Bad habits are sometimes not easy to erase, especially when you don’t know the best way to do it. This post is written with addiction in mind. That’s because addiction is a prevalent problem in society. Many people on their journey to success are sabotaged by alcohol and drugs’ false promises. It’s even tough when a person has to manage high-stress levels. With a high-achieving life, it’s difficult to avoid emotional struggles or insecurities that can cause sabotaging behaviors.

This article explores bad habits like excessive consumption of alcohol. However, a bad habit can be something like gaming, emotional eating, sexual promiscuity, compulsive shopping, or any self-sabotaging behavior.

Breaking and Making Habits Go Together

Breaking and making habits are tied to how the mind works. A habit is broken by initiating another one. Quitting smoking, for instance, is replaced by another stress-reducing behavior. An example of such a behavior can be a daily walking routine.

Varied data has shown the duration a bad habit takes to break or a new one takes to initiate. Research has provided evidence to demonstrate that it takes between a few weeks and close to a year to change habitual behavior. It depends on the speed at which a habit integrates into a routine to become ‘automatic’, like brushing teeth or serving a cup of coffee in the morning.

Popular and current study on habit formation shows that repetition of behavior and provision of a cue are antecedents to any change. When a person goes to free drug rehab, they implement a cue in their routine like walking. That means they can be waking up, getting dressed, and walk for 30 minutes.

If practiced daily at the same time, a person doesn’t have to be reminded to do it every day. They simply wake up, get ready, and go for a walk.

How to Know a Bad Habit

For decades, humans have known the negative and positive reinforcement loops when it comes to repetitive engagement in a behavior. Think about Pavlov’s Dogs. But there is a more recent study, the Rat Park, on the 1970’s addiction. In this study, researchers gave socially isolated rats opiates steadily to calm assumed distress during this isolation.

Later, researchers gave these rats a community by integrating them with other rats. They also provided the rats with an option by allowing them to use opiates to numb themselves. However, they found that when socially supported, these rats did not use the drug.

So, how do you tell that a habit is not good for you? Well, when something reinforces a person positively, they keep doing it.

A common assumption has been that when socially isolated, rates continued to use opiate because it was making their life tolerable. But, when allowed to play with other rats, they did not require the pharmacological experience. That’s because playing with other rats provided positive benefits. That’s also the case for alcohol and drug use before the effects escalate requiring a person to seek free addiction help.

When exploring reinforcement and drug use in humans, it becomes apparent that alcohol and drug use in the early stages provide positive effects.

These include:

  • A person becomes socially outgoing
  • The drug numbs emotions
  • A person can forget troubles
  • The drug provides a false self-esteem boost

These benefits are short-lived. However, a person seeks a repeat of the same experience and this leads to repetitive engagement in the behavior. Thus, the use of the drug becomes a cue. The user feels insecure before attending a party and this prompts them to drink before they attend a social event.

Since the use provides a strong emotional payoff, overlooking the early negative reinforcement instances becomes easy. Therefore, a person continues to engage in the behavior believing that it provides a positive effect.

But, what’s considered the positive effect is eventually overshadowed by negative effects. The user becomes dependent on the drug physiologically and psychologically. At this point, ending the habit will require free drug addiction treatment.

Unfortunately, most addicts get comfortable in addiction. They never mind about being unreliable individuals or requiring other people to take care of them.

The Role of Rewards in Breaking a Bad Habit

Forming a new habit requires repetition and a strong cue. However, positive rewards are also required to break a bad habit.

Examples of such rewards can include:

  • Getting some responsibilities back to improve a sense of importance and self-worth.
  • Getting some kudos for doing the right thing consistently.
  • Spending time with loved ones.
  • Being listened to and participating in family affairs.

Like a new habit, rewards become expected and automatic. This motivates a person to remain sober on realizing that they have a sense of purpose in family and society. Feeling the reward enhances the chance of maintaining behavior change.

How to Avoid Bad Habits

There are ways you can avoid bad habits to ensure that you don’t end up seeking a free drug treatment program. Here are 5 ways to do that.

Listening to Emotional Needs

Even self-driven, high-achieving persons need a break. So, listen to your body and mind and know the right time to take a break.

Seeking Help When Necessary

You’ll need help somewhere along your journey to success. Seeking help doesn’t depict you as a weak person. It’s human. So, don’t let pride, shame, or guilt overshadow the need for help.

Not Listening to Negative Voices

You most likely know that voice that tells you that you are not good enough. It can also tell you that everybody will know that you are faking it. Cut this voice out and engage in what keeps you focused.

Engaging in Leisure Activities Routinely

Just like in the classical conditioning learning procedure with Pavlov’s dogs, humans can learn to engage in something routinely. Just do something that is not attached to your life goals routinely. It can be exercising, skating, drawing, singing, cooking, or reading a book.

Staying Socially Engaged

Like in the Rat Park study, humans need social connection and engagement. This provides freedom for self-expression and being heard. It provides a sense of belonging to a community. This enables a person to avoid bad habits and self-sabotaging behaviors.

Every human needs to enjoy a sense of belonging. This is particularly true for the people that seek free drug addiction help. Feeling like a person belongs to a community is a prevalent factor when it comes to achievement and maintenance of sobriety.