Bad Habits in Addiction Recovery: Turning Relapse into Sobriety

September 29, 2023

Addiction | Barbara Decker

Key Takeaways

  • Bad habits are routines that cause more harm than good, and with addiction, they can snowball into serious problems.
  • Mental health and addiction are deeply linked. Having a clear mind can help your loved one better manage addiction.
  • Professionals have the right skills to guide through addiction treatment, providing personalized plans, emotional support, and help dealing with setbacks.

When we talk about “addiction recovery,” the focus tends to be on the positives – like sobriety, support, and hope. But it’s important to remember that even the most determined people can struggle with relapsing or falling back into old habits, especially in the early stages of recovery.

When bad habits appear, they can undo your loved one’s progress and sabotage their journey toward a brighter future. However, it’s okay to stumble. Humans are not robots, and we all make mistakes.

Let’s explore why these bad habits are so difficult to shake and how to break their hold. This way, your loved one can continue their recovery journey without looking back.

What Are Bad Habits?

We all do certain action that are automatic or second nature. When these tendencies interrupt our daily life or threaten our health, they are bad habits.

They may begin as routines or behaviors triggered by a specific situation or emotion. Over time, they can subconsciously develop into actions we perform without thinking.

Some examples of bad habits are:

  • Skipping breakfast or other meals.
  • Overeating junk foods or high-sugar snacks.
  • Procrastinating essential tasks and duties.
  • Spending a lot of time on digital devices.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Sleeping too much or not enough.
  • Getting late to work, meetings, appointments, etc.
  • Maintaining poor hygiene practices.

These habits become so deeply rooted that we do them automatically without thinking twice. They can turn into behaviors that we resort to without second thoughts.

Addiction and Bad Habits in Recovery: How Are They Related?

addiction and bad habits in recovery how are they related

It’s common to wonder why it’s so challenging for a loved one to overcome their addictive personality. The reason behind it is often the connection between addiction and bad habits.

These habits can become intertwined with stress, pain, or other triggers, creating a dangerous cycle that can complicate early recovery, even with proper treatment options.

Common Unhealthy Habits in Addiction Recovery

It’s important to be aware of the unhealthy habits that may appear in addiction recovery. This knowledge can give you an advantage, so you can encourage your loved one to get help as soon as you notice these signs.

The most common bad habits you can notice are:

  • Neglecting self-care: Skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, or ignoring personal hygiene.
  • Emotional isolation: Shutting away from friends and loved ones.
  • Avoiding emotions: Ignoring feelings of sadness, fear and anger, or even downplaying symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Mind-Substance Relationship

You may wonder, what’s in your loved one’s mind? It is often plagued by pain, shame, or unfulfilled needs. Their struggle is not only with addiction but also with their mindset.

  • The ‘False friend’ perception: Individuals who use substances may view it as something that provides relief from their pain or a temporary escape from the harsh realities of life.
  • Mental dependence: Constant use of the substance can lead to a mental dependence that creates a false sense of comfort, making it an obstacle to recovery.

GET: The 3 things that actually "allowed" me to help my son (and regain control again)

What Causes Unhealthy Habits in Addiction Treatment?

Recovering and staying committed to sobriety is a challenging experience where harmful habits can block the path to recovery. These habits can stem from the following:

  • Stress: Demanding situations, emotionally charged moments, and the pressure to stay sober can turn your loved one into familiar coping mechanisms.
  • Sense of emptiness: Suddenly quitting drug use can leave a void. Your loved one may try to fill it with various behaviors or harmful practices.
  • Lack of support: Some people lack the support they need to succeed in recovery. This can include professional help, support from friends or family, and effective coping mechanisms.

It’s essential to understand what triggers these unhealthy patterns. With this knowledge, your loved one can work with a therapist to create targeted prevention strategies. This will help them build stronger resilience and return to the recovery process.

Coping with The Dangers of Bad Habits

coping with the dangers of bad habits

Your loved one is the only one who can control their actions, so you should have patience in recovery. If addressed correctly, their negative habits can be transformed into a positive force. It’s unlikely that these habits can be overcome all at once, but with patience and determination, they can be addressed one at a time.

How to Replace a Bad Habit

Overcoming bad habits is not a one-time action that can be immediately accomplished. Instead, it requires a gradual process of chipping away, one day at a time, one habit at a time. Here are some steps that can help your loved one achieve this:

  • Identification: Spot your bad habit and name it. Knowing what you’re up against is the first step to addressing it effectively.
  • Take action: Identify the unhealthy habit and challenge it. This means resisting the urge, getting to the root of what triggers the behavior, and reminding yourself that you’re in control.
  • Replace with healthier alternatives: Take care of yourself and try new things, like hobbies or skills. These activities are a better and healthier alternative to fill the void left by the bad habit.

Mental Health and Its Role in Substance Use

Your loved one’s mind and addiction are related. Stress, anxiety, and depression can both aggravate and be aggravated by drug use.

That’s why finding positive ways to cope with strong emotions is essential. This could be through therapy, meditation, or having a solid support system. These can improve their decision-making in recovery and create a healthier mental state.

The Unseen Connection

Under the surface of addiction lies a deep connection to mental health. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Dual Diagnosis: Many people dealing with addiction are also struggling with mental health disorders. Both conditions feed off each other, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
  • Escaping Mental Discomfort: Some individuals seek an escape from the torment of mental issues and everyday life. However, temporary relief can spiral into long-term addiction.
  • Substances Disrupting Mental Stability: The other way around, excessive substance abuse can lead to psychological issues.

WATCH: Free, confidential workshop that explains how to "Love Another Way"

Make Positive Changes

Managing addiction and mental health can be challenging, but there’s hope. By improving one, you can positively impact the other and replace bad habits with good habits.

Here are some strategies that can help your loved one improve their mental well-being:

  • Therapy and Counselling: These safe spaces provide a supportive environment to discuss feelings, identify triggers, and create effective action plans for managing challenging times.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help clear your loved one’s mind and improve their ability to navigate difficult situations.
  • Support System: A strong support network is crucial for maintaining good mental health. This can include loved ones, peer support groups, or online communities.

Developing Healthy Habits for a Sober Future

developing healthy habits for a sober future

Recovering from addiction can be arduous, and it’s easy to fall into negative patterns along the way. However, it’s important to remember everyone’s path is unique, and it’s okay to stumble and make mistakes.

If your loved one faces this situation, the key is to be gentle with them and remain open-minded, as progress is not always straightforward.

Encourage your loved one to seek help from professionals, friends, and family. It can be vital in overcoming the negative behaviors that interrupt recovery.

With dedication and perseverance, anyone can break free from addiction and start living a more fulfilling life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Habits in Addiction Recovery

What are the 10 bad habits?

The 10 bad habits most of us fall prey to are related to unhealthy everyday habits. These habits are procrastination, unhealthy eating patterns, overspending, excessive screen time, negative self-talk, substance misuse, sedentary lifestyle, skipping out on self-care, poor stress management, and neglecting relationships.

What are the negative behaviors in addiction treatment?

Negative behaviors in addiction treatment often manifest as resistance to change, denial of the problem, lack of commitment, and non-compliance with prescribed therapy. Those actions can hinder a person’s recovery and even lead to relapse.

NEW: How to make the shift from "Mom Code" to prioritizing your own well-being

What are examples of bad habits and addictions?

Bad habits and addictions differ, but one can lead to the other. Bad habits can range from everyday annoyances, like nail-biting and smartphone overuse, but addiction refers to more harmful patterns, such as substance misuse and excessive alcohol consumption.

What are the negative emotions in sobriety?

Sobriety can evoke negative emotions such as guilt and anxiety. Negative emotions that often emerge during sobriety might include regret over past actions, fear about an uncertain future, frustration over the slow pace of progress in recovery, or sadness due to abstinence.

You may also like...

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}