The successful implementation of new life skills, coping strategies, and a change in one’s mindset are all hallmarks of profound progress in one’s recovery journey. Continuing to employ these strategies and lifestyle choices is essential for staving off cravings and managing stressors while also developing one’s sober identity.
However, while developing these strategies is paramount, it is just as important to maintain vigilance in order to prevent regressing back into dangerous behaviors. Learning to identify the signs of self-destructive behaviors can help each person continue to remain focused on their goals and progress in sobriety. It can also prevent unnecessary stress, anxiety, depression, or even slips or relapse.
What Are Self-Destructive Behaviors?
Self-destructive behaviors can be difficult to spot as they take many different forms. Some of the more extreme self-destructive behaviors can manifest as binge eating or developing an overreliance on other addictive behaviors, such as gambling or shopping. It is also possible to develop isolationist tendencies as a result of one’s anxieties or depression, compromising one’s progress and sabotaging sober goals.
Self-destructive behaviors can also be more subtle, but learning to identify them can prevent more extreme practices from developing. The use of self-deprecating language or being overly self-critical can be indicative of a change in one’s mentality surrounding recovery. This can even compromise one’s ability to remain motivated towards their goals or even see their goals as achievable in the first place.
Noticing that one’s language has become more critical. The use of binary language with words like “absolutely” or “always,” can indicate an avoidance or disregard for the nuances of one’s situations and lead to additional anxieties or an altered worldview. However, others may notice that while their language does not change. Instead, their actions may begin to shift. An individual may begin to change their habits not to achieve their own goals but rather to please someone else or develop a reliance on another’s perspective.
Each of these behaviors can compromise one’s ability to focus and pursue their own sober goals. Recognizing them early can help prevent these self-destructive behaviors from continuing to affect one’s behavior, worldview, and chances of prolonged success in their sobriety.
Strategies to Identify Self-Destructive Behaviors
Self-destructive behaviors can cause an individual a number of unnecessary difficulties and can impact one’s self-esteem, ability to employ coping strategies, or even move through day-to-day life. Yet it can still be very difficult to recognize these behaviors as they can feel like a “normal” pattern. However, there are some self-checks an individual can use to identify the presence of self-destructive behaviors in one’s daily life.
Keeping Goals Visible
One of the best ways to identify the presence of self-destructive behaviors is to check if one’s actions and words align with their sober goals. An example of keeping one’s sober goals visible can include having a journal with their goals written for the day, week, or even long-term goals. While taking time off for self-care or a vacation may be necessary, noticing that one’s actions are going against their own goals can instead indicate the presence of a self-destructive tendency. This can manifest not as self-care, but instead as procrastination.
Checking In With Supports
Keeping regular contact with supports is crucial throughout the entirety of the recovery process–from taking the first tentative steps into detox to living one’s daily life in the “real world” and celebrating sober anniversaries. However, communication also allows an individual to be introspective about how they feel about their supports.
Noticing that an individual is avoiding talking to their supports or is lying to them about one’s emotions during recovery can indicate the development of isolationist tendencies. Noticing these feelings is important for being able to sit down and create a new communication strategy. This strategy can be more readily and effectively used and can allow an individual to use their supports when stressful triggers, cravings, or high-risk situations arise.
Monitor Your Physical Health
Self-destructive behaviors can cause an individual to seem to reach a “stagnant” state, where they may not feel they are making progress. This can potentially compromise their motivation to tend to daily responsibilities.
One’s physical health can be indicative of this mental state and can manifest as a disregard for a proper diet, eating schedule, or the avoidance of daily hygiene routines. Marking down one’s mealtimes, going over their nutritional diet, or checking off a list for morning routines can all help catch the first signs of an individual beginning to neglect these important aspects of daily life.
Even late into your recovery journey, the stress of daily life and unexpected change can lead to a dangerous regression to self-destructive behaviors. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we can help you not just begin to take your first crucial steps in recovery, but also instill the necessary skills and coping strategies to help you identify self-destructive practices even after you have graduated from a treatment program. Our caring professionals can help you better understand and navigate these practices, and provide the psychoeducation and life skills necessary to ensure that you can continue to focus and strive for your own sober goals. Your time with us can be personalized with art therapy, music, writing, and many more experiential therapies, all backed with a caring, supportive, and home-like atmosphere. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique experiences, call us today at (866) 338-6925.