Changing a habit or behaviour can be challenging for people, especially when it comes to changing the excessive use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or gambling. We also know that many people have been successful in changing these behaviors before, which therefore, means that it’s possible. And if it’s possible for someone else than it can be possible for you too!
Change often begins with a simple thought or desire to live life differently. You may be experiencing negative consequences directly related to your behaviour and realize that in order to stop experiencing those consequences, you must change your behavior. When you initially attempt to stop that behavior you might find it hard to do so. It is possible that your body has gotten used to the substance of choice and you crave it. It’s also possible you find temptation everywhere that reminds you of your substance or choice. Some days it will be easy to stay away from your substance and some days it will be challenging.
But how exactly does change happen? How does a pattern develop? Take a moment to think about how you got started using your substance of choice or when you first started gambling. It’s likely that the substance or behavior has increased over time and maybe to the point where it’s affecting your life in a negative way. Now that you want to stop using substances or gambling it’s important to start a new way of living, a different way of thinking and create a new healthy pattern. The more that you engage in your new healthy way of living the more that the new pattern strengthens. And, the more that your new pattern strengthens, the more your old pattern of using substances or gambling fades away. Maybe your new pattern consists of attending a treatment program or AA meetings regularly? Maybe it consists of spending time with people who live clean, healthy and active lifestyles? Or maybe it means seeing a counsellor regularly or finding new hobby such as reading or meditating?
The good news is that the easier it gets, the easier it gets. That means that change can sometimes feel difficult in the early, beginning stages but it gets easier the more you stay with your new healthy lifestyle. In the beginning the healthy habits can feel new or awkward but the longer you stick with them the more that it feels normal for you to do those things. And eventually, you can wake up to a new you every day! So, enjoy the process and the journey as it can be hard to get started but just remember on the hard days that “this too shall pass” and it will get easier. And if others have been able to create significant change in their lives, so can you.