Addiction can turn you into a person you no longer recognize mentally, physically, and behaviorally. The person you were before substances may be gone as you take on negative behavior patterns to justify and maintain your addiction. Once you enter recovery, it is essential to learn how to disrupt these behavior patterns to facilitate healing. When you can learn about the negative behavior patterns that those struggling with addiction have, you can begin to recognize them in yourself and work past traumas and co-occurring disorders. This way, you can start to learn the necessary skills needed to cope and live a happy, sober life.
Common Behaviors of Addiction
Addiction is often defined by its constant seeking out of drugs and alcohol, placing other priorities on the back burner in place of the next high. Friends and family, work and school responsibilities, and other areas of your life will commonly take a backseat to your need for drugs and alcohol. You may become a person you no longer recognize, one that is willing to hurt the ones they love and sabotage what they have worked for merely for the next fix. The behaviors that enable addiction are typically the primary culprits of this change. Knowing what they are and recognizing them in yourself is the first step to disrupting these negative patterns and finding healing.
Those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction will commonly tell lies to others about where they have been, what they were doing, and what they are spending money on. Lying is a means of justifying an addiction -- it keeps people from asking questions and keeps the individual from feeling guilty about how much they’re using. However, lies that continually build-up will eventually come crashing down, causing the person’s life to delve into chaos.
Pointing Fingers at Others
When someone is amid active addiction, they typically do not want to blame their actions for the bad things happening in their life. As soon as individuals take responsibility for their actions, they have to admit that their drug and alcohol use negatively affects their lives. For example, if they get fired from their job, they will most likely shift blame to the boss for firing them “unfairly.” This applies to other cases, too, as the individual does not want to admit any wrongdoing. However, they will have to stop making excuses eventually as the consequences add up.
Those struggling with active addiction may know that what they are doing is wrong. However, they find ways to get around it by feeding off others’ kindness. Someone may even manipulate the ones closest to them that they love the most, the ones that would do anything to help them get better. As you crave another fix, you may tell your friends and family that you have everything under control, that they don’t understand, and that you can stop anytime you want. Satisfied with what you said, you then ask for money, and they will give it to you because they believe you. Unfortunately, this cycle can continue until it destroys relationships, and the person finally gets help to rebuild them. But even then, sometimes it is too late.
Another severe behavioral change that often occurs during active addiction is engaging in physical, mental, or emotional abuse. Those struggling may find themselves threatened by everyone around them, feeling that others are hindering them from using drugs or alcohol. Blame is placed on others, and anger is directed at those they love the most. This can result in attacks that cause problems for years, even after the person gets sober.
Changing the Behavioral Patterns
When you have lived your life a certain way for so long, it can be challenging to know where to start when you want to make a significant change. Luckily, treatment facilities will aid you in this process as you can pinpoint negative behaviors. A great way to recognize and acknowledge them is to make a list of negative behaviors you realize you have been engaging in. From there, you can write down alternative actions. As you practice these in real life, continue working with your therapist, sponsor, and other sober friends throughout your recovery. Everyone can use support, and soon enough, you will shed your negative behaviors in light of more positive ones that are conducive to your recovery.
Addiction commonly brings out the worst in people as they try to justify and maintain their substance use over time, even at the expense of the ones they love and the things they have worked for. Individuals struggling with addiction often exhibit common behaviors such as lying, manipulating, shifting blame, and abuse. Once these individuals enter treatment, it can be challenging to shift their behaviors to enter into a new life and way of living. Facilities such as Northstar Transitions work specifically with clients to disrupt patterns that enable addiction. Northstar aids its clients in working through past traumas and co-occurring disorders to help them heal and learn healthier coping mechanisms, allowing them long-term sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling, call Northstar Transitions today at (303) 558-6400. Together we can pinpoint your negative behavior patterns and help you turn your life around for a happy, healthy, sober life.