The Elusive Part of Self-Awareness—Self-Destructive Behaviors and Habits

Many things make addiction so hard and terrible. There is the physical deterioration of your body that occurs as you become more addicted to drugs or alcohol. And there is also the price that you pay with your mental health.

You might think that you would notice these problems. However, that is the elusive part of addiction. It robs you of your self-awareness, especially when you do things that are destructive to both yourself and others.

To cope with addiction, you need to bring back that awareness to understand the impact of your addiction.

Here are some self-destructive behaviors and habits to watch out for.

The Desire for Instant Gratification

One self-destructive behavior that comes with addiction is instant gratification. Instant gratification occurs when you experience the high that comes from using drugs or alcohol. The feeling is immediate and euphoric. You are instantly transported away from your problems. Or you feel numb to anything and everything.

People who have experienced a lot of emotional pain welcome this feeling. That’s because, for at least a brief period, they no longer have to deal with that negativity.

However, the problem with instant gratification is that you begin to seek it in other areas of your life as well. Life, though, requires patience and diligence. And that can be hard to cope with if you struggle with addiction.

Hyper-Focusing on One Need

Another self-destructive behavior to be aware of is the need to hyper-focus on fulfilling one desire. In the case of addiction, that would be obtaining substances so that you can continue to experience the high that comes from using them.

The problem with that is everything else falls by the wayside in comparison to your need to get high. And you may end up doing things you never thought you’d do.

For example:

This intense focus on obtaining your drug of choice usually grows over time—often without you being aware of it. It’s usually the reason why so many addicts eventually are willing to sacrifice everything in their lives so that they can obtain and use drugs or alcohol.

The Damage to Relationships

There’s no question that addiction damages relationships. Part of the willingness to sacrifice everything includes their closest relationships.

For instance, if your parents or partner tell you that you need to stop using drugs, your lack of awareness of your problem may cause you to ignore them. Or you push back and tell them that they are wrong or that they don’t know what they are talking about. And this can easily lead to repeated, intense arguments.

Moreover, if those who love you set boundaries with you, you may react negatively. For example, you ask them for money, but they know that you will use the money to buy drugs, so they tell you “no.” Even if they say it in the most polite and diplomatic way, you may very well get angry at them. And you likely believe that they don’t care about you at all and want you to suffer.

Not Knowing Who Your True Friends Are

Oftentimes addicts will not understand that the people who truly care about them are not those who help them to get high. But it’s those who want to support them in getting the professional help they need who are their true friends and loved ones.

Yes, it’s painful when family and friends reject your pleas for resources to get drugs or alcohol. And you may easily take it as a personal rejection. Yet, the reality is that they don’t want to contribute to something they know is damaging you. You just don’t realize it.

The answers to addiction are complicated. It requires a combination of natural support (such as family and friends), structure, learning new coping tools, and therapy. Addiction counseling is a critical part of this solution, to help you become self-aware of your problem and make changes.

If you are struggling with addiction, I invite you to contact us and find out more about how we can help you, 256-686-9195.

Author
Joshua Howell, MS, LPC, NCC, AADC, ICAADC, SAP, SAE

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