Article 10 - Behaviour and Addiction
Behaviour is the observable fibre running through a human being’s life. It is the visible, outer expression of their inner experience. Their behaviour reflects for example their thoughts, emotions, intentions, goals, joys, doubts, conflicts and challenges.
This is very apparent in addictions, where behaviour is a prominent feature of the illness. We observe certain key behaviours in active addiction. These are negative behaviours and may be referred to as “addict behaviour”.
It is important to remember that there are also key behaviours required in treatment and ongoing recovery. These are positive, life-preserving behaviours, which make the lifelong process of recovery viable.
Behaviours in active addiction: Addicts are not “bad people”. They are generally good people with an illness. This illness, when active, results in negative behaviours, symptomatic of the illness. In active addiction, addicts prioritise their drugging over everything and everyone else. Behaviours observed in active addiction promote and protect an addict lifestyle and the addict’s access to drugs. They include for example:
Behaviours in treatment: Addiction treatment is not just about stopping drug use. Getting off drugs is simply the beginning. In a treatment program the addict is challenged on a deep level to reflect on his/her life and identify changes in behaviour needed to embrace recovery. These include for example:
Behaviours in ongoing recovery: Recovery does not end on completion of a treatment program. It is a lifelong process. This means that certain recovery-based behaviours must remain in place to sustain a drug-free life on an ongoing basis. These include for example:
A safeguard for addicts in recovery is to apply these simple rules of behaviour. By monitoring that one is not falling into one’s former addict behaviours, relapse can be avoided.
Addicts in recovery usually live more positively than the average population, due to the need for them to be self-aware and monitor their behaviour closely. Thus recovery behaviour not only saves their lives, but can also improve their lives!