Does Behavior Have to Change to Stay Sober?

Drug or alcohol addiction has likely changed everything about your life. As people progress from using drugs recreationally to daily use, abuse, and eventual dependency, they often stop socializing with their family members and close friends. When addicted to substances, everywhere you go and everything you do is largely centered around either getting high or obtaining your drug of choice.

Thus, it just makes sense that nearly every aspect of your current lifestyle will have to change in order for you to both become sober and stay that way. But what about your mental and emotional behaviors? Things like how you approach problems, deal with stress and perceive yourself must be considered and altered as well.

Contrary to what many people think at the start of the recovery process, battling addiction isn’t about maintaining prolonged abstinence. Although abstinence is of obvious importance, recovery is largely about creating a safe, healthy, and ultimately sustainable lifestyle. It’s about understanding which behaviors leave you at the greatest risk of relapse, and then taking steps to prevent or change them. The good news is that drug and alcohol addiction treatment is designed to provide people with the knowledge and skills they need for success in these and countless other areas.

Battling Behaviors and Belief Systems That Are Ingrained

Many people enter addiction treatment with incredibly low self-esteem. This makes them more likely to cave to peer pressure and less likely to engage in activities that are actually good for them. Therapy in addiction treatment helps people identify feelings of low self-worth and teaches patients how to value and honor themselves. In both group and individual counseling, people in rehab also learn:

  • How to identify and stop self-defeating behaviors
  • How to choose healthy and mutually rewarding relationships
  • How to listen to themselves
  • How to prioritize their own needs

Low self-esteem is often the result of past trauma, negative behavioral conditioning early in life, suppressed guilt, and unresolved grief. Working through these things rather than burying them eliminates these issues as risk factors in recovery. The best rehab centers offer options in rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and other behavioral therapy types.

Certain Behaviors Are Indicative of Co-Occurring Disorders

You may have certain harmful or self-defeating behaviors that feel as though they’re beyond your ability to control. Many people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction discover that they have underlying, co-occurring disorders that drive their addictions. These include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • General anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Changing personal behaviors that are the direct result of these or other mental health issues is only possible to do with proper diagnosis and treatment. If you have behaviors that lead to self-harming, bad decision-making, or other things that put your recovery in jeopardy, it is important to attend a program that offers dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder and any other existing mental health issues at once.

The Importance of Family Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is largely a family issue. When there’s an addict in a home, everyone plays a key role in supporting, enabling, or denying their addiction. If you intend to return home after completing inpatient treatment, or if you intend to remain at home while participating in outpatient treatment, your family members should seek therapy as well. In most cases, everyone will have to alter their behaviors and their beliefs about addiction, in order to provide the firm boundaries and consistent support that successful, long-term recovery requires. If you’re looking for an effective rehab program or post-treatment recovery support that will assist you in identifying harmful and self-defeating behaviors, we can help you find it. Call us today at 954-523-1167.