Creating new habits isn’t easy. While knowledge, resolve, and positive reinforcement are critical to the recovery process, setbacks will inevitably happen. Whether you are trying to help a Loved One or are struggling with addiction yourself, you have ingrained habits, thoughts, and impulses. We all do.
Over a lifetime, these default responses have created a “superhighway” of sorts — the route you habitually take when you are sad, angry, confused, or hurt. Perhaps you drink when you’re upset or take your anger out on the person you love and are trying to help. When these well-worn paths fail to bring the relief you desire, it’s time for alternative solutions.
Developing new habits means forging a fresh path. It means bushwhacking off-road through a rocky, wooded forest instead of choosing that old, paved road you know so well.
CRAFT is an important tool to have in your toolkit as you begin this journey.
The more you explore this new path — these new ways of acting and reacting — the more familiar and comfortable it becomes. With training and practice, you will learn to pause and see that you have choices in life. You aren’t trapped on that old “superhighway” after all.
But setbacks will be common on the road to recovery. When those old impulses kick in and you (or your Loved One) slip up, it is important that you not give up hope. No one is perfect after all.
Witness this hilarious golden retriever. His owner has trained him, but in a moment of weakness he opts to ignore this training and acts on impulse.
Humans are no different. Even when you fail the test, you must stay the course. New, healthier habits are formed one small act at a time. When failures happen, be forgiving and keep your sense of humor. With practice and patience, an old dog can learn new tricks.