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3 ways self-destructive behaviors increase your chances of relapse

Drug addiction recovery quote

Self-destructive behaviors are those that cause you to hurt yourself. When you’re recovering from drug addiction, your goals and behaviors should reflect progress, not self-sabotage. But when you’re isolating yourself, withdrawing, hurting yourself physically, or either overeating or not eating at all, you’ll find yourself in situations where it’s easier to relapse and return to doing drugs. It’s not enough to simply take care of yourself. You also need to avoid self-destructive behaviors by understanding the three ways they increase your chances of relapse while in addiction recovery.

Compulsive behaviors feed the addiction

Compulsions refer to intense urges to do something. They may refer to gambling, promiscuous sex, gaming, and shopping.

If you have money in your bank account but have an insatiable urge every time to spend, spend, spend, you might consider your shopping addiction a compulsion. Likewise, if you have earned some money through gambling but decide you need to risk it all yet again, you too will be dealing with a compulsion. Because of the way your brain’s reward system works, compulsions feed into each other.

The stimulation you get from gambling might not be enough, so you’ll instead have to abuse substances to get the reward you need. Now, according to Verywell, addictions are different than compulsions because addiction refers to the broad spectrum surrounding your need to keep abusing substances. However, you should notice the feelings making you want to abuse drugs are similar to those that make it easy to engage in compulsive behavior.

Maladaptive behaviors make adapting impossible

Part of recovering from substance abuse is recognizing the need to embrace real-world challenges to stop drug use. At one point, it was okay to hang around drug-using friends and venture into areas where drug use is prominent. You might have lingered near alcohol or associated with people you knew who used drugs because it was more comfortable to embrace conversation with drug-free individuals.

However, you recognized in your recovery you needed to separate yourself from these people. Now, you’re thinking about avoiding everyone entirely.

Unfortunately, chronic avoidance, procrastination, and self-isolation don’t make you stronger and more prepared to deal with real-world challenges. Consequently, you may find yourself responding to your own maladaptive behaviors by returning to substance abuse.

After all, avoidance, withdrawal, and passive-aggressiveness are similar to the sort of problems you would expect if you’re surrounded by illicit drugs. That’s why you need to push yourself to get out in the world instead of avoiding conflict, so you’ll be less likely to abuse substances whenever you arise in scenarios you find uncomfortable.

Overeating and reduced confidence

When you had drugs to keep your mind and body stimulated, you were able to go without meals at times as long as you could remain under the influence. But when you’re no longer abusing drugs, you might have a tendency to eat too much, as your body will crave food more often.

That is something that’s commonly reported by people who stop using drugs, especially if nicotine is involved. The absence of substances often produces intense cravings for food, and while healthy snacks can be helpful, overeating, according to Healthline, can increase the risk of developing disease and weight gain.

The latter has a major impact on people’s confidence. Gaining too much weight can make you feel less confident about your body, leading to a desire to return to abusing substances to feel better. If you want to fight addiction, you want to remain as confident as possible, and that means making sure you eat the healthy foods your body needs so you can feel good about yourself.

A few last words

From the lowered confidence that comes with overeating to the way compulsive behaviors feed your addiction, your recovery depends on you avoiding self-destructive behaviors that will make it harder for you to stay clean. Take charge today and stop avoiding conflict that will help you grow. Visit to continue your recovery today.

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