18 Feb Managing Unhealthy Behavior Patterns and Process Addictions in Recovery
We often hear about the challenges surrounding getting clean, but rarely do people discuss some of the difficulties that can arise in recovery, both early and long-term. The reason why these things are important to address, however, is not just to help folks in recovery avoid a relapse. It’s to help you find the tools to simply get out of a funk, regardless of whether or not you’re going to drink or use. Moreover, it’s to address new patterns that could crop up in the form of process addictions such as sex addiction, compulsive gambling, food addiction, and other behavioral patterns. These patterns can be just as painful and damaging as drug and alcohol dependence and yes, of course, there’s always the possibility of a substance relapse as well.
If you’re in early recovery, the best thing that you can do is just take your recovery program and abstinence one day at a time. If negative emotions and even negative behavioral patterns are beginning to crop up, talk to your sponsor (if you’re in a twelve step program) or counselor and stay close to others in recovery. Try, however, not to make the behavior or negative emotion mean anything beyond what it actually is. Unless it’s life-threatening, don’t beat yourself up if you do something that you might consider “bad”, like eat too much chocolate or stay in bed all day because you were depressed. Sure, over the long term, you certainly want to watch out for any behavior that feels uncontrollable and compulsive, but in the beginning, try to just celebrate the wins. Like, the fact that you’re still clean and you didn’t drink or use today.
All of that being said, as you start to put some time together, you may begin to notice patterns of behavior that simply aren’t going away on their own. You might be working a strong recovery program, whatever that program may be, you’re staying connected to others in recovery, and you’re not tempted to drink or use. And, yet, no matter how frequently you seem to meditate, how often you call your sponsor, how many meetings you go to, and how diligently you work your steps, you’re still struggling with these outside issues.
You’re not alone. This happens to so many of us in recovery, and it certainly can feel like a real conundrum, but rest assured that there’s help out there. In fact, these days, there’s a program for just about every compulsive pattern of behavior that exists, often in the format of the twelve steps. Programs such as SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), DA (Debtors Anonymous), WA (Workaholics Anonymous), among many others. There are people out there with double digit recovery (10 or more years sober), who are just as susceptible to uncomfortable feelings and process addictions as someone who just got clean. Boredom, complacency, and many years of “same-ness” can be dangerous, so just know that no matter where you are in your recovery, feeling low or having bad behavior crop up does not make you a bad person.
Recovery and Beyond
If you can relate to any of this, or if someone you love is in recovery but experiencing feelings of discontent and you’re noticing negative behavioral patterns crop up, Kembali can help. Our Recovery and Beyond Program is geared toward people who already have some recovery under their belt. This includes those who are feeling good and simply wanting to dig into some more self-reflection, and also those who are noticing new addictive and compulsive patterns. The program will help you to uncover the root cause of your addictive or compulsive behaviors while providing you with the tools necessary to manage your emotional intelligence. The bottom line is that you or your loved one never have to do this by yourself. Contact us today to speak with one of our counselors about Recovery and Beyond, or any of our other programs on offer at the center.