to change a habit. It takes 90 days to break a habit, it is said. Anyone in early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can know that 90 days is a long time during which many changes can take place. Goals can be done almost immediately or accomplished over time. By repeatedly achieving your goals, you reprogram your habits because achieving your goals becomes your new habit. Habits don’t get rewarded. Typically, the reward for changing a habit is at the end of the change. Goals can be rewarded immediately. Instead of fighting your way through not acting on your habit for a day, you set a goal. For example, today, I will not pick up drugs and alcohol. That’s a goal. Come midnight, when you’ve made it through the day without picking up drugs and alcohol, you can reward yourself- just not with drugs and alcohol. Slowly setting and achieving our goals of all kinds becomes so habitual that they don’t necessitate rewarding ourselves anymore, because setting and achieving our goals inherently is the reward- and that’s a good habit anyone can build.
Oceanfront Recovery is a men’s & women’s addiction treatment center offering residential programming and a full continuum of care so men can gain their self-efficacy and autonomy for successful independent living. Call us today for more information: (949) 207-9899