Replacing Unhealthy Habits with Healthy Ones: 7 Things Addicts Should Know

woman replacing unhealthy habits

Among our primary values at Kemah Palms Recovery® is a commitment to assisting clients in replacing unhealthy habits with positive ones. If you’re investigating Houston substance abuse treatment programs, you know what it’s like to have a habit you want to get rid of. You know that the claim “I can quit whenever I want” fails the FTTP (From Theory To Practice) test. You know how agonizing it can be to contemplate which would be more unbearable–life with a substance habit or life without it.

7 Things You Must Know About Replacing Unhealthy Habits

1. The best, often the only, way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one.

Nature really does abhor a vacuum, and no habit exists in one. Invariably, a habit is taken up to fill some perceived need. The trouble with the typical “cold turkey” approach is that it doesn’t adequately replace a coping strategy. Furthermore, medical professionals warn heavily against quitting cold turkey for physical safety reasons. They recommend detox, which allows for secure medical supervision during withdrawal. Unless something new is deliberately put there, what fills that place, as soon as the old trigger pops up, will be the old, comfortably familiar, unhealthy habit.

2. The primary motivation for replacing unhealthy habits is believing that the benefits will outweigh the losses.

It’s entirely possible to be miserable with a habit and yet cringe at the thought of life without it. However, when the alternative is seen as a life of brimming energy, accomplishment, and good friends, the effort of giving up the old habit looks a lot more worth it.

3. A clear picture of the desired results is key to achieving any goal.

Why exactly do you want to stop using? If it’s interfering with your work, set some specific and measurable professional goals, and commit to doing something specific toward them each day. Ditto for fitness goals, or for relationship goals if the old habit is driving away your friends.

4. Every habit is physical.

Neurophysical, that is. Science tells us that regularly thinking the same thoughts will literally wear electrochemical paths in our brains, and future thoughts will find those paths easiest to follow. People with unhealthy habits have their own agony sensations when making changes; think of it as muscle strain from struggling to force habit-feeding thoughts down unpaved “brain roads.” The good news is that, after a few weeks of regular use, the new road smooths out and the discomfort disappears. Cognitive-behavioral therapy at Kemah Palms is one method of smoothing these new “brain roads”.

5. Relapse is a matter of “not if but when.”

The important thing is to avoid the temptation to decide “I blew it, I knew I couldn’t do this, I might as well go the whole way and stretch that one beer into six.” See your relapse not as a collapse but as a stumble; it may take some effort to recover yourself, but you’re still facing the same way along the same road.

6. Small victories are worth celebrating.

Going your first full day, week, and month without–or successfully resisting that major trigger for the first time ever–is no less an accomplishment to pat yourself on the back for. Give yourself credit where it’s due, and surround yourself with supportive friends who will cheer with you. The more you savor even the tiniest victories, the more motivated you’ll be to press on to the big ones.

7. Good habits are a lifetime commitment.

Sad but true: most habits we’d be better off without are easy to fall into, while good habits are W-O-R-K. Not just to initially adopt, either, but to maintain for the long run. Once you’ve fixed on that new, healthier habit, you’ll still have days that tempt you to neglect it for “just a little while.” Don’t; little whiles stretch into long ones all too easily. Be constant with the new habit even when it’s hard. Get friends to prod you on (you can return the favor at the same time). Stay grateful for the benefits of the new habit. Persistence is the secret of a wonderful life!

About Kemah Palms Recovery®

At Kemah Palms Recovery®, we strive to do more than just assist clients in replacing unhealthy habits. Our goal is to offer addiction treatment options in Houston that teach individuals how to live a fulfilling and productive life. Contact Kemah Palms Recovery® online or call us today today to get started on your road to lasting change.