Habits

Looking back, it’s safe to say I’m a creature of habit. My life has been defined by habits—some of which were early warning signs of the addiction I would experience later in life. Even as a kid, I was compulsive about the way I would read books and video games—things that seemed harmless at the time. As I got older, I habitually overate, which was less harmless. Growing up as a “fat kid” isn’t much fun. Luckily, I ended up losing the weight as I grew into my teens (because I happened to get into the habit of running and watching what I ate).

That’s when other habits started to appear. The first time I tried smoking weed, I knew I had found something special. It made me feel amazing—I wanted to feel that way all the time. So, I set about trying to do just that. It didn’t take long at all before I was a habitual smoker, and I picked up some other habits along the day. I was smoking weed daily, and on the weekends my partying and experimentation grew more extreme. I would drink heavily and use whatever drugs I could get my hands on. My healthy habits like eating well and taking care of myself were long gone.

habits can be evil

Addiction

I’m not sure when it happened, but my hard-partying and heavy drug using habits eventually turned into a full-blown drug addiction. Surprise! Looking back, it’s extremely obvious what was happening, but believe it or not, at the time I honestly did not believe I had a problem. I believed I was dealing with some mental health issues and going through some rough times. That’s the delusion of addiction for ya.

If you’ve read our other blogs, you know what I went through to get sober. It was a long and bumpy road filled with setbacks and relapses, but eventually I managed to put together some serious clean time. I ran into several habits that both helped and hurt me along the way.

Bad Habits

It was easy to develop bad habits coming fresh out of an addiction. I found myself working out all the time and restricting my diet heavily in order to try and lose weight quickly. It didn’t work (once again demonstrating that looking for a short-term solution is never the answer). I also picked up regular smoking, which was another difficult one to quit (but I did manage to stop eventually). I found myself dating compulsively and in a codependent relationship. That one was the closest to making me relapse, but I managed to avoid it.

On the other hand, good habits are what I credit to achieving successful long-term recovery. My earlier obsession with losing weight didn’t work out, but I did eventually get in shape. Along the way I developed habits of eating well and exercising regularly, which have served me well for years. More importantly, I developed good habits around my sobriety. I got in the habit of going to regular meetings and being part of the community. When I felt like I was at risk, I went to a meeting or called someone instead of picking up. Once these practices became habit, I didn’t have to think about them anymore—I just did them. And things started to change.