What Do Our Habits Have to do with Addiction?

Our daily lives and the habits we develop can play a role in our addictions because mentally, emotionally and physically we set ourselves up to develop certain patterns that can contribute to how we function. Our habits might seem irrelevant to the deeper illness of addiction, but there is actually a strong relationship between the two. How we habitually manage our thoughts, emotions and bodies becomes our patterns, and our patterns can easily become addictive when we aren’t mindful of them.

Our thought habits have a great deal to do with how we function in our lives. Whether or not we function in healthy ways can depend on the health of our thinking. For example, if we’ve been practicing thinking negatively day in and day out, we’re going to have a very hard time being positive. When it comes to addiction, there are some ways in which we think that can contribute to unhealthy, addictive patterns. When we are obsessive thinkers, we get into the habit of dwelling on things and have a hard time mentally letting go. This way of thinking can cause us to create attachments that are hard to break. When we develop unhealthy attachments, with relationships or behaviors, they can quickly and easily become addictive. We can just as easily become attached to an addictive substance or behavior, and we can find ourselves with a full-blown addiction before we know it.

We also have emotional habits that can contribute to addiction. When we get into the habit of suppressing our emotions, we develop a pattern of avoidance. We bury our emotions hoping that will make them disappear. Emotional denial and avoidance are classic examples of how we handle our emotions when we are struggling with addiction. Our addictions become our means of escaping our painful feelings. They are our go-to distractions. Emotionally we develop habits of never actually handling our emotions or processing them in meaningful ways. Our emotional habits can become destructive to our well-being and can contribute to our using addictions as a way to cope.

Physical habits can also contribute to addiction. When we develop the habit of ignoring our physical pain and discomfort, for example, it can eventually overtake us and we look to addictive substances for relief. Another example is our dependence on painkillers. When we use medications for pain relief, we can sometimes become addicted to them because they numb our psychological pain in addition to our physical pain.

Understanding addiction and how it functions in our lives involves taking an inventory of our habits. The things we do on a regular basis develop into patterns, which can become dysfunctional, harmful and addictive in nature.

At Riverside Recovery, we understand addiction firsthand and all the challenges that can come with it. We’re here to support you. Call us today: (800) 871-5440.