Like all humans, you are a creature of habit. We learn through processes of repeating different behaviors. The repeated behaviors produce a certain result, which on some level gratifies us. We want things, or to have experiences, that will make us feel good. We have a result in mind, usually something that will satisfy us when we attain it. Or at least we believe it will satisfy us. Long story short, that is how we learn to figure out our lives in the world.
Neuroplasticity In A Nutshell
One of the biggest reasons why we are such habitual creatures is a trait in our brain called “neuroplasticity” (1). The brain is unlike any other organ in our body. It is not static. Neuroplasticity means that our brain is in a state of flux; it’s constantly changing. It looks for new ways to adapt, to relate to what information we give it. Everything we interact with, everything we perceive with our senses, everything we think – all of these can change the brain’s structure. Food, drinks, sleep, relationships, and medications affect our brains too. Our brains respond to how we live to make us better able to achieve the goals we’re aiming for. It does not matter whether the goal is getting a good grade, landing a promotion, mending a relationship, or getting high. Our brain will do everything in its power to motivate us toward that goal. That is one of its most important jobs.
What’s That Got To Do With Recovery?
No matter what your life is like, it is what it is because of foundational habits. Your life has a routine, whether you intended it to or not. And it does so because your brain is trying to help you pursue and get the things that you want. Now, that routine is sleeping until dinner, staying awake all night, barely eating, and consuming a substance of choice. Or it could be something more conducive to flourishing. If you have recently decided that recovery is your goal, it’s important to structure your life around your recovery. That means small, deliberate changes to your routine over a long period of time.
Get Treatment – Even If You Don’t Think You Need It
Treatment programs can help you recognize what routines are aiding you. They can also assist you in figuring out which routines are sabotaging your success. Addictions often occur alongside mental illnesses and unresolved traumas. Those negative experiences, mixed with counterproductive habits like poor sleep, can create crippling burdens. Treatment will help you to better understand how you came to the place you are at now. Once you have recognized that, you can start understanding and planning for how to get to a different place. A better place.
That’s Nice and All, But What About After Treatment?
An advantage of a treatment program is that it will teach you to adopt new routines that will help you flourish beyond your addiction. You will learn new skills and mindsets that can help you maintain your “new normal.” These may be basic principles like going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, cooking and eating healthy meals, and drinking enough water. You might find an exercise or training schedule you enjoy. You might better understand how to write a resume, hunt for a job, or how to manage your finances. Building a new foundation involves these principles and many more. That is why it is important to get to work on this foundation as soon as you can.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please call Harmony Oaks Recovery now at 423-708-4961.