It’s sometimes said that “everyone has a vice”, but it’s one thing if that vice is something like enjoying a cheeky glass of wine with dinner, or watching some trashy reality TV in the evenings after getting home from work, and quite another thing if that vice is something that’s genuinely destructive to your health, wellbeing, professional ambitions, or relationships.
Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves frequently falling into habits which are absolutely detrimental to our wellbeing and which we can struggle immensely to recover from. Quite often, people never do manage to overcome their own destructive behaviours despite their best efforts.
But while the world is full of people who have been broken by their ongoing destructive behavioural patterns, there are also ample tales of people overcoming some of the darkest situations imaginable, in order to get their lives back on track, to achieve their dreams, and to redirect their energies towards more productive and uplifting things.
If you’re subject to a destructive behavioural pattern that is wreaking havoc on your life, here are a few humble suggestions on steps you can take that may help you to begin setting your life back in order.
Firstly, accept and acknowledge your demons
It’s impossible to overcome a problem you have — especially if that problem is rooted in your own behaviour — if you’re not first willing and able to identify, admit to, accept, and clarify the specifics of that problem.
In fact, the things about yourself that you dislike and subsequently hide “in the shadows” may not only prove impossible to uproot and address, but they may even grow more powerful as a result of the fact that they’ve been concealed.
The famous psychologist Carl Jung was one proponent of this idea, and believed that things which were not acknowledged or accepted by the conscious mind would inevitably sink into the murky depths of the subconscious mind and risk rising up spontaneously and destructively, without warning.
More recent and modern psychological models have played on the same idea, including, notably, the Family Systems Theory proposed by Murray Bowen.
On the same note, it’s commonly proposed by anti-addiction and rehab groups of various types, that acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery.
So, if you know deep down that something in your life isn’t as it should be, don’t keep it hidden in the shadows. Be bold and courageous enough to face up to it, no matter how ugly it may be, because that will, in turn, give you the power to address and overcome it, and to become a more complete and fulfilled version of yourself.
Reach out to people who can help you to start untangling the web you find yourself in
Destructive behavioural patterns can sometimes be resolved on a solely individual basis, but very often, it’s the case that people find it exceedingly difficult, if not more or less impossible, to face up to and overcome these problems in a clear and productive manner, unless they turn to and accept the help of other people.
The specific role of the help that you should seek out can vary wildly depending on the specific nature of the situation you’re faced by. It may be the case that you need a good attorney with experience in handling drugs-related cases, such as, for example, boulderdefenseattorney.com, in order that you can then establish some closure and move on.
It may also be the case that you’re completely confused and overwhelmed by a deep sense of chaos in your own life, and need to speak to a professional therapist in order to get a handle on what might be going on, and how you might be able to start taking proactive steps to correct things.
Then again, maybe the right course of action for you will be to confide in a family member.
In any event, we are often too close to our own problems to see them with any significant degree of objectivity, and this can certainly lead to a situation in which getting input from other people can be of tremendous benefit, even if only in terms of helping us to see the light for ourselves.
Focus on an overall lifestyle change; everything is tied together
If you’re struggling with one significantly destructive behavioural pattern, or trope, in one area of your life, it’s likely that in order to overcome it you may need to undergo a process of quite large-scale lifestyle change and reform, rather than just focusing exclusively on that particular area.
There are various reasons for this, but the most significant reason is that the different parts of our lifestyles innately influence one another to a significant degree.
For that reason, it’s common for people recovering from addictions — both substance and behavioural — to find that they ultimately need to move home in order to detach themselves, psychologically, from the complicated web of behavioural triggers and familiar routines that reinforce the negative loop they were operating in.
Seeing the same people, in the same locations, and maintaining the same social structure can, for example, ensure that an individual is never really able to psychologically dissociate from the need to act out a certain habitual behaviour.
Work on dismantling the motivation for your destructive behaviour at its core
Most addiction-recovery programs, and systems developed to address other forms of negative or destructive behaviour, take the stance that the individual in question is essentially “sick” or “damaged” in some way, and will always be highly susceptible to falling back into their previous behavioural pattern if exposed to certain cues.
Interestingly, though, the popular and apparently highly-successful “Easy Way method” designed by Allen Carr takes a different approach.
This model works on the assumption that the reason we carry out negative behaviours is because some part of our psyche perceives them to yield significant benefits.
The Easy Way method, then, works on “deprogramming” this sense of the alleged benefits, and promises to dissolve an addiction overnight, and remove any strong temptation to indulge in the behaviour again.