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Addiction Changes with Neural Pathways

Addiction Recovery Pathways - The Bergand Group

You can develop a stronger hold over your substance abuse habits than you might think. It’s far from easy, and it isn’t necessarily ‘simple,’ but it’s certainly possible for you to take charge of the situation. Empower your efforts within addiction recovery by working to “build new pathways” within your own mind.

Introduce Habits to Break Addiction Patterns

“An expectation is a real physical pathway in your brain.” For example, you may have developed an expectation that you will have a drink after work, or that you will smoke when you see certain friends. Experiences that have occurred in the past strengthen these pathways, these expectations, and make it more difficult to stray from them. After all, humans are creatures of habit and find comfort in routine, however detrimental it may actually be to them in the end.

This is part of the danger of substance abuse, but it is also a way to begin down the road to a healthier lifestyle, and perhaps to addiction recovery, depending on the scope of the situation. You may, for example, call up a good friend after work rather than stopping in the bar, or go out for karaoke with a group rather than smoking. Whatever kinds of things you enjoy that can be substituted for the troubling behavior, you can make the switch and slowly replace the former with this new, non-harmful activity.

Of course, the most difficult piece of any transition is to begin. Starting small can help to make the change. “Choose a new thought or behavior you can repeat when you feel distress.” If you leave work and feel panicked because you feel like you need to go to the bar, then have some music, radio program,or podcast that you like ready to play as a distraction. That quick diversion may be all you need to make it past that particular emotional roadblock so that you can get home… and go from there.

Most people aren’t cognizant of the actual moment in time when they made a decision. You may look up and realize you’re already in the midst of drinking. It’s easier for you to automatically do something that has been part of your routine, but to break the addiction you have to train yourself to slow down and reassess. “You learn to notice that choice moment so you have more time to activate an alternative.” Once you’re able to isolate these instances, it’ll be easier to introduce your substitute activity. Eventually, you may look up and realize that you’ve made it through an addiction recovery program and that you’re in that healthier life you imagined.

Just as it takes more time and attention to do a new thing than to fall back on your old habits, it takes more energy, too. Don’t inundate yourself during this transitional period. If your days and nights are too busy, then you may rely on your old schedule in order to avoid stress. Instead, give yourself room to maneuver so that you don’t have to make this big attempt when your batteries are drained. The more energy you have to push yourself into introducing these new habits, the more you’ll be able to resist old patterns of addiction.

Remember that change is within your control if you take some precautions and steps. You may not be able to make the entire trip alone, but there are no expectations that you should! If you are suffering from an addiction of any kind or are looking for help for another person, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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