Breaking Addictive Cycles
People tend to love cycles…or at least easily get stuck in them. We are drawn to what is familiar and what we know. Most of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are on repeat and go on and on in patterns. Much of what we consciously think and experience is only part of the whole picture. We may easily find ourselves surrounded by similar kinds of people, places, or situations that we swore we wouldn’t be in again. You may find yourself in an abusive relationship repeatedly or in patterns of losing money no matter how much you make.
The human mind is wired to go towards what is familiar, and what it knows. We are most comfortable in situations that feel known to us and are predictable. However, what is known or familiar often causes pain and hardship when we’re used to toxic or unhealthy people or circumstances. But as humans we tend to gravitate towards what we know.
We are wired from evolution for example to ‘eat the berries we know won’t kill us’. Maybe those berries don’t taste great but we know how to manage them. This is true for many aspects of life. If we grow up around drug use or chaos, that’s what we know. That’s what’s familiar. If we grow up surrounded by domestic violence then that’s what’s normal to us and there’s a higher chance of ending up in situations that repeat the domestic violence cycle when you are older. Domestic violence can seem like that’s what love is and that’s what family and home is.
If we aren’t conscious, aware and paying attention… what’s familiar can accidentally repeat itself. This is partly why it’s so important to pay attention and be aware of patterns you have come from in your life. If you’ve come from a toxic or unhealthy background, finding yourself in uncharted territory is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’ve grown up in a situation with domestic violence, abuse and drug use…having an adulthood with a happy, functional relationship and sobriety may be very confusing and unclear. But sometimes that’s the best way to know you’re breaking out of a cycle and a pattern. It isn’t familiar, and isn’t always comfortable.
If you’re struggling with repeating harmful patterns from your past, here are some tips to help you gain insight and make changes.
- Practice mindfulness meditation daily– do at least 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day. This can be walking meditation, sitting, body scan, etc. There are many types, but find what works for you to help you have the most insight, inner calm and awareness of your own personal cycles. Meditation is effective not only for awareness of cycles but to get control of and stop harmful patterns.
- Take time out for yourself away from what’s familiar– It’s important to take time out from what is ‘normal’. When something is normal we can lose detachment and perspective on it, and unhealthy patterns and behaviors that are toxic can seem ok. They say we’re a combination of the 5 people we spend the most time around. The best way to clearly see their impact on you is to make sure to regularly take some time out to maintain perspective.
- Work with a therapist– Regularly working with a therapist, or at least working with a therapist occasionally to check in is important. Therapists can help us have insight and point out the patterns and behaviors we may not know we’re enacting or repeating. They can help us gain insight that we might not otherwise have and help us to work towards new patterns of behaviors.
- Make a Vision Board– Work on a vision board to visualize what you would like for your life. A lot of times vision boards are opportunities to break harmful cycles or even avoid them altogether. They can be challenging at first sometimes, but with practice they can get easier and easier…sometimes they can even be fun!
- Travel– Going to new places, taking trips or traveling can be a fun and easy way to break out of the normal routine and be introduced to new ways of living. Traveling can introduce you to other perspectives and help you to compare and have insight into your life and viewpoint to others.
- Meet New People and Try New Activities– This one is pretty self explanatory. But surrounding yourself with new people and activities, even if it’s just one new person or one new activity can go a long way to mixing up the patterns and routines in your daily life.
Insight, awareness and consciousness are important components to recovery and sobriety. They also impact addiction and how you approach and view your life. Silver Lining understands that you have spent a lot of time dealing with feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and shame. These feelings make it that much harder to obtain and stick with sobriety and a treatment plan for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and other diagnoses. Our policy of treating small numbers of people in each group allows us to get to know you and the exact type of help you need to learn to be kind to yourself and achieve your goals. We help you flourish now and in the future. Let our Huntington Beach location be where you begin again! Call us today for more information. (866) 448-4563.