The development of alcohol or drug addiction means trading a healthy way of life for one of instant gratification, dishonesty, irresponsibility, and even disregard for one’s basic needs. Individuals who suffer from addiction tend to sacrifice relationships, job opportunities, and financial stability in order to sustain their substance abuse habits, resulting in an increasing tendency to resort to whatever means necessary to offset the hardship they face due to chemical dependency.
The spouses and partners, family members, friends, and other loved ones of addicts grow concerned as addicts’ lives become increasingly unmanageable. At a point, individuals who have been in the throes of alcohol or drug addiction reach what’s commonly referred to as “rock bottom,” or a low-point in one’s life that occurs as a direct result of alcoholism or drug addiction.
Realizing that addiction is unsustainable, individuals who reach the point of rock bottom will often elect to begin treatment. Whereas the development of an addiction means adopting an unhealthy way of living, recovering from addiction essentially means unlearning the addict’s lifestyle and reverting to one of sobriety and health.
Early Recovery Habits You Need to Break
In addition to counseling and a variety of therapies, individuals in treatment will benefit from learning a number of life skills and relapse prevention strategies that serve to reinforce their newfound sobriety by minimizing the chances of them relapsing. As such, here are five early recovery habits that, despite being essential to one’s rehabilitation, are difficult to break while in the early stages of treatment.
1. Disregarding Basic Bodily Needs
In order to maintain optimal health, each human body requires ample sleep, nutrition, physical exercise, as well as a multitude of psychological needs. Individuals require a certain amount of companionship and affection, the feeling of being safe in an environment where one is afforded trust and respect.
However, as an individual develops an addiction, he or she begins to disregard more and more of the body’s most basic needs. Physical activity quickly falls by the wayside while sleep depends on feeding the substance abuse habit and keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay.
In terms of relationships, virtually everyone with whom an addict socializes is also an addiction to a chemical substance, which tragically skews one’s social experience since each addict is concerned, first and foremost, with obtaining and consuming his or her substance of choice. When in recovery, individuals much break this habitual disregard of essential needs, becoming accustomed to healthy sleep patterns, regular physical activity, and so on.
2. Convenient Versus Healthy
Part of the reason that individuals suffering from addiction frequently disregard many of their basic needs is due to the time it can sometimes take to meet those needs. Those who are addicted to alcohol or drugs tend to make decisions and behave in ways that are convenient, even if that means sacrificing efficacy.
In other words, an addict will frequently behave in a way that’s less effective if it’s more convenient, even when there’s a more effective—though also more time-consuming—alternative. As such, in early recovery individuals must break the habit of always taking the easy way out and instead learn to make choices and behave in ways that lead to optimal results and health.
3. The Need for Instant Gratification
By nature, substance abuse is rooted in an affinity for instant gratification. However, this leads addicts to seek other forms of instant gratification whenever possible and is considered a major contributor to the tendency for addicts to be dishonest, steal and commit crimes, cheat in order to get ahead, and so on.
In early recovery, individuals must overcome this expectation of having their needs met instantaneously and, instead, focus on the benefits of delaying gratification. There have been numerous studies that have sought to understand the psychological and neurological differences between those who need immediate gratification and those who delay gratification.
In particular, it’s been found that learning to delay gratification means being more future-minded, focusing on how immediate benefits will continue to grow and result in a greater payoff when delayed. Moreover, focusing on the future has been found to be essential for maintaining sobriety.
4. Quitting When Things Become Difficult
Much like the tendency to prefer and seek means of instant gratification, individuals who develop alcohol or drug addictions tend to quit tasks that become difficult much more readily than those who aren’t chemically dependent. After a period of experiencing instant gratification in the form of substance abuse, addicts fall into the mindset of believing that working hard isn’t necessary to reap rewards, making them less likely to persevere in many instances.
In fact, there are often several times during early recovery when individuals will doubt whether they’ll be able to finish treatment and sustain their abstinence from alcohol and drug abuse. However, it’s during this time that they must learn to hone their efforts and persevere. Similarly to learning that delayed gratification can often mean a greater payoff, individuals aiming for sobriety must break the early recovery habit of quitting too soon by realizing the value of their efforts and determination while being able to recognize that persevering is more beneficial than quitting.
Individuals who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction tend to be dishonest. It often begins as merely lying about the reality or severity of their dependencies, such as when they claim they use only on rare occasion or that they can control the amount and frequency of their consumption.
In short, this makes many of an addict’s social interactions much like an actor’s performance. However, as time progresses addicts become increasingly dishonest, lying even at times when they acknowledge that dishonesty isn’t necessary.
Individuals must break the early recovery habit of dishonesty by realizing that recovery can only happen when they’re honest with others and—perhaps more importantly—honest with themselves. Recovery professionals have time and again stated that honesty in recovery is a necessity and essential to one’s success.
Begin the Journey Toward a Healthy, Happy You with Drug Treatment Center Finder
Living in the throes of active addiction affords individuals a lengthy period of time in which to learn and sustain a variety of bad and even harmful habits. Fortunately, while addiction treatment helps individuals to overcome physical dependency it also affords those in recovery with a means of learning effective, positive coping skills and developing healthy habits and routines.
If you or someone you love is suffering from chemical dependency and would like to learn more about addiction treatment, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help. Don’t wait—call today at 855-619-8070 to speak with one of our recovery specialists who can help you or your loved one find the program you need to return to sobriety, health, and a life of fulfillment.