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Replacing Unhealthy Behaviors with Healthy Ones

Recovery can be defined as a process of building a healthy lifestyle and making lifelong changes to better our lives. If you are in recovery, you have most likely had some unhealthy habits and behaviors that have held you back from growth and change. When you engage in the recovery process, you may have to give up a lot of your unhealthy habits. While these unhealthy habits or behaviors were not conducive to building a meaningful life, they were likely motivated by fulfilling some need or want. To find suitable replacement behaviors, you have to consider the underlying motivations of your unhealthy behaviors. When you know why you engaged in your addictive behaviors, you can start to explore healthier options to meet the same needs, wants, or desires.

Behavior: A Form of Communication

Most of our behaviors serve as a way of communicating something to ourselves or others. Generally, behaviors are ways of communicating about what we want by taking action to obtain those things. What purpose did your unhealthy behaviors serve? What were you trying to communicate by engaging in them? Here are six common reasons people give for their unhealthy behaviors:

  • The need to belong. Peer pressure is a common reason that people engage in risky behaviors. Peer pressure is motivated by the need to be accepted and liked. The need to belong and having a sense of community is a strong motivator for behaviors, both healthy and unhealthy.


  • Boredom. Sometimes, we are simply bored and are unsure of healthy ways to quell our boredom. We may have grown up with parents who also engaged in unhealthy recreational activities, such as drinking excessively or using drugs. We may not have a good example to follow for how to occupy our time appropriately.


  • Co-occurring disorders. Some of us have underlying co-occurring mental health issues that drive our unhealthy behaviors. Some people use alcohol to cope with social anxiety. Others may become addicted to drugs to cope with depression. If our primary motivation is that we are seeking relief from mental anguish, then we can seek healthy treatment options for our mental wellness.


  • Pain management. We may be suffering from chronic pain and use unhealthy methods of numbing the pain by using alcohol or other substances. We also might find ourselves addicted to substances following dependence on pain management medications. Underlying emotional and physical issues might need to be addressed for recovery.


  • Trauma. People may behave in unhealthy ways to deal with trauma or to numb themselves from past experiences. Risky or unhealthy habits might serve as a distraction from thinking about our traumatic past.


  • Stress. We may not have learned healthy ways to manage stress or other emotions. Unhealthy behaviors might be our way of coping with stress. However, they usually lead to a lower quality of life and can cause more problems than the issues we sought to solve. Stress management techniques, like mindfulness and deep breathing, can enhance our quality of life and help us in our recovery.

 

Did any of these stick out to you as a motivation for some of your unhealthy habits? If so, now you can begin to find healthy methods of obtaining the same needs. When you engage in healthy behaviors, you set yourself up for growth and positive changes. 

Healthy Replacement Behaviors

Healthy replacement behaviors are ways of meeting our needs with ways that do not cause more problems in our lives. For those of us in recovery, we may need to explore some of our hobbies and interests to find new activities to fill our time. We might want to try physical fitness or other exercise programs to release natural endorphins that make us feel good. We may need to learn to express our emotions to heal from them, rather than numbing them to escape our pain. We might need to make some life changes to manage our stress levels. We also may need to learn how to say “no” and set boundaries with others, who pressure us to do things we do not want to do. 

Once you understand your motivations, you can begin to find healthy coping mechanisms. Recovery is the process of replacing your unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones. Healthy behaviors enhance our lives and help us change for the better. On your recovery path, you will learn new ways of living that may not have been apparent to you before. Be open-minded and try new things to live the best life on your journey of recovery.  

 

One of the hardest parts of recovery is changing our habits. Most of us are so accustomed to our routines that we have a difficult time making any changes, even changes for the better. Sometimes we know we want to make a change, yet we are unsure of where to start. By understanding our underlying motivations, we can begin to find healthy replacements for our unhealthy and unfulfilling habits. Once we understand why we behave a certain way, we can begin to find alternatives to achieve similar ends. We might need some time in a positive and supportive environment to create new habits. Change is hard, but you do not have to do it alone. At Camelback Recovery, we teach replacement behaviors to help others learn new ways of replacing bad habits. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information to help you or a loved one!

What Is the Importance of Sharing a Nutritious Meal With Others?

All across the globe, people bond over the experience of sharing meals. Families sit down together for holiday dinners, couples go on dates at restaurants, friends host cookouts to bring people together, and charitable organizations host dinners to raise money for their cause.

Cooking and eating have been ways human beings throughout all of history have spent time together. Certain foods and cuisine may be a source of pride for groups of people. We build a routine based on meal times, and we often look forward to these breaks in our day.

While we are in a recovery program, we might share meals with our peers. Shared meals can help us to build a sense of community and open up a dialogue for thoughtful conversation. Sharing healthy meals also helps our physical well-being, which then helps us develop a healthy frame of mind.

Preparing Meals Together: Learning to Share and Compromise

While attending long-term recovery programs, like sober living homes, we might be supplied with food to prepare meals with our peers. We may be asked by our recovery support staff to help plan menus and prepare meals. When planning menus with our peers, we may have to compromise depending on each person’s tastes and dietary needs.

Our favorite meal might not be the preferred choice of our peers. Some of our peers might also have dietary restrictions preventing them from eating some of the things that we enjoy. When preparing meals, we also share our culinary skills with the group.

Some of us may bring a different skill to the table, like being able to mince onions or beings able to make sauces without a recipe. Some of us may have unique recipes that we would like to share with our peers. When we plan and prepare meals, we reach toward the common goal of enjoying a healthy and nutritious meal together.

For some of us, sharing a meal could be akin to sharing a part of our history and our culture. We may have a family recipe that is passed down from generation to generation, or have a favorite meal that brings up pleasant memories. When people travel to new places, finding unique and local cuisine helps them learn about the cultural settings of new environments.

We can learn a lot from one another based on our preferred meals. One of your peers may be a vegan due to their passion for animal rights. Another may love pizza because their baseball coach took them out for pizza following victories. Our meals can spark new topics of conversation and help us get to know our peers.

Trying New Things and Being Open-Minded

We might be exposed to different experiences that we have never tried before while in a recovery treatment program. Nutritious and healthy meals might be a new experience for us. Trying new things can help us learn to be open-minded and accept new challenges.

Eating different types of foods can help us cultivate an openness to trying novel activities. Thinking of eating unfamiliar foods as an exercise in open-mindedness can help us in our recovery. When trying new foods, we might have to suspend our preconceived notions about what we expect.

We may need to challenge our thoughts on what is and what is not a satisfying meal. We might not understand the impact of eating nutritious meals. We may need to learn how to develop healthy eating habits to replace some unhealthy behaviors and ideas about food.

Just like new challenges and activities in recovery treatment, we might be surprised by what we enjoy when sharing new meals with others. We might discover a new favorite meal during our stay in a sober living environment that we never would have been exposed to prior to our participation in treatment.

Building Community: A Pillar of Recovery

Fostering a sense of community is one of the pillars of many recovery programs. Prepping and sharing meals can teach us how to compromise with our peers, how to work with our peers, and can provide us with a comfortable environment for intriguing conversations. Sharing meals with others can help us feel a sense of belonging in a new environment and help us to feel at ease within our recovery program.

When we build a sense of community, we begin to build healthy relationships and create a supportive recovery environment for all the people within our program. Meal-sharing is one of many ways that we can cultivate a sense of community and get to know our peers.

Some recovery programs and sober living homes recognize the importance of providing healthy meals for peers in recovery. Sharing meals is a great way to learn about healthy eating habits, to come together as a peer group, to learn new things about each other, and to foster a sense of community within a treatment program. Food is often a source of comfort for most of us and learning how to make nutritious meals can have a profound impact on our overall health and well-being. Learning to eat unfamiliar dishes also teaches us to be open-minded in other areas of life as well. Camelback Recovery recognizes the value of sharing meals among peers in our sober living environments. Our staff help to prepare community dinners to share with all of our participants. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to begin your recovery treatment in our home.